Pandemic-hit Sheffield business lands £25,000 payout thanks to The Star

A pandemic-hit Sheffield business is set to receive £25,000 from insurers after pressure from The Star.

Thursday, 20th May 2021, 8:34 am

Kevin Johnstone said he was ecstatic when the firm settled his claim for ‘business interruption’ after a call from the paper.

The boss of Johnstone Leisure in Ecclesfield said he had tried to go it alone and ‘got nowhere’.

But when The Star contacted loss adjusters MPL Claims Management, representing insurer Ergo, confirmation of payment swiftly followed.

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Jeff Knibb, of My Litigation Friend, helped Johnstone Leisure.

Mr Johstone was forced to close his function suite on Yew Lane, in March last year with the loss of 10 jobs.

Now he aims to use the money to open a restaurant called The Regency Club.

He said: “I’m ecstatic, now I can get the business back open. Without The Star it wouldn’t have happened, I’d been trying to do it myself and got nowhere.”

Mr Johstone lodged a claim in February 11. But he, and sister Melanie, were left in despair by ‘delays and odd questions’ from insurers.

Kevin Johnstone of Johnstone Leisure in Ecclesfield.

Last month he contacted claims expert Jeff Knibb, of My Litigation Friend, after reading about him in The Star.

Mr Knibb said he was grateful to the paper for bringing them together and writing about the case.

He added: “We have settled this claim in the sum of £25,000, which the insurers say will be in Mr Johnstone’s bank account before the end of the week. This will assist him to buy the stock required for his re-opening.

“The insurers had insisted Mr Johnstone provide bank statements to support his claim, despite my insistence that these were not necessary as all the information and profit and loss accounts had been prepared by the client’s accountants.

The Ecclesfield function suite shut down due to the pandemic.

“Arguments continued until eventually the insurers ran out excuses, gave up and authorised payment.”

Ian Blackford, managing director of MPL Claims Management, declined to comment.

It is believed up to a third of firms are covered for business interruption due to the pandemic. But up to 90 per cent who go it alone give up.

Despite losing an appeal in the Supreme Court in January, insurers are still dragging their feet over payouts, it is claimed.

Contact My Litigation Friend on 07733 093886 or email: [email protected]

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Please take out a digital subscription or buy a paper.

Thank you. Nancy Fielder, editor.