Jagjivan Kumar v AGF Insurance Ltd: ComC 10 Nov 1997

The court was concerned with a claim under a solicitors’ professional liability top up insurance policy. By clause 5 the insurer undertook ‘not to avoid repudiate or rescind this insurance upon any ground whatsoever including in particular non-disclosure or misrepresentation’ and a statement that ‘where before the inception or renewal of this insurance a principal has fraudulently failed to disclose and/or fraudulently misrepresented circumstances which might give rise to a claim or claims, the insurer shall be entitled to seek reimbursement from that principal’. There were errors or omissions in the information provided in the insurance proposal form and the insured certified on the form that they were satisfied that the details were correct ‘to the best of our knowledge and belief’.
Held: The judge was prepared to assume that this conduct was fraudulent. He considered the construction exercise against the regulatory background of the Solicitors Indemnity Fund, in particular rules 29 and 30 and the fact that the insurance scheme was intended to provide an indemnity to clients when they had been caused loss by a solicitor. This is clear when one comes to seeing the construction which the learned judge found at pages 1755G- 1756D. He referred then to the insurers’ argument that the warranty on the proposal form was extremely important. He then went on to say that ‘it is not uncommon to find surplusage in a policy of insurance [and that] in no way detracts from the meaning which I have found the parties intended and in which in my judgement is plainly expressed in the language used in the policy as a whole’.


Thomas J


[1999] 1 WLR 1747, [1998] 4 All ER 788, [1999] Lloyd’s Rep IR 147, [1999] PNLR 269

Cited by:

CitedGenesis Housing Association Ltd v Liberty Syndicate Management Ltd CA 4-Oct-2013
The housing association was to develop an estate of social housing, supported by an insurance guarantee. The insurance proposal contained a clause stating that the information in the proposal was to form the basis of the policy, and that the policy . .
CitedGenesis Housing Association Ltd v Liberty Syndicate Management Ltd TCC 8-Nov-2012
Insurers had rejected a claim under the policy, saying that the proposal form had included a basis of insurance declaration warranted by the proposer, and that since it had named a main contractor different to the one named, there was no liability . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 30 April 2022; Ref: scu.220808