Fountain Court Chambers

London & Singapore

Insurance and reinsurance

Insurance and reinsurance form a core specialist area in which Fountain Court is well established as a leader, both in litigation and arbitration. Insurance and reinsurance disputes concerning avoidance or termination of cover, points of construction and a wide range of coverage issues are a staple part of the practice of Fountain Court.

We are instructed in all aspects of work undertaken in the London market including directors’ and officers’ policies, Bermuda Form insurance coverage disputes, product and public liability insurance, professional indemnity, run-off policies, property catastrophe insurance disputes, and other disputes, including claims involving overwhelming natural disaster.

Clients represented include ACE, Scottish Mutual Insurance, Nationwide, Equitas, Merrill Lynch, Travelers, Amlin, Blue Sky, Barclays, Lloyds TSB, to name but a few. Many cases involve multi-party litigation and we regularly represent insureds, insurers, insurance brokers and third party claimants.

In addition to coverage issues, we are often instructed by insurers to defend the interests of the insured in the underlying claim, (as in professional negligence), or in a subrogated, or assigned claim.

Members have experience in advising on business interruption claims; as well as claims arising from 9/11 tragedy, for example the case of Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Company Limited v. Heraldglen Ltd, heard by the High Court in November 2012.

Members have also handled claims arising from the global financial crisis; aligning both the set’s civil fraud and insurance experience, the combination of which informs the other, for leading private and retail banks, as well as investment funds, including Madoff-related matters in an insurance context.

The set has advised on claims involving multiple parties, including brokers, third-parties, or interested parties, such as claims relevant to the terms of the binders entered into between an insurer and brokers and the brokers’ responsibilities under the binder.

2013 saw us engaged, for example, in a complex insurance coverage dispute involving seven potential insurers, (including professional indemnity and other insurance policies), and a case on the proper construction and interpretation of fidelity insurance policies.

The set’s 2013 work in the Court of Appeal in Sulamerica v Enesa Engenharia was of crucial importance to the London insurance/reinsurance market, as it tested the enforceability of an agreement for London arbitration contained in a contract governed by foreign law and containing a foreign jurisdiction clause.  It provided welcome guidance on determining the proper law of the arbitration agreement.

Claims with a technical or regulatory aspect, such as the forthcoming Godiva litigation involves a claim potentially affecting solicitors’ professional indemnity insurance across the Minimum Terms set for the whole profession, and cases involving the construction and interpretation of the exclusions in the standard terms upon which most accountants are insured.

Members have also assisted on claims with a specialist insurance basis in a particular sector. This includes advice in aviation matters, as well as on political risk and war risk insurance issues, the marine and oil refining industries, and the wider energy sector, whilst others have excellent pharmaceutical industry knowledge. They also have national insights; including the insurance context of Sri Lanka as well as Thai insurance issues, with additional South American experience in Venezuela and Columbia.

Members are also expert on professional indemnity issues, including coverage, policy and payment issues in respect of their insurance, for example, those arising from the Innovator One litigation, (in relation to the construction and application of the terms upon which solicitors are insured).

Senior members of Fountain Court are also regularly appointed in arbitrations involving insurance and reinsurance disputes, including under the Lloyd’s arbitration scheme.

Members have written leading text books, ranging from “Private International Law of Reinsurance and Insurance”, to “Directors’ & Officers’ Liability Insurance”, the market-leading publication in the field of D&O insurance.

Quotes from directories

  • "The clerks, led by Alex Taylor, are really helpful and efficient, and they know the courts inside-out."

    Chambers UK 2017
  • Barristers at Fountain Court Chambers are ‘prepared to roll up their sleeves and not stand on ceremony’. 

    Legal 500 2016
  • Fountain Court Chambers is 'an excellent set with real bench strength'.

    Legal 500 2014
  • "The set overall is a class act,"

    Chambers UK 2014
  • "Fountain Court is a powerhouse of insurance and reinsurance work. We regularly instruct a number of barristers from the set, and have done so for many years.The clerks are approachable and always able to help."

    Chambers UK 2014
  • The set offers a large number of highly accomplished barristers who have experience in a vast range of insurance and reinsurance matters. Sources praise the set's bench strength, commerciality, reliability and user-friendly nature. Particular strengths for the set include banking-related matters, professional indemnity cases, and marine and energy insurance disputes. "The set overall is a class act," states one admiring source.

    Chambers UK 2014
  • Fountain Court Chambers is ‘a powerhouse for insurance and reinsurance work’. 

    Legal 500 2013