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Real estate insurance disputes

Ensuring that our clients’ vital commercial relationships are maintained

In today’s business environment, property owners and developers are heavily reliant on professional advice to facilitate their projects. Architects, engineers, surveyors, and other construction and legal professionals are expected to deliver their services with a high level of expertise and care. When the quality of service is called into question, it becomes paramount for both the professional under scrutiny and their insurance companies to have a robust legal strategy in place.

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About

Experienced lawyers acting for professional negligence and professional liability disputes

The specialist insurance disputes team at Collyer Bristow has a first-rate reputation for excellence in the conduct of professional negligence and professional liability disputes. We regularly act in claims for and against construction professionals concerning the full range of residential and commercial development projects. We can help with:

  • Professional liability and regulatory issues
  • Scope of cover disputes
  • Third-party claims for uninsured losses
  • Claims denied on breach of warranty or conditions
  • Claims involving multiple parties or complex coverage issues

Our past work includes process plant construction, offshore dredging, water and sewerage treatment plants, HVAC systems, utilities, roads and infrastructure, and an array of engineering projects. Our in-depth knowledge of these sectors means we achieve great outcomes for insurers and their policyholders. We work hard to secure a swift resolution and ensure that our clients’ vital commercial relationships are maintained.

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Commercial Coverage Disputes

When a policyholder makes a claim, an insurer may uncover information which they think suggests that the insured has misrepresented or failed to disclose material facts when taking out the insurance. If so, then the insurer can void the policy or seek to settle the claim proportionately.

“Good” disclosure can be particularly challenging in real estate. Property transactions involve a range of expectations from various stakeholders, and each may have different assumptions that influence their perception of what constitutes material information and/or a potential insurance risk.

We support insurers and policyholders on a wide range of commercial policy coverage issues. Our specialist team deals with issues relating to:

  • Policy interpretation
  • Exclusions and limitations
  • Material non-disclosure and misrepresentation
  • Breaches of warranty
  • Fraudulent claims

We can support you from initial liability enquiries all the way through to contested cases in the Supreme Court. However, our priority is identifying the key points early on in a dispute, leading to faster results and better loss ratios.

Indemnity Claims Against Insolvent Insureds

For the most part, insurers are no longer entitled to rely on policy conditions which render an insurance policy ineffective due to the insured’s insolvency. Once a policyholder becomes insolvent, a potential claimant is entitled to effectively “step into the shoes of the insured” to seek indemnity from the insurer, without even joining the insolvent insured as a party.

These claims can be surprisingly complex. Insurers can rely on the same defences that they would have had against the policyholder, such as non-disclosure of material fact or breach of warranty. However, it can be challenging to obtain evidence against an insolvent insured and the law is riddled with time traps. Expert legal support is essential to properly defend the claim and allow a settlement on more favourable terms.

Working side by side with our insolvency team, we can support the insurers of insolvent defendants with claims made under the Third Parties (Rights against Insurers) Act 2010 and/or Third Parties (Rights against Insurers) Act 1930. Our teams know both insurance law and how insolvency operates, and can thus give clear direction to insurers on how to navigate this complex area.

Insurance Advisory

When claims are brought by and against insured parties, it is the insurance company that runs the  defence and, ultimately, pays any award or settlement. The conditions and coverage under the policy are therefore crucial. Even a small error in the policy wording can result in unexpected losses for insurers, client dissatisfaction and regulatory scrutiny.

Experienced in acting for London market insurers, Lloyd’s syndicates, niche insurers and intermediaries, our experienced team advises on policy wordings in all categories of real estate insurance. Our service is fully flexible. We can provide everything from a simple policy health check to helping insurers create a bespoke new product suite. Our specialism in this area means we are familiar with the market best practices, and can review policies in line with regulatory requirements and your commercial goals.

Our expertise extends to market documents that communicate the terms, conditions and benefits of insurance products to potential customers. Whether it’s terms of business agreements, third party administrator agreements, binders or other contracts, we help you draft wordings that actively improve understanding of the product while protecting your commercial interests.

Delegated Authority Disputes

Delegated authority agreements, such as binding authority arrangements, consortium agreements and line slips, remain popular with insurers as a way to diversify and reach new markets. However, they are not without risk. If the agent exceeds the authority they have been given, the insurer may face claims they did not underwrite in the way intended.

Our team has extensive experience in managing disputes relating to delegated authority. Acting for parties across the insurance value chain, we can provide expert guidance on issues such as:

  • Insurance underwriting disputes
  • Claims handling schemes
  • Scope of authority and responsibility disputes
  • Regulatory scrutiny and compliance
  • Breach of contract claims
  • Sub-delegation and sub-agent issues

Our proactive approach allows us to quickly identify the key issues and provide practical solutions, mitigating potential losses for insurers while maintaining strong relationships with their agents. We can also review existing delegated authority agreements to ensure they are fit for purpose, minimising the risk of disputes arising in the future.

Material Damage Claims

Material damage caused by fire, flood, storm, subsidence and similar perils not only can be extremely costly to restore, but also has the potential to disrupt construction projects, business continuity and income streams. Claims are often high touch and complex. The process may involve site inspections, bespoke valuations, extensive quantum negotiations, mitigation effort analysis and—of course—a robust examination of the policy conditions to determine the scope of coverage.

Our real estate insurance disputes solicitors have an extensive track record in dealing with high-value material damage disputes, including:

  • Fire, flood, storm, impact, ground movement
  • The negligent handling of products
  • Environmental pollution
  • Contractor default
  • Damage due to workmanship or design failures

We support clients on all aspects of claims resolution, including negotiated settlement, mediation, arbitration and court proceedings. Our advice is always pragmatic, with an eye on the commercial realities of large-loss claims.

Financial Ombudsman Jurisdiction Disputes

While the Financial Ombudsman has broad jurisdiction to investigate insurance-related complaints, it is not without limits. We provide clear, pragmatic advice to complainants and insurers on how the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction operates, helping them decide whether or not to settle, accept or challenge a claim brought before the Ombudsman Scheme.

Insurers also need to be aware of the scope of the Financial Conduct Authority Rules. As a qualifying body, the FCA has the power and duty to both authorise insurance providers and regulated insurance products, and challenge unfair conditions within them. The rules are knotty and disputes over jurisdiction can become very detailed, very quickly.

Working closely with our financial services team, we provide specialist advice on all aspects of the Financial Ombudsman Service and the FCA Rules, so far as they relate to real estate insurance schemes. Often, jurisdictional disputes are matters of fact, contract and law, especially when complex agency relationships are involved. We can guide you through the considerations and help secure a positive outcome, whatever the nature of the dispute.

High Net Worth Insurance Disputes

High net and ultra-net worth individuals often have complex insurance arrangements in place to protect real estate investments, developments and multi-jurisdictional property portfolios. Our lawyers regularly work with high net worth policyholder clients, delivering tailored advice on a range of insurance issues including disputes over coverage, reinstatement / indemnity disputes, valuations and underinsurance.

In our experience, insurers sometimes initially decline cover but, on a more careful evaluation of the claim, may revisit their original decision. We can help unlock these seemingly intractable disputes using our wealth of experience and understanding of the legal issues at play.

Whenever insurance is in doubt, the broker who gave advice on what type of policy to take out may  be liable in professional negligence. Our full-service team can take whatever action is appropriate to help you recover what is due, ensuring swift resolution of the matters affecting your real estate assets.

Real estate insurance disputes Publications

  • Europe modern complex of residential buildings

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    Our services in Real Estate, helping clients in the financing, growing, managing and disposing of property.

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    CB Restore

    An overview of the range of cost effective options offered by Collyer Bristow for private rental sector landlords seeking remedy to tenant breaches of contract or, ultimately, to re-take possession.

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  • ‘‘Exceptional personal service and out of hours contact when needed"

    Legal 500, 2022

Real estate insurance disputes insights

View all insights

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    Real estate insurance disputes key contacts

    Real estate insurance disputes

    Real estate insurance disputes

    Real estate insurance disputes

    Ensuring that our clients’ vital commercial relationships are maintained

    In today’s business environment, property owners and developers are heavily reliant on professional advice to facilitate their projects. Architects, engineers, surveyors, and other construction and legal professionals are expected to deliver their services with a high level of expertise and care. When the quality of service is called into question, it becomes paramount for both the professional under scrutiny and their insurance companies to have a robust legal strategy in place.

    • The Team

      Our lawyers have the expertise and experience to provide you with creative, personalised solutions in a clear and understandable way.

      ArrowMeet the team

    • Our Publications

      Discover a wealth of invaluable guidance in the form of guides and brochures written by our expert lawyers.

      ArrowSee our downloads

    • Our insights

      Discover the latest insights and thought leadership from our team of legal experts.

      ArrowFind out more

    EXPERIENCED LAWYERS ACTING FOR PROFESSIONAL NEGLIGENCE AND PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY DISPUTES

    The specialist insurance disputes team at Collyer Bristow has a first-rate reputation for excellence in the conduct of professional negligence and professional liability disputes. We regularly act in claims for and against construction professionals concerning the full range of residential and commercial development projects. We can help with:

    • Professional liability and regulatory issues
    • Scope of cover disputes
    • Third-party claims for uninsured losses
    • Claims denied on breach of warranty or conditions
    • Claims involving multiple parties or complex coverage issues

    Our past work includes process plant construction, offshore dredging, water and sewerage treatment plants, HVAC systems, utilities, roads and infrastructure, and an array of engineering projects. Our in-depth knowledge of these sectors means we achieve great outcomes for insurers and their policyholders. We work hard to secure a swift resolution and ensure that our clients’ vital commercial relationships are maintained.

    Jump to the top of the Real estate insurance disputes page.

    Commercial Coverage Disputes

    When a policyholder makes a claim, an insurer may uncover information which they think suggests that the insured has misrepresented or failed to disclose material facts when taking out the insurance. If so, then the insurer can void the policy or seek to settle the claim proportionately.

    “Good” disclosure can be particularly challenging in real estate. Property transactions involve a range of expectations from various stakeholders, and each may have different assumptions that influence their perception of what constitutes material information and/or a potential insurance risk.

    We support insurers and policyholders on a wide range of commercial policy coverage issues. Our specialist team deals with issues relating to:

    • Policy interpretation
    • Exclusions and limitations
    • Material non-disclosure and misrepresentation
    • Breaches of warranty
    • Fraudulent claims

    We can support you from initial liability enquiries all the way through to contested cases in the Supreme Court. However, our priority is identifying the key points early on in a dispute, leading to faster results and better loss ratios.

    Indemnity Claims Against Insolvent Insureds

    For the most part, insurers are no longer entitled to rely on policy conditions which render an insurance policy ineffective due to the insured’s insolvency. Once a policyholder becomes insolvent, a potential claimant is entitled to effectively “step into the shoes of the insured” to seek indemnity from the insurer, without even joining the insolvent insured as a party.

    These claims can be surprisingly complex. Insurers can rely on the same defences that they would have had against the policyholder, such as non-disclosure of material fact or breach of warranty. However, it can be challenging to obtain evidence against an insolvent insured and the law is riddled with time traps. Expert legal support is essential to properly defend the claim and allow a settlement on more favourable terms.

    Working side by side with our insolvency team, we can support the insurers of insolvent defendants with claims made under the Third Parties (Rights against Insurers) Act 2010 and/or Third Parties (Rights against Insurers) Act 1930. Our teams know both insurance law and how insolvency operates, and can thus give clear direction to insurers on how to navigate this complex area.

    Insurance Advisory

    When claims are brought by and against insured parties, it is the insurance company that runs the  defence and, ultimately, pays any award or settlement. The conditions and coverage under the policy are therefore crucial. Even a small error in the policy wording can result in unexpected losses for insurers, client dissatisfaction and regulatory scrutiny.

    Experienced in acting for London market insurers, Lloyd’s syndicates, niche insurers and intermediaries, our experienced team advises on policy wordings in all categories of real estate insurance. Our service is fully flexible. We can provide everything from a simple policy health check to helping insurers create a bespoke new product suite. Our specialism in this area means we are familiar with the market best practices, and can review policies in line with regulatory requirements and your commercial goals.

    Our expertise extends to market documents that communicate the terms, conditions and benefits of insurance products to potential customers. Whether it’s terms of business agreements, third party administrator agreements, binders or other contracts, we help you draft wordings that actively improve understanding of the product while protecting your commercial interests.

    Delegated Authority Disputes

    Delegated authority agreements, such as binding authority arrangements, consortium agreements and line slips, remain popular with insurers as a way to diversify and reach new markets. However, they are not without risk. If the agent exceeds the authority they have been given, the insurer may face claims they did not underwrite in the way intended.

    Our team has extensive experience in managing disputes relating to delegated authority. Acting for parties across the insurance value chain, we can provide expert guidance on issues such as:

    • Insurance underwriting disputes
    • Claims handling schemes
    • Scope of authority and responsibility disputes
    • Regulatory scrutiny and compliance
    • Breach of contract claims
    • Sub-delegation and sub-agent issues

    Our proactive approach allows us to quickly identify the key issues and provide practical solutions, mitigating potential losses for insurers while maintaining strong relationships with their agents. We can also review existing delegated authority agreements to ensure they are fit for purpose, minimising the risk of disputes arising in the future.

    Material Damage Claims

    Material damage caused by fire, flood, storm, subsidence and similar perils not only can be extremely costly to restore, but also has the potential to disrupt construction projects, business continuity and income streams. Claims are often high touch and complex. The process may involve site inspections, bespoke valuations, extensive quantum negotiations, mitigation effort analysis and—of course—a robust examination of the policy conditions to determine the scope of coverage.

    Our real estate insurance disputes solicitors have an extensive track record in dealing with high-value material damage disputes, including:

    • Fire, flood, storm, impact, ground movement
    • The negligent handling of products
    • Environmental pollution
    • Contractor default
    • Damage due to workmanship or design failures

    We support clients on all aspects of claims resolution, including negotiated settlement, mediation, arbitration and court proceedings. Our advice is always pragmatic, with an eye on the commercial realities of large-loss claims.

    Financial Ombudsman Jurisdiction Disputes

    While the Financial Ombudsman has broad jurisdiction to investigate insurance-related complaints, it is not without limits. We provide clear, pragmatic advice to complainants and insurers on how the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction operates, helping them decide whether or not to settle, accept or challenge a claim brought before the Ombudsman Scheme.

    Insurers also need to be aware of the scope of the Financial Conduct Authority Rules. As a qualifying body, the FCA has the power and duty to both authorise insurance providers and regulated insurance products, and challenge unfair conditions within them. The rules are knotty and disputes over jurisdiction can become very detailed, very quickly.

    Working closely with our financial services team, we provide specialist advice on all aspects of the Financial Ombudsman Service and the FCA Rules, so far as they relate to real estate insurance schemes. Often, jurisdictional disputes are matters of fact, contract and law, especially when complex agency relationships are involved. We can guide you through the considerations and help secure a positive outcome, whatever the nature of the dispute.

    High Net Worth Insurance Disputes

    High net and ultra-net worth individuals often have complex insurance arrangements in place to protect real estate investments, developments and multi-jurisdictional property portfolios. Our lawyers regularly work with high net worth policyholder clients, delivering tailored advice on a range of insurance issues including disputes over coverage, reinstatement / indemnity disputes, valuations and underinsurance.

    In our experience, insurers sometimes initially decline cover but, on a more careful evaluation of the claim, may revisit their original decision. We can help unlock these seemingly intractable disputes using our wealth of experience and understanding of the legal issues at play.

    Whenever insurance is in doubt, the broker who gave advice on what type of policy to take out may  be liable in professional negligence. Our full-service team can take whatever action is appropriate to help you recover what is due, ensuring swift resolution of the matters affecting your real estate assets.

    Real estate insurance disputes Publications

    Testimonials

    • ‘‘Exceptional personal service and out of hours contact when needed"

      Legal 500, 2022

    Real estate insurance disputes insights

    View all insights

    Need some more information? Make an enquiry below.

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