Industry News: ATG sues Allianz over Covid claim

International Entertainment Holdings Limited (IEH), the parent company of theatre owner Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG), is in a dispute with insurer Allianz about a multi-million pound Covid-19 Business Interruption (BI) claim.

It is one of a number of Covid-19 BI claims from London theatres that came out of the pandemic lockdowns, where businesses – including London’s West End theatres – were forced to shut down.

ATG owns theatres including the West End’s Savoy, Duke of York’s, Harold Pinter and Ambassadors theatres. The group recently announced that ATG is set to merge with Broadway theatre chain Jujamcyn Theaters, with Jujamcyn’s five Broadway venues added to the 58 venues that ATG already own or operate in the UK and US.

ATG’s parent company is pursuing insurer Allianz for itself and 14 of its owned or managed subsidiaries and venues, for allegedly failing to pay a Covid-19 BI claim.

The 14 are: ATG London Ltd, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre Ltd, Glasgow Theatres Ltd, Milton Keynes Theatre Ltd, Playhouse Theatre Ltd, Richmond Theatre Ltd, Savoy Theatre Ltd, Stoke-on-Trent Theatres Ltd, The Ambassador Theatre Group (Venues) Ltd, The Duke of York’s Theatre Ltd, The New Wimbledon Theatre Ltd, Theatre Management Ltd, Theatre Royal Brighton Ltd, and Woking Turnstyle Ltd.

IEH are arguing that Allianz is in breach of contract for refusing to provide the indemnity sought by IEH.

The case was originally filed by IEH back in December 2022, and the defence filed on 13 February 2023.

IEH’s claim form said: “The defendant is bound to indemnify each claimant in respect of the interference and/or interruption of each of the claimants’ businesses carried on at each of the premises specified in schedule one up to a maximum amount of £500,000 with an indemnity period of three months in respect of each separate interruption and/or interference with each of the claimants’ businesses.”

An Allianz spokesperson said in a statement: “While litigation is never ideal, we appreciate that the impact on some businesses has been substantial and the application of cover in response to a pandemic can be complex. We welcome the clarity that litigation should provide but are confident that we have applied cover correctly and in alignment with previous legal precedents, including the Supreme Court judgement in the FCA test case.”

Bruce Hepburn, chief executive and founder of independent insurance governance consultant Mactavish Group, told Insurance Times: “IEH is one of a growing number of companies we’re seeing take legal action against their insurers. The claims against Allianz are being pursued in the High Court, alongside a growing number of claimants on a wide range of wording variations across the relevant parts of business interruption policies. If we trace the legal claims back a few years to the FCA test case, it’s clear to see that insurers were looking to protect themselves from early on.”

ATG / IEG had no further comment. Allianz had no further comment to their original statement.

👤 📅3 March 2023

📷 Main photo: Ambassador Theatre Group

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