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Policyholder Right to Damages for Late Payment Comes Into Force in England

May 4, 2017, Covington Alert

With effect from today, policyholders may recover damages from insurers for late payment of some insurance claims.

For insurance contracts agreed or renewed on or after May 4, 2017 and governed by English law, the UK Enterprise Act 2016 introduces an implied term, affording the policyholder the right to recover losses caused by the insurer’s failure to pay valid claims within a reasonable time. The insurer has the burden to prove reasonable grounds for a delayed payment. The parties to business insurance contracts may agree to exclude damages for delayed payments that are neither deliberate nor reckless; but the insurer must specifically notify the policyholder of any such provision before entering the contract.

Policyholders should be alert to this new right, both at renewal and in future claims under UK insurance contracts.

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