Tourism companies in the Lake District have accused insurance companies of using “loophole” policy language to deny payment for losses from the coronavirus.
Cumbria Tourism found that 72% of its members who responded to a survey said they had been turned down for payment.
Many paid a business interruption bonus, but were still refused because it did not specify Covid-19.
The Association of British Insurers said each claim had been examined on the merits according to the wording of the policy.
Daniel Holder, director of the Quiet Site near Illswater, was among those who thought they would be covered in the event of illness.
He said, “I pay a premium of £ 5,000 a year to cover operating losses and imagined it was just a claim and payment, but it is not.
“Our insurance company told us that our claim would be denied if we did. “
Cumbria Tourism said insurance companies were counting on a “loophole” which meant that if Covid-19 was not specified in a policy, they would not pay for business interruption.
Its president, Jim Walker, called it a “major problem.”
He said: “It is very complicated, but our summary is that the insurance sector is not working properly for the tourism operators at the moment.
“We are moving forward after a difficult winter with no summer trade per se, so we will consider a loss of £ 2 billion out of the $ 3 billion in revenue for the year.
“If our businesses do not get a significant income as the fall approaches, it will be very, very difficult to survive the winter. “
The Association of British Insurers said that each claim had been examined on the merits by the insurer in accordance with all the terms of the policy and that it could not comment on a specific insurance contract.
He added: “Unfortunately, no country in the world has an insurance market capable of covering widespread pandemic coverage and we need a debate on how best to do this in the future. “