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Commercial Court rules on insurance agent liability


In Templeton Insurance Ltd v Motorcare Warranties Ltd & Ors [2010] EWHC 3113 (Comm) (3 December 2010) the Commercial Court has ruled on the extent to which an action for underpaid premium under arrangements for the sale of motor warranty insurance could be extended to individuals connected with the defendant company.

The Claimant, Templeton, agreed with the Defendant, Motorcare, that it would act as Templeton's agent in selling motor breakdown insurance in the United Kingdom between 2004 and 2008. The relationship failed to achieve the profitability that Templeton had expected, and in 2008 it refused to renew the arrangement and alleged that Motorcare had failed to remit premiums to it in accordance with the contract and had misrepresented the profitability of the relationship. Templeton further alleged that various individuals associated with Motorcare were party both to a conspiracy to underpay premium to Templeton and to the misrepresentation, and were also liable in knowing receipt and knowing assistance.

Simon J held that the claim for underpaid premium against Motorcare should succeed. Furthermore, while he rejected Templeton's "unrealistic" calculation of its loss, its claim in misrepresentation succeeded against Motorcare and two of the individual defendants in control of Motorcare. However the claim against the other defendants failed. The other individual defendants had little to do with the running of Motorcare and nothing to do with the breaches that were the subject of Templeton's claim. Furthermore, it could not be said that Motorcare held monies collected from the sale of insurance as the agent of Templeton, and therefore Templeton's claim in knowing receipt and knowing assistance against the individual defendants must also fail.

The judgment is here.

Peter Irvin and Oliver Jones appeared on behalf of the Defendants.