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Rejected Coronavirus Business Interruption Insurance Claims

If your business was forced to close as a result of the government’s response to the global COVID-19 pandemic and your insurer has rejected your business interruption insurance claim, you may still have a claim against your insurer.

Current Status

On Monday the 21st of February 2022, the Federal Court handed down the latest decision in the acceptance of Business Interruption insurance claims made following the COVID-19 pandemic.

This latest decision has given hope to those policyholders who are entitled to claim Government stimulus grants such as JobKeeper which is now not considered 'savings' to the business. Some policyholders could now also benefit in relation to a calculation of interest.

The decision was based on rejecting the notion that "quarantinable diseases under the Quarantine Act 1908 and subsequent amendments" was to be interpreted as a reference to ‘human diseases’ under the Biosecurity Act.

It is important to note there are still cases before the courts and the claims that are being examined through the test case process will continue.

If your Business Interruption claim has been rejected and you are unsure about the wording your insurance policy currently contains, get in touch today and let our legal experts guide you.

Free Business Interruption Insurance Claim Checker

Complete our free COVID-19 BI Insurance Claim Checker to find out whether or not Shine Lawyers may be able to assist with a claim against your insurer arising from losses caused by COVID-19.

The Claim Checker will load in a pop out window and will take no more than 3 minutes to complete.

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted thousands of Australian businesses, many of whom were forced to cease their operations causing significant financial and emotional strain.

Despite these businesses holding business interruption insurance, many insurers are leading their customers to believe their policy excludes cover for losses suffered as a result of Coronavirus / COVID-19, on the basis that Coronavirus / COVID-19 is a “quarantinable disease” under the “Quarantine Act 1908” and is therefore excluded under the policy. Learn more about the Quarantine Act 1908 below.

In a unanimous 5-0 decision by the New South Wales Court of Appeal delivered on 18 November 2020, the Court confirmed Shine’s view that COVID-19 / Coronavirus is not a “quarantinable disease” under the Quarantine Act 1908 under these policies.

The insurer sought to appeal the court's decision, but a final decision was made by the High Court on 25th June 2021 against the insurer. This is a very substantial development for businesses who have suffered significant losses as a result of government shut-downs from the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you believe your insurer has wrongly denied a claim under a business interruption insurance policy, or if you want to know whether you may have cover for losses arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, complete our free claim-checker or contact us for an obligation-free discussion.

Insurance Litigation Experts

Insurance companies can go to great lengths to avoid paying out clients covered under their policy when things go wrong. Our lawyers are experts in bringing justice when insurance companies wrongly decline claims.

To determine whether we may be able to assist in pursuing your insurance claim, please use our obligation-free claim checker

The history of the Quarantine Act 1908

The Quarantine Act 1908 was repealed with the introduction of the Biosecurity Act 2015, and accordingly Coronavirus / COVID-19 is not, and can never be, a “quarantinable disease” under the “Quarantine Act 1908”.

The Biosecurity Act 2015 contains a concept similar to the concept of “quarantinable disease”, namely “listed human disease”, and Coronavirus / COVID-19 is a “listed human disease” under the Biosecurity Act 2015.

However, insurers are saying that despite the clear wording in the policy, the reference in policies to “quarantinable disease” under the “Quarantine Act 1908” should be read as “listed human disease” under the “Biosecurity Act 2015”.

Shine Lawyers view is that insurers should be paying these claims because Coronavirus / COVID-19 is not a “quarantinable disease” under the Quarantine Act 1908 and is committed to helping clients to pursue these claims.

Who are the Commercial Litigation Team?

Shine Lawyers' Commercial Litigation team includes some of the firm’s most experienced special counsel, solicitors and support staff, including law clerks and paralegals.