The Wokingham Paper

Salon owners ask Theresa May for help with £500,000 insurance claim

Marc Antoni
The four Giamattei brothers who run Marc Antoni; Bruno, Simon, Aaron and Marcus with their father Bruno Giamattei Snr (centre) smile as they pick up their trophies at the British Hair Awards. Picture: courtesy of Julie Giamattei

HAVING paid more than £43,000 to their insurer for coverage of human disease-related incidents, a local hair salon company has been left frustrated after their insurance claim was rejected.

Marc Antoni, which has five salons across Woodley, Henley, Caversham, Bracknell and Fleet were told on Friday that their claim to Hiscox had been refused.

Julie Giamattei, director of the 50-year-old family-run business was told that the five salons would not receive the £500,000 insurance payout, despite being covered for ‘an occurrence of notifiable human disease’. 

Mrs Giamattei had been preempting the financial costs of the coronavirus in early March, and was in regular contact with her insurance broker, Ben Caspi from Direct Business Insurance about the possibility of making a claim.

Now, the director of insurance, Maurice Geller will be taking up Marc Antoni’s case in a bid to help the company survive the pandemic.

“Their response is complete nonsense and Maurice is going to involve the Financial Conduct Authority,” explained Mr Caspi. “Their wording clearly covers the situation.”

Mrs Giamattei said: “Ben phoned me and told me his boss — who has been in insurance for 45 years — says we’ve definitely got a claim, and that their response to us is complete rubbish.”‘

The claim team at Hiscox had told her the Business Interruption Cover would not cover a claim relating to the coronavirus. 

They said cover can be triggered under two sections of her policy: Non-damage Denial of Access and Public Authority.

“These sections only cover Business Interruption losses where those losses result solely and directly from an interruption to your business caused by a denial of access or an inability to use the insured premises due to restrictions by the Government or a public authority.

“Unfortunately, the loss for which you have claimed is not covered by your Hiscox policy.”

But Mrs Giamattei believes that the salons are now covered, having closed due to the Government restrictions.

“We didn’t voluntarily close,” she said. “The Government officially closed us on Monday, March 23, to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

“We’re covered for an occurrence of notifiable human disease — it’s there in black and white.”

A spokesperson from Hiscox said: “We understand these are incredibly difficult times for businesses and we are paying claims that are covered by the policies we issue fairly and quickly. 

“We review every case individually, and if any customer has concerns about the application of their policy, we encourage them to get in touch with us directly.”

Having been in touch with Hiscox, Mrs Giamattei is now appealing for help from Theresa May, MP for Maidenhead — who has visited the Woodley salon for her haircut before.

“She lives at the end of our road and a friend recommended us to her, so she has a connection to the salon.”

She hopes that the former Prime Minister may be able to help her business receive the payout she believes they are owed. 

The company, which has 60 employees has been able to furlough staff to receive the Government-issued wage payment of 80% per person.

“My children, sister-in-laws, nephews and nieces now all work within the company,” she added. “Lots of us were worried sick about our mortgages.” 

Although the financial help covers wages, Mrs Giamattei is determined to fight for her company’s insurance payout, otherwise they may have to take out an expensive loan to keep the salons afloat. 

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