Insurer says ombudsman needs to test whether cloud was weather event

Europ Assistance has called on the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) to test in court whether the ash cloud, which closed Britain’s airspace last April, should be defined as a weather event.

Last week, Europ Assistance decided not to appeal against a small claims ruling against it, and Insure and Go, where the judge ruled that ash was a weather event.

Former lawyer Clive Tucker had taken Insure and Go, who were underwritten by Europ Assistance, to Yeovil County Court after the insurers refused to pay out for his costs.

But for a precedent to be set, the ruling must be made in a higher court.

A spokeswoman for the FOS said: “A major insurer has requested a test case. The ombudsman has given a clear indication of its view in the context of an individual case, where we're minded to uphold the consumer's complaint.

'We've asked the insurer why they believe a legal test case is necessary - particularly as we understand a case at the small claims court has not been appealed to a higher court.

A Europ Assistance spokeswoman said: “The matter of the volcanic ash plume claims is still before FOS and as such it would be inappropriate to comment.”