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The issue

A UK based international drinks manufacturer with a diverse history of acquisitions found it was being targeted in the US in relation to claims related to sales of ‘alco pops’. It was finding it difficult to manage the volume of claims and notify the correct insurance carriers for each one. The main cause of this confusion was that many of the US subsidiaries had historically arranged their own insurance programmes. Essentially they were finding it tricky to trace liability claims.

What we did

Our InSolutions team association with Marsh Mass Tort in the US undertook an ‘insurance archaeology’ and insurance tracing exercise to identify and collect all available insurance policies across the various subsidiaries. We scanned these policies onto our ICE system to create a searchable electronic database of the policies and cover. The database was able to provide reports on individual carriers, insolvents and their impact on programme. The client was also able to use the system to submit the claims to insurers, using the ICE claims management module.

The result

The client now has access to a database of its legacy insurance programmes. It can run reports when it receives notice of a bar date or insolvency from a carrier and therefore assess the impact. It is able to manage the claims with the assistance of Marsh and the ICE system.

The manufacturer now has a streamlined and efficient way of obtaining the information it needs to notify claims to the correct insurers and receive payment, so reducing costs to the business.

 


A US corporation purchased a UK Plc in March 2009 for USD492.1 million. The UK Plc historically owned over 100 UK companies. It has become a target for numerous long tail Employers’ Liability (EL) claims – over 140 in past 12 months (mainly deafness). The UK Plc had significant gaps in cover and some difficulties understanding corporate liability and TUPE issues. In the past US client had paid some claims for which they had no legal liability. The client contacted InSolutions as we offer a dedicated UK insurance tracing and archaeology offer that also studies corporate liability issues

 

The insurance tracing solution

First we complete a Companies House tree, noting the historic trading names, with notes on their current legal status and TUPE links to other companies. This generates a template for us to use. On a claim by claim basis we review the corporate history of the employing companies, assessing the  legal liability to the client and report on liability/TUPE. If required we trace gaps in their EL cover. Our partners in Marsh claims then deal with claimant solicitors and the insurance market. In the first nine months we have analysed over 140 claims, finding liability against the client for only 38 and redirecting claimant solicitors on the remainder. We have successfully traced insurance cover for several of those claims including two high value mesothelioma losses.

 

Benefits of a managed  insurance tracing service

Our client now has a far better understanding of where their liabilities lie and through our work have a more comprehensive insurance history. InSolutions has proven that the client has no legal liability for claims which, if aggregated, would have cost in excess of £2,000,000.


Insolutions

The client purchased 17 main road sites around the north east of England and southern Scotland. It offered roadside replacement of tyres and exhausts. On paper the £ 17 million purchase looked good, profit margins averaged 11% per annum, claims ratios were low, and there was an acceptable level of staff turnover.

InSolutions was asked to trace the insurance history and found of the 17 sites:
4 sites were purpose built with vendors only having purchased the land 
8 were purchased from a major British tyre manufacturer 
5 were purchased direct from the owners of garages

Of the 8 sites which had previously been owned by the tyre company, it had in turn bought 4 of these businesses from garage owners, 1 from a timber merchant, and 2 others from a supplier of coal and central heating oil.

Out of the 17 sites, the vendors had assumed the past liabilities of 14 companies running an assortment of businesses, with the majority of these businesses being potential producers of asbestos-related claims.

Aside from having to trace 14 separate insurance histories for the client we suggested that they arrange underground surveys of all sites. Of the 17 sites they owned, 8 showed that underground oil storage tanks were still in situ, with three such tanks being within 800 yards of a local river. The cost of removal of the tanks, where possible, was estimated at £2 million, although it would be impossible to move one of the tanks without demolishing the present day buildings.

Fortunately, through InSolutions the client now has Employers’ Liability (EL) coverage back to the 1960s for 7 of their companies, and back to the 1970s for another 5. Turning to Public Liability (PL) InSolutions located cover for 4 of these companies, but only with limited degrees of success.

For more information on our EL service please Click here


Long Tail Claims

In excess of $600m coverage located for the period 1957 to 1986 located to facilitate the claim.

For more information on our Global Policy Research service please Click here


Insurance Archaeology and Insurance Tracing

As with many manufacturers in this field, asbestos claims are continuing to impact the balance sheet.

InSolutions was able to supply confirmation of coverage in excess of $1 billion for the period 1972 to 1988 for the client’s legal team’s ongoing discussions with the London market.

For more information on our Global Policy Research service please Click here


Insurance Archaeology and Insurance Tracing

Other recovery successes

A major international chemical company based in the US has recovered insolvency funds of approximately $3m from a total debt of almost $9m, with a further $3m anticipated.

Another major US mining corporation has so far recovered $1.3m out a total claim of $5.2m, with another $2m due over the next five years. Other successful recoveries, where the total claim was smaller but no less significant include: a major multinational petroleum corporation, a large US gas utility company, a large water utility company, a major US tire manufacturer and a large US paper manufacturer and supplier to the building trade. In total in the region of $1.75m has so far been collected for their combined claims of $5m, with a further $1.25m expected.

Additional US clients whose claims have only recently been presented include an aircraft/defence electronics corporation, a major energy company, a large consumer product manufacturer and several others.

We are very pleased to be in a position to say that, to date, no claim presented by InSolutions to insolvent carriers has been rejected.

For more information on our Insolvent Insurers & Solvent Schemes of Arrangement services please Click here


Insurance Archaeology and Insurance Tracing

US Pharmaceutical Corporation and a London Products Claim

A major US pharmaceutical company had successfully recovered against solvent carriers in the London market for a large undisclosed sum. They had been advised that they had no option left but a bottom line write off of $20 million against insolvent London carriers.

To date InSolutions has been able to recover $6 million within 9 months and a projected net recovery of $12 million or 60% of the original claim is expected.

These funds have been used to offset the ongoing claims exposure, which would have needed to be met from operating revenue. It also freed the risk management team from the task of long distance debt recovery and all fees were on a contingent fee basis resulting in no additional direct charges for the insurance department.

For more information on our Insolvent Insurers & Solvent Schemes of Arrangement services please Click here


Insurance Archaeology and Insurance Tracing

US Mining Company and a London Pollution Claim

A large US mining corporation engaged InSolutions to approach insolvent London carriers to recoup the insolvent share of their settlement with London solvent carriers, in the amount of $13 million. They had previously successfully settled with the London solvent carriers on their pollution claims, but found they did not have the time or resources to pursue the insolvent market.

Agreement to the claim has been successfully obtained from all insolvents and dividend funds to the value of $4.5 million have been paid to the client. Eventual total recovery over the next five years is anticipated to be in the region of $9 million.

The client has been delighted as the commission was on a contingent fee basis resulting in no additional fees being charged to their risk management department.

For more information on our Insolvent Insurers & Solvent Schemes of Arrangement services please Click here


Insolutions

A pump manufacturer purchased a Newcastle-based company and their subsidiaries for £ 12 million. The various companies had been operating since the1930s and at various times used asbestos panelling to insulate the pumps which also contained asbestos gaskets. The main exposure was replacing gaskets, which had become worn and friable.

On completing the purchase the client obtained a full indemnity from the vendor against all past liabilities.

To date 7 claims have arisen against the company, 4 for minor asbestos disease, 1 for asbestosis and another 2 for mesothelioma. As both mesothelioma claims are for family men with school aged children, the overall claims costs are estimated in excess of £ 1 million.

However the indemnities were unenforceable in law, as within the sale the indemnity was provided by a company which the vendors quickly liquidated.

As such the purchasers, who thought themselves protected, were forced to fund all claims themselves.

Had an indemnity been obtained which provided joint & several liability against any or all of the vendor company’s subsidiaries, the client may have been able to recover its costs.

InSolutions managed to trace EL coverage back to 1963, reducing the clients costs by approximately £ 600,000.

For more information on our Employer’s Liability service please Click here


Insurance Archaeology and Insurance Tracing

A paper company received a writ alleging asbestos exposure at a paper mill which they owned near Blackburn. The claim was for a fatal Mesothelioma and was valued at £ 400,000. The client had evidence to confirm that the claimant worked at the mill, and there appeared good evidence of exposure. The client’s solicitors had advised them to settle on the best possible terms.

We advised the client not to make any offer or to admit liability. Though they owned the building, this would not directly make them responsible for the claim, liability for which would most probably rest with the original employers (who may have a natural successor).

InSolutions suggested that to be on the safe side they trace their historic Employers’ Liability (EL) coverage. Instead the client, through their solicitors, entered pleadings to accept liability.

At the same time, we completed the full corporate history and established that the client never owned the company which ran the mill during the period of the claimant’s employment, and that when the mill closed it was actually owned by one of the client’s major competitors.

At this point the client’s corporate lawyers become involved, and on our advice, appointed a claims management company. The client also dispensed with the services of their existing lawyers, and the new lawyers appointed to act on their behalf instructed a barrister to attempt a change of plea.

It subsequently transpired that regardless of ownership of the company, when purchasing the mill the client had obtained a full indemnity (against all past liabilities) from the vendors. The courts refused the change of plea on the “balance of prejudice” argument and the clients were left to fund a claim valued at £ 400,000 plus legal fees.

With literally a day to go before the claim went to trial, InSolutions traced the mill’s EL coverage to Lloyd’s, who at the door of the court agreed to take over control of the claim and provide full settlement. However, because they did not understand their liabilities the clients still faced an unnecessary bill for £ 20,000 legal costs, and, had the EL cover not been traced, would have had to fund the claim in excess of £ 400,000 (even though they had no legal liability).

For more information on our Employers’ Liability service please Click here