The High Court recently awarded a non-party costs order against a law firm's professional indemnity insurer under Section 51 of the Senior Courts Act in circumstances where the insurer had effectively relinquished control of the litigation's defence. This decision clarifies that the court's discretion under Section 51 is broad and that an insurer need not exert any active control over an insured's conduct of the proceedings in order to be the subject of an adverse costs order.
In a recent case, the Commercial Court found in favour of the defendant insurer in regard to the disputed construction of an insolvency exclusion in a professional indemnity insurance policy. The case is a useful restatement of the law on the interpretation of exclusion clauses in insurance contracts. It also serves as a reminder that policyholders should not assume, simply because an exclusion is widely drafted, that it will not be upheld by the courts in the event of a dispute.
A court recently held a broker liable for failing to advise its insured client that certain safety precautions were required by insurers as a condition precedent to cover under a property policy. The case serves as a reminder to brokers of the importance of advising clients on the terms of the policies that they place, particularly onerous terms such as conditions precedent.