The policyholder group wishes to have its voice heard after Hiscox refused its proposed expedited arbitration process

The Hiscox Action Group (HAG) has instructed its lawyers to intervene with the FCA’s test case exploring disputed business interruption (BI) policy wordings as insurer Hiscox has refused the HAG’s request for an expedited arbitration process.

The HAG is a collective of Hiscox clients whose coronavirus-related BI claims were rejected – the group now represents more than 600 policyholders.

Led by film company Media Zoo, the HAG is arguing that their claims should be paid because Hiscox’s BI policy wording insures against financial loss arising from an inability to use an insured property due to ‘an occurrence of any human infectious or human contagion disease’.

In April, the HAG appointed Mishcon de Reya as its legal representative and secured funding from dispute risk management and litigation funding firm Harbour Litigation Funding to progress legal action.

Earlier this month, Mishcon de Reya formally began its arbitration claim against Hiscox Insurance on behalf of 369 policyholders – this seeks a pay out of almost £47m for HAG members’ rejected BI claims.

However, the HAG said yesterday that Hiscox has refused to agree to the proposed expedited arbitration process and is instead referencing the FCA test case – the insurer has refused to take any action until the FCA case has concluded.

Daniel Duckett, a member of the Hiscox Steering Group, said: “We are being forced to go to extraordinary lengths to get settlement for our members.

”We have commenced an expedited arbitration action, we are seeking to intervene in the FCA case and we are looking at the new provisions of the Insurance Act. We are determined to do whatever it takes to ensure our members get what they are entitled to.”

The HAG has raised concerns about the lack of affected policyholders involved in the FCA hearing; it also fears that Hiscox policy wordings will lose visibility if addressed alongside other insurers’ wordings.

Mark Killick, a member of the Hiscox Action Group Steering Committee, said: “It is not right that a case like this is proceeding without policyholders having a voice and this intervention will address that failing. It is our members that are going out of business and they are entitled to be heard.”

Richard Leedham, partner at Mishcon de Reya, added: “Hiscox has so far refused to agree to an expedited arbitration claim and pointed to the FCA case.

”This case is clearly becoming increasingly important and it is imperative that Hiscox Action Group members - who are some of the victims here - have a voice.”