A February 2023 High Court judgment which dealt with a Covid-19 business interruption claim under the business interruption non-damage extension considered the nature of a composite and joint insurance policy.

On the facts the court was satisfied that the third applicant was a joint insured under the policy.  The court also held that the second, third and fourth applicants, all separate juristic entities insured under the policy could seek relief where only the second applicant had submitted a claim for business interruption.  

The insurer had argued that because those insureds were separate juristic companies and carrying on business at different places, they could not rely on the second applicant’s claim under the policy to claim for the same incident.

Factually the court found that the parties were all impacted by the loss where the event was an incident of Covid-19 within the relevant radius of certain of the second applicants’ premises but not on others. On the facts the event which impacted the one facility had an impact on the other facilities as well.  The applicants’ uncontested version was that some of the training of its cadet pilots was conducted partly in Port Alfred and party in Gqeberha.  It was evident that interruption at one site would impact the other site.

On a reading of the policy the “business” was all of the places where business is conducted and that was a factual determination.

The court held that on the flexible, common sense approach to interpretation as set out in the Supreme Court of Appeal in the Guardrisk judgment there was no bar to the claim where the businesses shared the same facilities to conduct training and for support and on-going or secondary training.