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

Aggregation considered in Court of Appeal under the Minimum Terms and Conditions for solicitors’ professional indemnity insurance

In Baines & Anor v Dixon Coles & Gill (A Firm) & Ors [2021] EWCA Civ 1211, the Court of Appeal has upheld the first instance decision and found that claims brought by clients against a law firm following the misappropriation of money by a partner of that firm over a series of years could not be aggregated. This is because an extended course of dishonest conduct committed by the same person is insufficient to satisfy the requirement that the acts or omission are "related". Read more

Court of Appeal rules on test for inducement pre-Insurance Act 2015

The Court of Appeal has dismissed the insurer’s appeal in Zurich Insurance Plc v Niramax Group Ltd [2021] EWCA Civ 590. Upholding the first instance decision of Cockerill J (discussed in our earlier blog post here), the Court of Appeal held that the insured’s non-disclosure of material facts had not induced the insurer to renew … Read more