A couple whose guest house and restaurant in the Lake District had to close during the pandemic have secured a six-figure insurance payout for business interruption.

Mark and Anne Vause opted to deal directly with their insurers, spurning ‘no win, no fee’ and group action options which would have left them facing a commitment to paying 25 per cent of their compensation plus disbursements such as court fees and accountancy costs.

They fared far better – obtaining compensation within a matter of a few months – by submitting their claim directly to their insurer RSA, paying only for legal costs based on her time spent.

The couple’s business, 1863 Restaurant with Rooms, is in Pooley Bridge, a village on the shores of Ullswater.

Mark, 54, and Anne, 50, have run the award-winning business, which has seven luxury en-suite bedrooms plus a bar and restaurant, since February 2008.

They employ around 20 staff and the business generates turnover of almost £1m a year.

Mark explained how the pandemic took its toll on the business.

He said: “Until the pandemic struck, we’d been enjoying massive growth, punching way above our weight, and had won a string of awards.

"But Covid really took the wind out of our sails."

His business, much like many others in the industry, suffered huge losses and faced potential closure.

Under their specialist guest house insurance policy, the couple were covered for loss of gross profit in the event of business interruption due to infectious and contagious diseases on the premises.

Mark consulted his solicitor Claire Barnes, from Taylors Solicitors, early on, having seen an advertisement for no win, no fee claims.

He said: "RSA were pretty good to deal with throughout the process, although we did challenge them on a few points, guided by Claire, which secured us a larger settlement, covering both the periods from March to August 2020 and January to April 2021.

“I’m delighted with the outcome.

"Without it, we could not have continued as we were.

"We would probably have lost the restaurant and gone back to being purely a guest house, which would have been an extremely sad and backward step."

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