20 May 2021

Herbert Smith Freehills teams up with FCA to develop Covid insurance claims tool

HSF and the FCA's 'Covid Calculator' will help support insurance claims

Tech will enable insurers and businesses to see proximity of virus to their organisations

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has joined forces with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to create a tool for businesses affected by Covid-19 to identify potential insurance claims.  

The announcement comes a few months after the firm teamed up with the FCA in its business insurance test case litigation, when HSF successfully advanced the regulator’s claim before the UK Supreme Court on behalf of policyholders.  

The digital product was created and designed by a group of HSF lawyers and technologists alongside the FCA. They included partners Paul Lewis, Sara McNally and Andrew Moir and head of legal operations John O’Donoghue.

Legal operations manager Jacob Capleton, technical consultant Liam Marshall, IT delivery lead Marc Pinder and associate Joanna Giza also participated in the creation of the product.  

The tool, known as the Covid Calculator, will help insurers and business owners prove the presence of Covid-19 within a certain distance from their business to support organisations making claims on insurance policies that contain a “disease clause”, the firm said.  

Commenting on the launch, HSF’s global head of insurance disputes Paul Lewis said: “The judgment brought guidance on how certain business interruption insurance wordings should operate in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has had such a devastating effect on business across the country.  

“This new calculator will help a significant number of policyholders gain some clarity around if the disease clause applies to them and their insurance policy.” 

HSF’s legal operations head, John O'Donoghue, said the firm’s investment in the project is a reflection of its “growing investment” in the digital transformation space as it moves to adapt to client needs in the latest phase of the pandemic.  

“This project was a collaborative effort and a great example of the wider services we are now able to offer as a firm,” he added. 

The practical effect of the ruling in January’s The Financial Conduct Authority v. Arch and Others is that businesses whose agreements contain any of the specimen clauses put forward for consideration are covered for business interruptions caused by the first wave of Covid-19, marking a notable victory for HSF and businesses alike.

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