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

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

InsurTech – Ready to Deliver on its Hype?

With three UK based InsurTech companies earning “unicorn” status in 2021, the UK InsurTech market has the potential to be one of the most dynamic in the world. However, investment and impactful innovations in the insurance sector have so far been primarily focussed on small business and personal lines, as well as improving the efficiency … Read more

FCA final rules on general insurance pricing practices – “At a glance” guide

The FCA has implemented a package of remedies to address problems identified in its market study looking at pricing practices in home and motor insurance markets.  “Price walking”, a practice which means that existing customers can pay considerably more at renewal of their policies than new customers for the equivalent cover, will be prohibited. Read more

Article published – Insurance and insolvency

The pandemic has plunged many previously healthy businesses into or close to insolvency, with serious implications for both the company itself and its commercial counterparties. Fiona Treanor, Antonia Pegden and Alexander Oddy have written an article for In-House Lawyer magazine which outlines some of the key insurance issues which should be considered by in-house lawyers … 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