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Jonathan Hough QC

Insurance & Reinsurance

Jonathan’s insurance/reinsurance practice covers a wide range of fields and 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, coverage disputes between insurer and insured and commercial disputes between insurers, underwriting agencies and reinsurers. He is recommended by Chambers & Partners, Legal 500 and Legal Experts in this field.  According to the current edition of Chambers & Partners, he “receives praise across the board for his insurance and reinsurance knowledge, responsiveness and versatility”; “works incredibly hard”; and is “thorough, pragmatic and great to work with.”

He regularly acts for insurers in substantial subrogated actions to recover their outlay.

In the non-contentious field, he has drafted a large number of policy documents 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 pursuing and responding to FOS complaints, and judicial review of FOS decisions).

He also regularly advises professionals on indemnity insurance issues, including notifications of circumstances and claims and on policy coverage.

Examples of his current and recent work include the following:

  • Dispute over the entitlement of a legal expenses insurer to avoid an after-the-event policy after allegations of dishonesty in the underlying litigation: Persimmon Homes Ltd v Great Lakes Reinsurance (UK) Plc [2010] Lloyd’s Rep IR 101.
  • Appearing successfully for Royal & Sun Alliance in lead case litigation in the Commercial Court and Court of Appeal concerning the model whereby subrogated vehicle damage claims are pursued (Coles v Hetherton [2013] EWCA Civ 1704 (at first instance, [2013] Lloyd’s Rep IR 9, [2011] EWHC 2405 Comm and [2012] EWHC 2848 Comm).
  • Acting in appeal concerning the obligation of insurers to pay very large claims for financial consequences of damage to railway infrastructure: Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd v Conarken Group Ltd [2012] 1 All ER (Comm) 692.
  • Test case on the question whether an insurer pursuing a subrogated claim should give credit for a commission payment: Bee v Jenson [2007] 4 All ER 791.
  • Acting for reinsurers in dispute with insurers over liability for a fire at commercial premises in Korea.
  • Acting in proceedings between a Glencore subsidiary and South African and Mauritian reinsurers over a US$6M claim in relation to a property risk in Zambia: Mopani Copper Mines Plc v Emerald Insurance Co Ltd.  The disputed issues included jurisdiction and the enforceability of a claims cut-through agreement.
  • Acting for a consortium of motor insurers in test litigation concerning ‘credit hire and repair’ schemes, in bloc settlement negotiations over outstanding claims of over £200M and in OFT/CAT proceedings concerning settlement protocols.  See: Burdis v Livsey [2003] QB 36; Lagden v O’Connor [2004] AC 1067; King v Daltray [2003] EWCA 1828.  Advising all major motor insurers and the ABI strategically on credit hire claims.  Also appeared successfully in the appeals of Singh v Yaqubi [2013] Lloyd’s Rep IR 398 and Opoku v Tintas [2013] EWCA Civ 1299 in this area.
  • Acting for RBS Group insurers and Sabre Insurance in appeals by Accident Exchange claimants arising out of disputed Autofocus evidence (Purushothaman v Malik [2011] EWCA Civ 1374).  Also acting for RBS Group insurers in proceedings regarding disclosure of Autofocus business records (Helphire Ltd v Autofocus Ltd).
  • Acting for a leading underwriting agency in separate commercial court and arbitral proceedings against both its former capacity providers on issues arising in the run-off of a binding authority agreement: Temple Legal Protection Ltd v QBE Insurance (Europe) Ltd [2009] 1 Lloyd’s Rep IR 544; Europ Assistance Insurance Ltd v Temple Legal Protection Ltd [2008] 1 Lloyd’s Rep IR 216.
  • Representing the underwriting market in a £6 million coverage dispute under a permanent total disablement insurance relating to injury to an England first team footballer: West Ham United FC v QBE Insurance and ors.
  • Acting for HomeServe plc in £16 million claim against PI insurers seeking indemnity for liabilities and mitigation costs arising from alleged mis-selling and mis-management of home emergency insurance products.
  • 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.
  • Acting for insurers in litigation concerning substantial fire claims in which policies have been avoided for material non-disclosure (e.g. of facts relating to moral hazard).
  • Acting for commercial liability insurers resisting claim by manufacturer of odour control plant to be indemnified in respect of fire (dispute concerning breaches of claims notification provisions): Grundon Waste Management Ltd v Hygrade Industrial Plastics Ltd.
  • Acting for the major trade credit insurer, Atradius, in two Commercial Court actions regarding its entitlement to reject substantial claims arising from insolvency/default.
  • 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.