UK: Breach of a Condition Precedent Sufficient for Defendant Insurer to Avoid a Claim and Successfully Counterclaim
In Parker and Parker v National Farmers Union Mutual Insurance Society Ltd  EWHC 2156 (Comm), the High Court held that the Defendant insurers, National Farmers Union (NFU), could not avoid the claim of the First Claimant, Mrs. Parker, for the non-disclosure of the Second Claimant, Mr. Parker. The claim related to damage caused to a property and its contents by fire.
The Court held that the First and Second Claimants had different interests under the policy, and therefore, the policy was a composite policy not a joint insurance policy. However, Mr Justice Teare held that NFU could rely on the breach of a condition precedent in failing to disclosure all material documents to successfully avoid the claims of both Claimants, and in turn successfully counterclaim against them.
This case shows that the courts will distinguish between composite and joint policies where two claimants have different interests under a policy, and emphasises the principle that an insurer can successfully avoid a claim in the event of a breach of a condition precedent.
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