The Supreme Court has ruled in favour of small businesses that appears set to force insurers to pay out on disputed coronavirus business interruption claims potentially worth £1.2bn.

The Financial Conduct Authority with the support of eight insurance companies asked judges to set the parameters for valid claims from various policies following a test case

The High Court judgment, handed down in September, was widely seen as supportive for the bulk of the estimated 370,000 companies said to be affected by the dispute.

A broad range of firms including pubs, cafes, wedding planners and beauty parlours argued they faced ruin when they were turned down by insurers for business interruption policy claims on losses caused by the first national COVID-19 lockdown.

Reasons for turning down payouts by insurers included that policies demanded there be local cases in any outbreak situation.

The legal process was fast-tracked to the highest court in England and Wales which said on Friday that it was to had “substantially allowed” the appeal brought by the FCA and an action group to clarify the position.

Update

Supreme Court judgment in FCA’s business interruption insurance test case

– The background

– What today’s judgment decides

– What today’s judgment means for policyholders

– Next steps

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