FBD changes wording of insurance policies as fight over virus payouts plays out

Insurer FBD is changing the wording of its commercial insurance policies to exclude communicable diseases like Covid-19 from coverage, as the company faces a Commercial Court battle with publicans over its business interruption coverage during the pandemic, the Sunday Independent reveals.

Starting on August 1, FBD began updating pub trade policies to reflect the company’s position that Covid and other communicable diseases should not be covered by business interruption insurance. The new boilerplate language is being rolled out across other commercial insurance products on an ongoing basis.

The changes come as FBD faces a test case on October 6th against four pubs over the refusal to pay out claims for business closures during the pandemic. The result will help determine if the insurer will have to pay claims for 1,300 business customers that were forced to close because of public health advice.

Job losses in the air as tourism is grounded

A Failte Ireland survey of 950 tourism businesses has found about three in five expect to cut the number of permanent staff they employ this autumn and winter, relative to last year, a report in the Sunday Times reveals. The survey, conducted by the national tourism development agency earlier this month, also found that 83 per cent of respondents said they would employ fewer seasonal staff over the coming months compared with last year. Operators of hotels, restaurants, pubs, activity centres, B&Bs and other tourism-related businesses participated in the study, the findings of which were published last week and reflect the poor trading period experienced by the sector in recent months due to the pandemic.

Aer Lingus pay crisis continues as wages are partially restored

Aer Lingus will restore many operational staff to 50 per cent of their pre-Covid shifts from today – up from 30 per cent, the Sunday Independent says. However, the move will see the airline pay many staff just €3.80 per hour gross from its own resources, with the rest coming from Government supports. Staff in Shannon will continue to receive even less of their wages directly from the airline after it decided to put them on just 40 per cent of their pre-Covid shifts.

Budget Vat rate cut demanded as hotels predict winter crisis

The Government is set to come under intense pressure to cut the 13.5 per cent Vat rate for the hospitality and tourism industries, as a new survey shows that 88 per cent of hotel rooms will lie empty in November, a report in the Sunday Business Post says. An internal survey of members of the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF), seen by the Business Post, has predicted that occupancy rates across Ireland will fall to just 12 per cent this November, with the rate dropping to 3 per cent in parts of Dublin. The survey’s findings come as Catherine Martin, the Minister for Tourism, acknowledged that the government’s €270 million “Stay and Spend” initiative will have to be reconsidered in the budget.

This is due to the fact that people living in Dublin and Donegal are advised not to leave their counties and many restaurants and bars are now closed. Cork, Louth, Waterford, Wicklow, Kildare and Galway have been put on alert about increased prevalence of the virus.

CityJet boss claims worst of pandemic is over

Pat Byrne, the CityJet chief executive, has claimed Europe could be facing a “casedemic” rather than a second wave of Covid-19, according to a report in the Sunday Business Post. The report notes that casedemic is a term used by people who broadly believe that the pandemic has passed, and that while the number of positive cases is now rising again, this is unlikely result in a high mortality rate as was recorded in Europe in March and April.

This is not a commonly held theory, and is not a view endorsed by the Health Service Executive (HSE), the World Health Organisation (WHO) or the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC), all of which have recently warned that the pandemic is ongoing.

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