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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; cyber risks. 

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 and intermediaries under FSMA 2000 / ICOBS 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 as a leading silk in this field.  Comments in recent editions include the following:

“Takes on the full spectrum of coverage disputes, handling both litigation and arbitration cases, and is also regularly instructed in disputes between insurers and reinsurers.  He receives strong praise for his advocacy skills and his ability to remain contactable despite his heavy workload….   ‘He provides careful, comprehensive advice in a timely manner, is particularly responsive and works in a collaborative manner.’  ‘He just makes everything easy for you.  You ask him something and you get chapter and verse action points – it’s amazing.’” (Chambers UK 2017 – Insurance)

“He is an excellent senior barrister in relation to all things insurance and coverage.”  “Frequently acts in both litigation and arbitration concerning coverage issues, as well as in disputes between insurers and reinsurers.” (Chambers UK 2016, Insurance)

“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:

  • AXA Corporate Solutions Assurance SA v Weir Services Australia Pty Ltd: Acting for AXA in multi-jurisdictional coverage disputes under global and local Australian liability policies.  Appeared in Commercial Court in London on jurisdictional issues / anti-suit injunction: [2016] Lloyd’s Rep IR 578.  Appeared successfully at trial in Commercial Court in Sydney: [2017] NSWSC 259.
  • PM Law Ltd v Motorplus Ltd [2016] EWHC 193 (QB), [2016] 1 Costs LR 143: Successfully striking out, and obtaining summary dismissal of, a novel claim by a firm of solicitors against an insurance intermediary which arose from an ATE legal expenses insurance scheme. 
  • Coles v Hetherton [2015] 1 WLR 160: 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.
  • Acting for a large company in multiple claims against insurers arising out of a major cyber attack: (a) a coverage arbitration concerning litigation costs in foreign group litigation (2015); and (b) a second, seven-figure claim concerning business interruption losses (2016-17).
  • Advising ATE legal expenses insurers on coverage in relation to trial and appeal of eight-figure commercial claim (2016-17).
  • Advising excess layer professional indemnity insurers on coverage, liability and regulatory issues arising from complaints and claims against SIPP providers (2016-17).
  • Acting for RSA in a public liability insurance coverage dispute arising from failures of moveable floors of swimming pools: Euro Pools v RSA (2016-17).
  • Advising professional indemnity insurers on attachment and aggregation in the context of bulk PPI mis-selling claims (2016).
  • Advising various professional indemnity insurers on coverage of accountants and investment advisers for liabilities and defence costs arising from tax mitigation schemes of various kinds (including film schemes, technology schemes and charity shells) (2016).
  • Acting for the claimant underwriting agency in litigation over its entitlement to continued use of its IT policy and claims platform; injunctive proceedings (2015).
  • Advising and acting for major insurers on their response to the CMA’s investigation into private motor insurance (2014).
  • Advising critical illness insurers on regulatory aspects of proposed novel insurance product (2014).
  • Advising professional indemnity insurers on group claims arising from common surgical procedures (2014).
  • 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; McBride v UK Insurance / Clayton v EUI [2017] EWCA Civ 144.  Also acted for the ABI in proceedings before the OFT and CAT concerning the GTA settlement protocol.
  • Acting for Norwich Union / Aviva in successfully recovering sums paid many years previously to a third party claimant on the basis that his claim was fraudulent, and successfully enforcing by tracing claims: Norwich Union v Joyce [2011] EWCA Civ 1031.
  • 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.