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London court orders Axa to pay restaurant owner for COVID losses

(Reuters) — French insurer Axa SA, the parent company of Axa XL, must compensate the owner of London’s Wolseley restaurant for several incidents of business interruption due to COVID-19, London’s High Court said on Friday in a case closely watched by other policyholders.

Britain’s Supreme Court ruled last year that many insurers had been wrong to deny thousands of companies, battered by the COVID-19 pandemic, business interruption payouts.

But the ruling did not cover all policy wordings and, where it deemed claims valid, some companies were disputing payout levels.

Corbin & King, the owner of London restaurants including the Wolseley and the Delaunay, was suing Axa in a dispute that hinged in part on the scope of “denial of access” cover, designed to protect insured venues that are shut by public authorities on health grounds.

Six Corbin & King restaurants were each entitled to payments of up to 250,000 pounds ($335,075) for three separate periods of UK government lockdowns or hospitality restrictions, the High Court ruled.

Axa had noted the court’s decision and would give it “careful consideration,” a spokesperson said by email.

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