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Jonathan Hough QC

Insurance & Reinsurance

Jonathan’s practice covers insurance and reinsurance of most classes of risk, including general commercial liability (EL/PL/products); professional indemnity; property; motor; legal expenses; trade credit; D&O; property title; personal accident / disablement; financial risk. 

He regularly advises on, and acts in, substantial coverage disputes and in business disputes between insurers, underwriting agencies and reinsurers. He acts for insurers in substantial subrogated actions to recover their outlay.  Non-contentious work includes drafting policy wordings and other contractual documents, including binding authority agreements.  He is familiar with regulatory obligations of insurers under FSMA 2000 and with advising on the FOS jurisdiction (including challenges).  He also advises professionals on indemnity insurance issues, including notifications and coverage.

He is recommended by Chambers UK and Legal 500 as a leading silk in this field.  Comments in recent editions include the following:

“Has a highly focused insurance practice that one solicitor described as being ‘consistently outstanding.’  Interviewees highlighted the excellence of his advice, and his responsiveness in the face of a heavy caseload.” (Chambers UK 2015)

“Receives praise across the board for his insurance and reinsurance knowledge, responsiveness and versatility.” (Chambers UK 2014)

“Very accessible and responsive.” (Legal 500 2014)

“Very effective advocate.” (Legal 500 2013)

Examples of his current and recent work include the following:

  • Coles v Hetherton [2014] Lloyd’s Rep IR 367, [2013] EWCA Civ 1704: Appeared successfully for Royal & Sun Alliance in lead case litigation in the Commercial Court and Court of Appeal.  The dispute concerned the commercial model by which RSA handled and pursued motor claims.
  • Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd v Conarken Group Ltd [2012] 1 All ER (Comm) 692, [2011] EWCA Civ 644: Acted in the appeals in test cases concerning the obligation of insurers to pay very large claims for the financial consequences of damage to the railway infrastructure.
  • Persimmon Homes Ltd v Great Lakes Reinsurance (UK) Plc [2010] Lloyd’s Rep IR 101, [2010] EWHC 1705 (Comm): Coverage dispute in which a litigant challenged the decision of a legal expenses insurer to avoid an ATE policy based upon allegations and findings of dishonesty in the underlying litigation.
  • Temple Legal Protection Ltd v QBE Insurance (Europe) Ltd [2009] Lloyd’s Rep IR 544, [2009] EWCA Civ 453.  Europ Assistance Insurance Ltd v Temple Legal Protection Ltd [2008] 1 Lloyd’s Rep IR 216, [2007] EWHC 1785 (Comm): Acting for a leading underwriting agency in separate commercial court and arbitral proceedings against both its former capacity providers concerning the run-off of a binding authority agreement.
  • Bee v Jenson [2008] Lloyd’s Rep IR 221, [2007] EWCA Civ 923: Test litigation to determine whether an insurer needed to give credit for a rebate or commission payment when pursuing a subrogated claim.
  • HomeServe Plc v Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Plc (2013-14): Acting for the claimant in a £16M coverage dispute against PI insurers.  Dispute concerned coverage for mitigation costs arising from FSA-mandated remediation exercise.
  • Transtek Services Ltd v Aviva Insurance UK and anor (2012-13): Acting for property insurer in coverage dispute over fire at commercial premises.
  • Grundon Waste Management Ltd v Hygrade Industrial Plastics Ltd (2012): Coverage dispute over notification issues, relating to substantial claim for fire in an odour control plant.
  • West Ham Utd FC v QBE Insurance and ors (2011): Representing the underwriting market in a £6M coverage dispute relating to an injury which disabled an England first team footballer.
  • Mopani Copper Mines Plc v Emerald Insurance Ltd (2008-10): Acting for a Glencore subsidiary in a US$6M dispute with South African and Mauritian insurers relating to a property risk in Zambia.  Issues included jurisdiction and enforceability of a cut-through agreement.
  • Acting for motor insurers in a series of appeals in the Court of Appeal and House of Lords concerning accident management and credit hire / repair schemes.  Reported cases include: Burdis v Livsey [2003] QB 36; Lagden v O’Connor [2004] AC 1067; Thew v Cole [2004] RTR 25; Purushothaman v Malik [2012] RTR 21; Singh v Yaqubi [2013] Lloyd’s Rep IR 398; Opoku v Tintas [2013] EWCA Civ 1299.  Also acted for the ABI in proceedings before the OFT and CAT concerning the GTA settlement protocol.
  • Acting for the major trade credit insurer, Atradius, in two Commercial Court actions of 2010-11 regarding its entitlement to reject substantial claims arising from insolvency/default.
  • Litigation over the entitlement of an insurer to rely upon a ‘reasonable precautions’ exclusion where grossly negligent repair of a helicopter resulted in a crash with multiple fatalities.
  • Advising a major professional indemnity insurer on legal expenses cover and statutory obligations to provide freedom of choice of legal representative.
  • Successful strike-out of claims to be indemnified by legal expenses insurers in respect of professional liability claims: Thakerar v Lloyds TSB Insurance [2012] EWHC 1875 Comm.
  • Acting for wealthy private individual in action against insurers to recover sums for valuable jewellery stolen (dispute concerning limits of indemnity).
  • Acting for aviation premises insurer in dispute over public liability coverage with insured and a second insurer.
  • Disputes over the applicable policy year for claims against successive solicitors’ indemnity policies.
  • Advice on the effect of a security system warranty in property insurance.
  • Advice on whether an insurer could allege late notification in relation to a venture capitalists’ indemnity cover, in the context of a large ‘pump and dump’ claim in the US.
  • Advice on whether contamination with Para Red dye constituted physical damage for the purposes of product liability insurance.
  • Acting for a large insurer in a £3M dispute with a local authority over a claims handling agreement.