Surbiton Hockey Club have issued a call to action for UK-based community and amateur sport clubs whose insurers have denied them liability for losses suffered during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Surbiton were unsuccessful in their business interruption insurance claim against XL Catlin, part of the AXA Group, who have insured the club for more than five years.
As a result, the club, supported by their solicitors Russell-Cooke, are seeking to pursue matters further and are considering legal action in order to get a settlement, as they believe they conservatively calculated their losses at £49,000.
This figure was reached due to the cancellation of a number of Premiership matches, their Easter camps and the club’s end of season party, among other revenue streams.
Despite this, their claim was denied, much to the club’s discontent.
A club spokesperson explained: “Our policy excluded specific things like “terrorism” and “war” but pandemics were not excluded and neither was a Government lockdown.”
Surbiton, unwilling to give up, engaged their solicitors Russell-Cooke and are now calling on some of the over 7,000 community and amateur sports clubs registered with HMRC to join them in a class action.
The spokesperson said: “Many clubs and societies are run by volunteers who don’t have a huge amount of time.
“I get the sense that these insurance companies are almost hoping this problem goes away and are just playing the long game, hoping that the volunteers eventually just give up and move on.
“Our thinking was, hang on, we’ve invested, we’ve paid Russell Cooke to do this work, they’re up to speed and they’re excellent, so I said to them: “what about pursuing a class action?” because that sends a message to the insurers.
“There are other class actions being pursued, such as for restaurants and the tourism industry, but those are businesses.
“It’s one thing saying they’ll take on a business but I think it’s another thing taking on volunteer clubs and societies who are doing good work in communities.”
Not all of these over 7,000 clubs will need to join the class action, with other insurers, such as Hiscox, already having settled many of the claims they received.
This came about following the FCA test case, in which the Supreme Court substantially allowed the FCA’s appeal on behalf of policyholders.
The spokesperson added: “I’ve spoken to a number of cricket clubs and they don’t need to participate as their insurers did the honourable thing in my view.
“What is important to note for prospective hockey and other sports clubs considering answering the Surbiton call to action is that there is no commitment to going to Court or financial contribution required at this stage.
“We want to gauge the scale of the problem, the action that should be taken and how it might be funded with no upfront costs for clubs.
“The message we want to make is there’s no downside for the clubs – the only losers here are going to be the insurance companies.”
Clubs wishing to register interest in participating in this potential collective action should fill out this form.
Featured Image Credit: Will Burton