Ben and Selena booked their wedding and took out a policy with an insurer to cover cancellation costs. When their chosen venue had to close, they made a claim for the extra cost of booking another venue.
Several months before their wedding, Ben and Selena were told by the owner of the venue that the local authority had withdrawn their wedding licence, so they had to cancel all weddings they had booked.
An alternative venue was found but it was more expensive. So, Ben and Selena paid the additional amount and made a claim for the additional costs. But the insurer declined their claim as it said the venue hadn’t been closed down. The insurer said the venue could’ve appealed the local authority’s decision in court.
What we said
The policy covered costs incurred where the chosen wedding venue was unable to hold the wedding due to certain circumstances, including “closure of the venue by the relevant authority”. And it covers additional costs of arranging a new venue.
We established that the venue didn’t appeal the local authority’s decision because it could only succeed if they agreed to certain conditions laid down by the local authority, which would have been difficult to implement and very expensive. So effectively it had no choice but to close.
Ben and Selena had done everything they could to find a venue of a similar cost. The policy required the new venue to be of a similar standard to the original one, and we were satisfied it was.
We found out the reason it was more expensive was because a) it was very close to the date of the wedding, and b) the original venue allowed Ben and Selena to supply their own drinks which they could buy themselves at a lower cost. They couldn’t find another venue that would allow this (at other venues, drinks had to be bought as part of the package, making it more expensive overall). This was out of Ben and Selena’s control.
We upheld the complaint and asked the insurer to pay the additional costs for the new venue plus 8% simple interest, from the date Ben and Selena paid the additional costs to the date of settlement.
We also awarded compensation for the distress and inconvenience caused to them by having their claim unfairly declined, causing additional distress at an already stressful time.
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