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Where’s my Indemnity?

In commercial life the next worse thing to finding you have no insurance is to find that your insurer is trying to welsh on the insurance contract.

You find you have doubled your troubles; you are the Defendant in proceedings and you are compelled to be the Plaintiff in proceedings against your erstwhile insurer. (“Erstwhileâ€? is wrong; “currentâ€? is usually more accurate).

This was the situation in Cara Environmental Technology v McGovern [2005] IEHC

In the events that happened the High Court, on hearing a preliminary point of law (not always an appropriate recourse), had no difficulty holding that the Defendant (a solicitor acting as nominee for, from experience, Lloyds of London) had breached the insurance contract and triggered the Plaintiff’s entitlement to issue proceedings against the insurer for that breach. This meant that the Plaintiff could bring those proceedings without awaiting the outcome of the proceedings in which it was the Defendant. This of course, was very important; a successful Plaintiff in those proceedings might put the insured into insolvency if the need arose.