Insurance and Reinsurance Newsletter: Claims Settlement: English Commercial Court Considers Lead Underwriter's Duties To Following Market

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In San Evans Maritime Inc and others v Aigaion Insurance Co SA1, the English Commercial Court considered whether the following underwriter was obliged to follow the settlement of the lead underwriter on one policy, in circumstances where the second policy contained a follow settlements clause.

BACKGROUND -

This decision concerned the Court's determination of three preliminary issues arising in a claim brought against the Greek insurance company Aigaion Insurance Co SA ("Aigaion") by the owner, manager and mortgagee of the vessel St. Efrem, which grounded in Brazil in July 2010 and suffered a generator breakdown (together, "the Assured").

Three Lloyd's syndicates, Catlin, Ark and Brit, insured 50% of the interest in the vessel under one policy ("the Lloyd's Policy"). Catlin was the slip leader. Aigaion insured 30% of the interest in the vessel under a separate policy ("the Aigaion Policy"). The remaining 20% interest was uninsured. The terms of the two policies differed. The Aigaion Policy contained a "Follow Clause" which provided, "Agreed to follow London's Catlin and Brit Syndicate in claims excluding ex-gratia payments".

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