Thousands of businesses affected by COVID-19 may be entitled to insurance payments under business interruption policies after the NSW Supreme Court of Appeal found pandemic exclusions were not valid.

The test case was brought by the Insurance Council of Australia to determine if pandemic exclusions that referenced the Quarantine Act, that was replaced by the Biosecurity Act in 2015, could be used to reject claims.

Insurers may be forced to pay millions in business interruption policies after an unfavourable NSW Supreme Court judgment.

Insurers may be forced to pay millions in business interruption policies after an unfavourable NSW Supreme Court judgment.Credit:AP

Many business interruption policies, including those provided by Suncorp, IAG and QBE, reference the expired Quarantine Act, but relied on the argument that “quarantinable diseases” exclusions were relevant for the pandemic.

However, the court found COVID-19 was not declared a quarantinable disease under the act referenced in current policies, and therefore insurers cannot reject these claims, meaning the industry could be on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars in payments.



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