BDA seeks legal advice on dental insurers

18 May 2020

The British Dental Association (BDA) is taking legal advice following insurers not paying insurance claims made by dentists in regard to business interruption during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The BDA states on its website, “We have instructed law firm Brown Rudnick LLP to examine insurance policies affecting dental practices. It is now working with our members to gather relevant evidence on the full range of policies in the sector. This legal advice will shape the guidance that we will be offering a profession that has been blindsided by a lack of effective insurance during a period that has seen routine care suspended and cash-flow for many practices fall to zero.”

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) stated on April 15 that most policies with basic cover would not respond to COVID-19 losses, however on May 1 it declared that it intends to obtain a court declaration to resolve contractual uncertainty in business interruption insurance cover.

The BDA stated, “We have acted following uncertainty over whether the FCA move will help or hinder practices given the breadth of policy wording covering the different sectors of the UK economy and the urgent cash crisis facing businesses. This has been made more acute in light of the indication that a court hearing will not take place until July.”

According to the BDA, leaders within dentistry hope that instructing Brown Rudnick now will give them a better understanding of their legal position and allow them to consider representations to the FCA as part of the regulator’s recently announced course of action.

The BDA added, “Following the conclusion of that process, an understanding of the legal position will give us a strong foundation upon which to engage with insurers and the FCA. The government has remained unwilling to extend the Business Rates Retail Discount of 100% currently offered to leisure and hospitality sectors to dental practices, to ease potentially crippling losses in the sector. Our polling has indicated that over 70% of practices report they can only remain financially sustainable for the next three months.”

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