Prevention of Access clauses revisited

In Corbin & King v AXA Insurance Plc [2022] EWHC 409 (Comm), the High Court considered the scope of cover provided by a Prevention of Access clause for Covid-19 business interruption losses. While the Divisional Court in the Covid-19 business interruption test case (the FCA Test Case) had generally found that Prevention of Access clauses did not provide cover in these circumstances, the Court in this case was able to distinguish the clauses considered previously so that the wording in this case could be looked at afresh. The Court found that Covid-19 was a "danger" and that the Prevention of Access clause in the case provided localised cover but one which was capable of extending to disease. Adopting the Supreme Court's approach to causation in the FCA Test Case, the Prevention of Access clause did provide cover for the business interruption losses suffered as a result of the pandemic. Read more

Insurance & Reinsurance Disputes Annual Review 2021

We are pleased to share with you our Insurance and Reinsurance Disputes Annual Review of 2021 which provides an overview and analysis of the key cases and developments affecting those engaged in or with contentious matters in the insurance and reinsurance market. Read more

Spire and RSA contest aggregation again

In Spire Healthcare Limited v Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Limited [2022] EWCA Civ 17, the Court of Appeal overturned the High Court's decision and held that two groups of claims based on the negligent practice of the same surgeon should be aggregated. Irrespective of which group the claims fell into, the unifying factor between them was the surgeon's dishonest improper conduct. Read more

Court of Appeal holds insurers to the “clear terms” of the policy

The Court of Appeal has handed down its decision in ABN Amro Bank N.V. v Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc and others [2021] EWCA Civ 1789.  At first instance, the court had found that an “unusual” and “unprecedented” clause provided credit risk cover in an all risks marine cargo policy. Most of the decision … Read more

Non-disclosure of criminal charges – first Insurance Act 2015 avoidance

The High Court has considered again the issue of non-disclosure of criminal charges against an innocent insured and found that an insurer could avoid a policy under the Insurance Act 2015 (the 2015 Act): Berkshire Assets (West London) Ltd v AXA Insurance UK Plc [2021] EWHC 2689 (Comm). This is understood to be one of the first avoidance judgments for breach of the duty of fair presentation under the 2015 Act. The insurer in this case was assisted by an internal practice note which showed it did not have authority to write the risk had it been told about the non-disclosure at the time of placement. Read more

What’s on the menu? Insurers must ask the right questions at placement

In Ristorante Limited T/A Bar Massimo v Zurich Insurance Plc [2021] EWHC 2538 (Ch), the Court considered the interpretation and legal effect of a question asked by an insurer to a prospective insured around prior insolvency issues. The insured agreed with the insurer’s question, as framed, that there were no prior insolvency issues. Insurers failed … Read more

Jurisdiction clause in insurance policy confers exclusive jurisdiction despite no express words to that effect

The High Court has interpreted a jurisdiction clause in an excess liability insurance policy as granting exclusive jurisdiction to the English courts, despite the clause not containing express words to that effect: AIG Europe SA (formerly AIG Europe Ltd) v John Wood Group Plc [2021] EWHC 2567 (Comm). While normal principles of contractual interpretation will apply, the … Read more

Court finds summary judgment not suitable for determining issue of inducement

The Commercial Court in Kjaergaard v MS Amlin Insurance SE [2021] EWHC 2096 (Comm) found that the insured was not entitled to summary judgment on its claim for an indemnity from the defendant insurer in respect of damage to a yacht, where the insurer had a real prospect of showing that it had been induced to enter into the insurance policy by alleged misrepresentation or non-disclosure by the insured of his claims history. Read more