LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority said on Tuesday it has filed for an expedited appeal in its business interruption test case as a precaution against insurers not agreeing by Wednesday to pay out on claims made during the pandemic.

Hundreds of thousands of mainly small British businesses are waiting to hear if their insurer will pay out imminently, or keep them waiting while they appeal.

London’s High Court ruled that some of the world’s biggest insurers were wrong to reject thousands of claims from small firms battered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The FCA said it continues to “work closely and at speed” with the eight insurers and two intervenors that participated in the test case to reach an agreement in principle on a range of issues to avoid a “leapfrog” appeal to the Supreme Court.

An agreement is needed by close of business on Wednesday, and seven insurer parties have made similar precautionary appeals, the FCA said.

RSA, one of the insurers involved, said it has sought leave to appeal and that a court hearing in relation to the appeal applications will take place on 2 October.

Hiscox, another insurer involved in the case, said it has also taken the necessary steps to apply for an expedited appeal, adding that it “has not yet made a decision on whether it will seek to appeal”.

Discussions are ongoing with the FCA and other parties to try to resolve any outstanding issues before the October 2 hearing in line with the original court ruling, Hiscox said.

Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Dhara Ranasinghe and Sinead Cruise

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