Table of Contents

Ref rules against contractor in insurance dispute with RFU

Hazel Cox is an affiliate and Fraser Askham is a accomplice at CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang

The Court docket of Enchantment has thought-about a joint-names insurance coverage coverage taken out by an employer that was expressed to offer cowl larger than required by the constructing contract. In FM Conway Restricted v The Rugby Soccer Union (RFU), the court docket held that, regardless of the wording of the coverage, the contractor was solely insured to the extent required beneath the contract. In consequence, a subrogated declare was capable of be pursued by insurers towards the contractor in respect of quantities paid to the employer beneath the coverage.


Prematurely of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, the RFU undertook a substantial improve programme to the services and infrastructure at Twickenham Stadium. FM Conway was appointed to put in ducting to accommodate new high-voltage energy cables.

The cables have been put in by a unique contractor however have been broken when pulled by means of the ducting. The price of changing the broken cables was recovered by the RFU beneath a mission insurance coverage coverage. The RFU’s insurers then introduced a subrogated declare towards FM Conway, alleging that the harm to the cables had been brought about on account of faulty set up of the ducting.

“Contractors and subcontractors shouldn’t assume they’re robotically lined by a project-wide joint-names insurance coverage coverage”

Along with the RFU, the coverage wording lined the “contractor for every mission” and “all different contractors and/or subcontractors of any tier and others engaged to offer items or companies in reference to the mission”. The coverage additionally included a waiver of subrogation clause. FM Conway claimed that it was an insured celebration beneath the coverage, and so was protected against subrogation claims.

The RFU’s insurers relied on the phrases of the constructing contract – a 2011 JCT Commonplace Constructing Contract, incorporating the Choice C insurance coverage clause. This required the RFU to take out a joint-names insurance coverage coverage masking the works. Nevertheless, such a coverage wouldn’t have lined the broken cables. Against this, the coverage taken out by the RFU lined all of the packages of labor concerned within the improve programme and did present cowl in respect of the broken cables.

The RFU’s insurers argued that FM Conway ought to solely be insured beneath the coverage to the extent required by the JCT insurance coverage clause and that the waiver of subrogation beneath the coverage ought to solely apply to that extent. On this foundation, FM Conway was not an insured celebration in respect of the cable harm claimed beneath the coverage.


Because the coverage was taken out by the RFU, the Court docket of Enchantment emphasised the necessity to set up the RFU’s intention and its authority to increase cowl to FM Conway.

Lord Justice Coulson summarised the method to be taken the place it’s alleged {that a} celebration has procured insurance coverage for an additional, stating “it’ll normally be essential to contemplate points resembling authority, intention (and the associated difficulty of scope of canopy) […] the place there may be an underlying contract, then, most often, will probably be a lot the very best place to search out proof of authority, intention and scope […] That isn’t to say that the underlying contract will all the time present the entire reply. Circumstances might dictate that the court docket appears in different places for proof of authority, intention and scope of canopy.”

FM Conway (unsuccessfully) tried to depend on pre-contractual discussions to indicate that the RFU had supposed and was authorised to offer cowl to FM Conway on a much wider foundation than the constructing contract.

Coverage protection

The Court docket of Enchantment upheld the Expertise and Building Court docket’s determination that FM Conway was insured beneath the coverage solely insofar as required by the JCT insurance coverage clause, and so a subrogated declare was capable of be introduced towards it.

Within the court docket’s view, it was clear beneath the constructing contract and letter of intent that preceded it that the JCT insurance coverage clause was to use, and that FM Conway was to not be lined for any harm attributable to its personal faulty work.

Conclusions and implications

The choice makes it clear that in relation to joint-names insurance coverage taken out in respect of development works, the mere reality {that a} coverage states that it covers the pursuits of named or identifiable third events doesn’t of itself give these third events the precise to implement its phrases.

Contractors and subcontractors shouldn’t assume they’re robotically lined by a project-wide joint-names insurance coverage coverage that has been put in place on their behalf. They need to assessment the phrases of their contract fastidiously, as it’s this, slightly than the coverage itself, that may doubtless decide the extent of insurance coverage cowl.