Highlands and Islands Labour MSP David Stewart raised the issue of how companies were being affected by not having their claims for Business Interruption Insurance being met.
Meeting of the Parliament (Virtual) 11 June 2020 [Draft]
o Portfolio Question Time
Rural Economy and Tourism
The Deputy Presiding Officer (Linda Fabiani):
Welcome to this virtual meeting of the Scottish Parliament. The first item of business is portfolio questions on the rural economy and tourism. In order to get in as many members as possible, please could all members make questions and answers short and succinct—especially the supplementary questions and answers.
Rural and Island Economies (Impact of Covid-19)
Highlands and Islands (Impact of Covid-19 on Tourism)
2. David Stewart (Highlands and Islands) (Lab):
To ask the Scottish Government what assessment it has made of the impact of Covid-19 on tourism in the Highlands and Islands. (S5O-04389)
The Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism (Fergus Ewing):
The Scottish Government is keenly aware of the impact that the coronavirus has had on the tourism economy of the Highlands and Islands and is working extremely hard to address that.
Tourism is the lifeblood of the economy of the Highlands and Islands. My mailbox is full of contact from disgruntled tourist businesses that have for a variety of spurious reasons been denied business interruption insurance for interruption due to Covid-19. Will the cabinet secretary join my campaign to raise that injustice with the regulator, and ask insurance companies to think again?
I entirely agree with David Stewart that the response of the insurance companies has been deeply disappointing, which is why the Scottish Government has been very active on the matter. Fiona Hyslop, who is the lead cabinet secretary on the matter, and I had a conference call with the Association of British Insurers just last week. During it, I expressed my extreme displeasure about the fact that so many insurance companies seem to be denying liability on the basis that the pandemic is the “wrong sort of pandemic”. How truly pathetic. We are campaigning on the matter and will work alongside David Stewart.
This is the first opportunity that I have had since Mr Stewart announced his planned retiral to say what a pleasure it has been, and will continue to be, to work alongside him in representing people in the Highlands of Scotland.