Fountain Court Chambers

London & Singapore

Insurance and reinsurance

Insurance is a core area for Fountain Court. Our expertise ranges from disputes arising out of catastrophic events or supply chain breakdowns, to claims resulting from alleged negligence or product defects. We act for insurers and policyholders and are regularly instructed by brokers and managing general agents. Our work includes both litigation and arbitration.

We regularly act on coverage disputes, including regarding termination and construction of policies, across all lines. We also advise on disputes regarding third party liabilities and in the pursuit of subrogated recoveries. Members also have experience in disputes between insurers including regarding reinsurance and contractual arrangements, including binders.

We work across lines including business interruption, directors’ and officers’ liability, general liability, property damage (including catastrophic claims), professional indemnity, construction and specialty lines including aviation, marine and energy, cyber, political risk, trade credit and fine art. We also have extensive experience of disputes surrounding Bermuda Form wordings.

In recent times, our members’ expertise has been called upon in relation to claims resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, including in the most significant insurance case in recent history, the FCA Test Case on the validity of business interruption claims, both in the High Court and the leapfrog appeal to the Supreme Court.

The cases on which we are instructed are often international in nature and have involved the likes of Africa, North America, Ireland, Australia, Latin America and Russia.

In addition, our members have written many of the leading textbooks in the insurance field.

Our work includes cases relating to:

  • Coverage disputes, including matters involving issues around termination of cover and construction of policies
  • Claims regarding third party liabilities, representing insurers or the insured party
  • The pursuit of subrogated recoveries
  • Reinsurance disputes between providers
  • Contractual disputes including between capacity providers and agents
  • Regulatory disputes
  • Fraud claims

Notable cases

  • FCA v Arch & Others (the ‘FCA Business Interruption Test Case’): Acting in the high-profile proceedings, including at both the High Court and ‘leapfrog’ Supreme Court hearings, concerning whether certain business interruption insurance policies respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was the most significant insurance dispute in recent decades, affecting around 370,000 policyholders. Nine Fountain Court members were involved, acting for various parties including the FCA, the Hiscox Action Group and QBE.
  • Travelers Insurance Company Ltd v XYZ: Acting for the successful insurers in the Supreme Court, in a precedent-setting case which is now the leading authority on section 51 cost orders against insurers, arising from the PIP breast implant litigation.
  • Beety and Others IMUK UK v NMC: Acting for the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) in relation to a dispute regarding the appropriateness of insurance policies issued to midwives, including in relation to Solvency II capital requirements. This was a case of national significance as, if the policy was deemed inappropriate, several hundred midwives would be unsuitable for registration with the NMC.
  • David Cuckow v AXA: Acting for AXA in the first trial to be heard in relation to c.1800 county court claims in which third party claimants sought indemnity from the insurer under the public liability section of a policy issued to its insolvency insured company arising out of its alleged negligence installation of cavity wall insulation.
  • Halliburton Company v Chubb Bermuda Insurance Limited: Acting for Chubb in the high-profile Supreme Court case on apparent bias and obligations of disclosure and confidentiality in international arbitration.
  • AIG Europe Limited v OC320301 LLP: Acting for successful insurers in the Supreme Court, in the leading case on aggregation of claims in solicitors’ professional indemnity insurance.
  • Reinsurance dispute regarding ‘cut through’ clauses: Acting for an insured bringing a direct claim through a ‘cut through clause’ against a reinsurer in circumstances arising out of a plane crash in Pakistan. The claim is potentially precedent setting in a largely untested area.
  • Madoff fraud: Acting for BNP Paribas in relation to coverage issues arising from the Madoff fraud and the US proceedings brought by the Liquidator of the Madoff corporate vehicles and Madoff’s Trustee in Bankruptcy.

Legal directory rankings

  • Ranked by Chambers & Partners in Insurance
  • Ranked by The Legal 500 in Insurance and Reinsurance

Quotes from directories

  • "Bermuda Form insurance coverage disputes, product and public liability insurance, professional indemnity, run-off policies, property catastrophe insurance disputes and political risks cover are also key areas of expertise."

    Legal 500
  • "Members are regularly instructed in high-value disputes including insurance coverage and liability work."

    Legal 500
  • "The set is 'superb at all levels, from the leading QCs through to the junior ranks and including the clerks'; and it is 'rightly regarded as one of the leading sets for commercial disputes (including insurance disputes)'."

    Legal 500
  • "The set's leading position in commercial dispute resolution attracts a multitude of insurance instructions centred in the banking and financial services fields, while members also demonstrate expertise handling claims arising out of the construction, property and product liability areas."

    Chambers & Partners
  • "Held in high regard for its representation of all parties in an array of insurance and reinsurance disputes. One solicitor reports: 'If we have a particularly difficult or high-value matter, we go to Fountain Court"."

    Chambers & Partners
  • "The set offers further capabilities advising on technical coverage and jurisdictional issues concerning a wide range of policies."

    Chambers & Partners
  • "Fountain Court Chambers fields considerable commercial dispute expertise and its members are frequently sought out to handle a raft of insurance mandates for clients across the banking and financial services and construction industries."

    Chambers & Partners
  • "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