FBD sets aside €22m for Covid court battle and scraps shareholder dividend

FBD has scrapped its proposed €1 per share shareholder dividend for 2019 and has set aside €22m to cover potential costs from its pending legal battle with publicans over Covid-19 disruption cover.

However, the insurer said it sees the €22m as being “a precautionary reserve” and that it remains “strongly of the view” that its policies do not provide cover for a pandemic like Covid-19.

Last month FBD said it had received more than 700 coronavirus-linked business interruption claims from commercial clients, but said it would not be paying out over loss of business due to the Covid crisis.

FBD has around 1,300 pub owners among its business customers and a test case over Covid-19 business interruption cover is due before the Commercial Court in early October.

However, FBD said it is in the process of refunding motor customers as a result of the reduced car usage during the lockdown. The refunds will cost the group around €7m.

Refunds are also being offered to commercial customers whose businesses have been closed for the employers’ liability/public liability/business interruption elements of their cover for the closure period, with a further €7m of commercial refunds anticipated.

FBD said gross written premiums were down 3%, year-on-year, in the first five months of the year, as Covid impacted the economy.

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