PRESSURE is mounting on insurers FBD after one of Ireland’s most famous pubs became the latest business to issue High Court proceedings against the company.
Sean’s Bar in Athlone, Co Westmeath is taking action against FBD over its refusal to pay out for business interruption claims during the Covid-19 crisis.
Dublin bar Lemon & Duke, which is co-owned by Irish rugby stars Sean O’Brien, Jamie Heaslip, and Rob and Dave Kearney, also initiated legal proceedings against the insurer this week.
Additionally, a senior publican has hit out at the company after FBD provided a written statement earlier this year, seen by Independent.ie, guaranteeing his policy covered coronavirus. However, it is now refusing to pay out.
Meanwhile, the owners of a family-run bar and restaurant have made an official complaint to the financial ombudsman after FBD refused to pay out on a business interruption claim – despite their policy explicitly covering infectious diseases.
Patrick and Aileen Hanley, who run the Strand Cahore, in Cahore Point, Co Wexford, received legal advice that their policy is “rock solid” and should entitle them to compensation.
Speaking to Independent.ie, Mr Hanley said FBD informed him it would be “unreasonable” to expect the company to pay out on business interruption claims regarding Covid-19.
“The bizarre thing is they have exclusions in their policies, such as you can’t claim in the event of a terrorist attack or a sonic boom, but there is no mention of a pandemic which I would have thought was far more likely than a sonic boom.
“We paid our premium, it’s in our policy that we’re covered and yet we’re told we’re being unreasonable.
“They are saying we are closed due to social distancing and not Covid-19. Social distancing is a knock-on effect of Covid-19, not the cause of the closure.”
Mr Hanley and his wife have been running the award-winning bar and restaurant since 2018.
The couple are now operating a grab-and-go service out of a hatch on the premises to try to keep the business alive.
“It may be impossible for us to come back.
“We are in a bad place as a result of the FBD situation,” he added.
FBD did not respond to a request for comment.
Meanwhile, the Alliance for Insurance Reform has confirmed that Drury Porter Novelli, the firm handling its PR, has notified the group it will no longer be doing so “due to a conflict of interests” as it is now handling PR for FBD.
Peter Boland, director of the Alliance Insurance Reform, said: “We note the development, but FBD have a serious case to answer with many of our members and would be better resolving the situation quickly and fairly as no amount of PR and advertising will change that.
“Drury are leaving us on good terms but they could no longer work with us due to a conflict of interests.”
Drury Porter Novelli said it cannot discuss client dealings when asked for comment.
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