A PIZZA firm owner is facing a battle with his insurance firm over payouts for closing while the pandemic continues.

Chris McColl, owner of NY Slice in Glasgow, bought specific insurance to cover diseases and outbreaks, but has still been turned down by his insurer.

It is the second time McColl, 36, has been refused a claim for business interruption, and he says he is "disgusted" by the way insurers are behaving.

The Kirkintilloch man is currently contesting a £42,000 claim with another insurance firm after he was forced to close his shop on Sauchiehall Street when the Glasgow School of Art went on fire and his premises was contained within the cordoned-off zone by police.

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He switched to a new firm, Argo Global, after his bad experience and took out a policy which he thought would cover him in any situation.

He explained: "We were closed for 51 weeks when the art school fire happened, mainly due to our equipment being destroyed. We were told to leave and get out, so we had food in the ovens and fridges for five months – we couldn't of course use any of it. I'm still contesting this, two years later. The original insurer told us we would have to sue the council to get the money – they couldn't do anything.

"Because of my experience, I specifically got a policy which covered every eventuality, including infectious diseases. I requested an add on to the package to cover this.

"When I contacted them, they told me since COVID-19 is not SARS, and only SARS is covered in my policy, they would not be paying out. It leaves me with two options – either accept it, or wait for a larger company who can afford to, to challenge them in court.

"It's like getting an insurance policy for a Ford, and crashing your ford Fiesta and the insurer says 'Oh, we only meant a Ford Mondeo'."

McColl said he feels helpless against the insurance firm, describing it as a "David and Goliath" scenario.

He explained: "These companies are never going to change their decision for Chris McColl, the pizza shop owner in Glasgow. But they are essentially shutting up shop, saying 'If you don't' agree with us, sue us'.

"They know its a David and Goliath position. We are completely up against a brick wall.

"I spoke to the Ombudsman, who said there is now such a backlog now with so many people off and working from home that it will take minimum of six months to process complaints.

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"I understand there are different approaches taken across the world. Some US states are forcing insurance companies to pay out if firms have infectious diseases cover, for example.

"We don't expect Boris Johnson or Dominic Raab to stand up and say all insurers must pay out – frankly most people did not take that cover.

"Our problem is that we did take it, and others have taken it, and they are using these dirty tactics not to pay out."

When contacted, Argo Global said it could not discuss individual cases "due to data protection" but added: "Argo takes its responsibility to treat customers fairly very seriously and will review any concerns raised in accordance with our company policy."