The good news is that the ABI has pledged its members will react quickly to compensate business owners for both damage and any loss of trade they experience while repairs take place. And even firms which weren’t physically damaged, but lost business as a result – those stuck behind police cordons, say – may also be covered. Although Nick Starling, the ABI’s director of general insurance and health, said it’s important to check your policy. ‘We have every sympathy for residents and business owners who have suffered damage,’ he added.
Seems a bit of a departure from the huffing and puffing usually associated with insurers. But no wonder the they’re being so helpful: it turns out that under a law first introduced in 1886, they might not actually have to pick up the bill. Under the Riot Damages Act, insurance companies, businesses and individuals which have been hit by riots can claim their losses back from local police authorities.
Now, obviously, that’s going to cause Outraged of Milton Keynes and chums to grumble vociferously about taxpayers footing the bill for yob behaviour (and given the state of public finances, the timing couldn’t be worse). But the debate over public sector finances aside, it does at least mean that businesses without insurance can claim back their losses, as long as they get their application within 14 days. Which will come as a relief, if nothing else, to those businesses which were caught out.