In considering any sizeable claim, insurers will be looking closely at the terms of the policy to check that it responds to the claim and that its terms have been fully complied with. A common basis for denying policy response is a breach of a condition precedent to liability or policy warranty. Such terms will be construed very strictly by the court and even minor, non-causative breaches in commercial policies can entitle an insurer to refuse to pay out.
Policy documentation needs to be carefully reviewed because the existence and terms of conditions and warranties are not always obvious. All too often, insureds receive inadequate advice from insurance intermediaries about the existence and importance of strict compliance with conditions precedent which can lead to separate claims against those intermediaries.
We have acted for:
- A food manufacturer whose multimillion pound claim was denied because the cores of its composite panels were alleged to be combustible in breach of a policy warranty
- A waste processing company whose policy was subject to hot works conditions which, despite all reasonable endeavours, were alleged not to have been adhered to
- A restaurant which was destroyed by fire following the ignition of oil in a wok on the range which was left unattended
- A London market which suffered serious damage by fire in relation to which liability was denied due to the presence of a particular type of portable heater in breach of a portable heater warranty
- A jewellery business whose policy required the maintenance of specific and exact stock records.
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