Europ Assistance has called on the Financial Ombudsman Service to test in court whether the ash cloud, which closed Britain’s airspace last April, should be defined as a weather event.
Europ Assistance decided not to appeal against a recent small claims ruling against it on a case where Europ Assistance insured a policy for Insure and Go, where the judge ruled that ash was a weather event.
A delayed traveller, former lawyer Clive Tucker, won a case against his insurance company, establishing in the process that the disruption could be classed as weather related. The decision by Yeovil County Court gave Clive Tucker compensation from Insure and Go for the costs involved in being stranded in Mexico as a result of volcanic ash.
The decision of the small claims court does not set a legal precedent, but it adds weight to a provisional decision made by the Financial Ombudsman Services, and the Yeovil outcome could affect negotiations with insurance underwriters covering claims by hundreds of customers.
The FOS says, “A major insurer has requested a test case. The ombudsman has given a clear indication of its view in the context of an individual case, where we are minded to uphold the consumer's complaint. We have asked the insurer why they believe a legal test case is necessary - particularly as we understand a case at the small claims court has not been appealed to a higher court.”