Insurance giant Aviva is the only firm not to pay out to businesses affected by the London Bridge terror attack, an MP has claimed.
Labour’s Neil Coyle said the failure to pay had left a “nasty negative stain on their corporate conscience” and urged the company to “re-examine” their decision.
The Bermondsey and Old Southwark MP’s comments came during a debate on financial support for victims of terror attacks.
Mr Coyle put the current cost of the attack on businesses at almost £2 million and urged the Government to take action to ensure that terror was “not able to put British jobs at risk or force companies under”.
He said: “If it wasn’t for business-to-business support and public donations, some of these businesses would have simply gone under, people would have lost their jobs as a result. This has dismayed and distressed local employers.
“After terror attacks on British tourists abroad, systems were updated in 2012. “If we can update the systems to ensure innocent British civilians attacked abroad are better protected, we must be able to better protect British business and employers from terror attacks here.”
He added: “Most insurers have now paid out after interventions.
“The only insurer I am aware of that has failed to pay out is Aviva, they have let my community down and I think they leave a nasty negative stain on their corporate conscience which I hope they will re-examine.”
Mr Coyle said the current system for paying out after terror attacks, Pool Re, was established in 1993 and was now “outdated”. He added: “As things stand if another attack occurred today, six months after London Bridge and Borough Market were so brutally attacked, employers would face exactly the same problems.
“In failing to act we have a Government that risks undermining the rhetoric about terrorism not winning.”
Ministers conceded that the current insurance model for paying out after terror attacks was outdated and would be reformed “in the New Year”.
Treasury Minister Stephen Barclay said: “This Government is committed to ensuring that Pool Re continues to protect business and enable effective terrorism insurance cover. “We agree in recent years a gap has appeared in its coverage and that’s a legitimate point which sits at the core of his rationale for calling today’s debate.
“This means that some businesses may not be insured for a loss of income in specific circumstances where losses are incurred due to a terrorist attack, but there is no physical damage, and it’s the lack of physical damage that is particularly material in this instance.
“The Government recognises the need to address this and I can therefore confirm that the Government is exploring options including legislation and we aim to confirm our next steps early in the New Year.”
An Aviva spokeswoman said: “The aftermath of the terrorist attack in Borough Market saw the market closed for a number of days, and Aviva has worked with a number of its commercial customers who did have relevant cover to help them get back on their feet.
“Insurance cover for terrorist events is an optional insurance bought through brokers who advise businesses on the appropriate cover to purchase. Given the nature of this event it was necessary to have terrorism cover in order to make a successful claim.
“A number of commercial customers with terrorism cover were able to recover their financial losses through their insurance policies and at Aviva we worked quickly to make these payments.”