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Victorian gym owner takes legal action against insurer for refusing Coronavirus compensation payout

Victorian gym owner takes legal action against insurer for refusing Coronavirus compensation payout
March 25, 2021

A Jetts gym franchisee has launched legal action against his insurer for being refused compensation after the Victorian Government forced businesses to close last year during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Christopher Blake, owner of Jetts Ocean Grove on the Bellarine Peninsula, claims his insurer denied paying compensation under his business interruption insurance for the two statewide lockdowns.

As reported by the Geelong Advertiser, Blake etimates his gym missed out on $235,000 in revenue due to the prolonged shutdown imposed on the nation’s second most populous state.

Blake has lodged action in the Federal Court, saying Hollard Insurance denied compensation as Coronavirus was not deemed a “quarantinable disease” under the nation’s Quarantine Act.

Blake's legal representatives, Shine Lawyers claims the quarantine laws legislated more than a century ago were made redundant after the country enacted new biosecurity laws in 2015.

Australia’s response to the pandemic, including border closures and shutdowns, has been administered through the biosecurity laws.

Blake’s claim is based on Hollard Insurance denying his payout of up to $450,000 on redundant laws.

Shine Lawyer disputes solicitor Joseph Crane said the NSW Court of Appeal had already ruled in several cases that it was wrong to deny interruption payouts.

Crane told the Geelong Advertiser “Victorian small businesses paying tens of thousands of dollars for interruption insurance each year rightly expect to be treated fairly when they claim financial assistance in accordance with their policies.

“The financial and emotional strain on small business owners in Victoria can’t be underestimated, and insurers need to pay up now rather than drag this through the courts any longer.”

The Insurance Council of Australia is intending to appeal some of the decisions made by the NSW Court of Appeal in the High Court.

Crane said he was confident the High Court would reject ICA’s appeal, commenting "insurance companies instead tried to crab walk away from the wording of their policies, but the NSW Court of Appeal saw right through those attempts, and we’re confident the High Court will reach the same conclusion."

Image: Exercisers at Jetts Ocean Grove. Credit: Jetts Ocean Grove/Facebook.

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23rd March 2021 - Fitness Australia says industry ‘continues to strengthen’ 12 months since COVID-19 shutdowns

22nd March 2021 - Fitness and Lifestyle Group launches Emerging Leaders program

2nd March 2021 - VIC Active continues to highlight the safety of fitness centres

19th February 2021 - VIC Active calls on Victorian Government to fulfill its promise of financial assistance

12th February 2021 - Jetts Ballina wins at The Retention People’s Member Experience Awards winners

29th January 2021 - White paper identifies role of technology in driving post COVID fitness operations

12th January 2021 - Sportscover partners with Sport Climbing Australia to offer insurance for climbers

29th December 2020 - Ombudsman’s report calls for action in addressing ‘national crisis’ in insurance coverage

23rd November 2020 - VIC Active questions remaining caps on Victorian gym operations

28th August 2020 - Jetts Fitness looks to ongoing growth in Thailand

29th May 2020 - Fitness Australia releases Checklist to ensure gyms offer safe environments when reopening

5th February 2020 - Jetts Australia Chief Executive named Director at aged care and wellbeing specialist ComLink

15th September 2018 - Commercial trampoline centre operators struggle to secure insurance

6th September 2017 - Jetts Fitness quietly passes 10 year operational milestone

18th September 2016 - Quadrant Private Equity adds Jetts to fitness sector acquisitions in $100 million deal

6th September 2015 - AFIRM manual aims to improve gym safety

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