Aberdeen chairman urges insurers to do ‘the right thing’ over coronavirus cover

Chairman Dave Cormack has called for Aberdeen’s insurers to act in good faith and continue its protection through the coronavirus crisis.

With the pandemic bringing a halt to football in Scotland and further afield, the Dons chief warned earlier in the week that the Pittodrie club face a £5million shortfall due to the postponement of fixtures and income and that he was facing “some tough decisions”.

Speaking on the club’s official website, Cormack revealed that Aberdeen’s insurance policy covered “certain consequences of the impact of COVID‐19” but that it has been advised that the insurers would “drop the wording within the existing business interruption policy” when it comes up for renewal on April 30.

He said: “As a diligent, well‐run organisation, we chose comprehensive business interruption cover and believe we may be one of only a few clubs with an insurance policy that clearly covers the impact of a pandemic.

“Despite paying for that cover ‐ when we need it most, we’ve been advised we’re not going to get it!

“We accept that our insurance company is acting within its legal rights and that the present circumstances will give rise to multiple and significant insurance claims.

“But this leaves us bearing the majority of the continuing costs incurred as a result of the football suspension in response to the coronavirus, despite the outbreak occurring when we had cover. The bulk of our losses will likely be beyond the end of next month. This just doesn’t feel right in the present circumstances.

“We’ve raised this with a local MP because we believe there is a moral dilemma here, which should be addressed by the insurance industry and the government. Perhaps what is needed is for pandemic claims to be dealt with in a similar way to those arising from floods and terrorism.

“That is, through an industry‐wide, public/private insurance solution which provides essential cover, at the cost of the insured, but with the cost of claims being spread across the whole of the insurance industry and the state.

“That seems an appropriate long‐term solution, for the solvency‐threatening consequences of pandemics.

“But, until that’s in place, would it not be the right thing for insurers to continue existing cover for so long as the consequences of the current COVID‐19 outbreak continue?”

Aberdeen chairman urges insurers to do ‘the right thing’ over coronavirus cover PLZ Soccer
The Pittodrie club are facing “some tough decisions” (Jane Barlow/PA)

Conservative MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, Andrew Bowie, offered support.

He said: “Overall, I have been impressed by how Aberdeen FC have turned a negative into something so positive.

“Many of the city’s elderly and most vulnerable are getting help through the club’s Still Standing Free initiative.

“So I was disappointed to hear the club’s insurer will effectively pull the rug out from under it next month.

“After talking to Dave Cormack, I agreed with the club’s position and have now raised the issue with Treasury officials.

“This will require co‐operation between insurers, government and the football community to find a way forward.”

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