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High Court set to hear BI appeal application

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The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) appeal application for its first business interruption test case will be heard in the High Court in Canberra on June 25.

The High Court may decide to reject the application, meaning the NSW Court of Appeal decision on Quarantine Act wordings would stand, or may agree that the lower court’s judgment requires further review, which would be completed in coming months.

ICA CEO Andrew Hall says the June date is a “welcome next step” and the insurance industry will be presenting further arguments on why references to the Quarantine Act in some business interruption policies exclude claims made as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The ICA and its members look forward to the decision of the High Court on this issue in which there is a strong public interest as it will provide clarity on the interpretation of this important aspect of business interruption policies,” he told

Lawyers say the court may agree the appeal can go ahead due to the importance of the issue, but the final outcome remains highly uncertain.

ICA is also running a second test case in the Federal Court, to be heard in the first half of September, with any appeal to be dealt with by the Full Court in early November. Federal Court cases can also be taken to the High Court if leave to appeal is granted.

“Once final rulings have been obtained from the courts, insurers are committed to applying the relevant principles in an efficient, transparent and consistent way when assessing claims,” Mr Hall says.