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

    COP26 and Insurance – A Complex Journey to Net Zero

    Tackling insurance’s contribution to climate change will mean resolving a host of thorny challenges. The United Nations’ climate conference in Glasgow (COP26) has just started and the buzzword net zero is on everyone’s lips, from government leaders to global CEOs and from impassioned youth activists to your local drugstore’s latest advertisement. Several global insurance companies … Read more

    COP26 and insurance – a primer

    As nations convene in Glasgow for COP26, we assess the progress of the insurance sector as the market adapts its approach to one of the biggest risks facing us all – climate change. Insurance has for decades been one of the key means for firms to manage and transfer risk. Recent developments in the sector … 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

    PRA Seeks to Clarify Meaning of “Insurance Holding Company”

    The PRA is proposing to introduce a new definition of “insurance holding company” into its rulebook (CP17/21).  The change means that some companies that are currently regarded as “mixed-activity insurance holding companies” would probably be reclassified as insurance holding companies for the purposes of group supervision. Read more

    Our new legal privilege client tool

    Herbert Smith Freehills has developed a new web-based app to help in-house counsel quickly navigate the complexities in determining which documents are likely to be privileged, or not. Read more

    HM Treasury Consults on Amendments to Insurer Insolvency Regime

    Recent proposals to amend insolvency rules applying to insurers aim to enhance and clarify existing powers for a court-ordered write-down of an insurer’s policy and other contractual liabilities under section 377 FSMA. Other proposed measures include: a moratorium on certain contractual termination rights in service contracts and financial contracts to which insurers are party; a … Read more