Aviva and Toto have been in a court dispute over whether a man’s bankruptcy should void a £1.85m fire claim 

Aviva has submitted its response in an ongoing court battle over whether a man’s undeclared bankruptcy voids a £1.85m buildings insurance policy.

Toto Worldwide Properties Ltd started High Court proceedings against Aviva for the full £1.85m, after having its claim denied.

On 11 October 2016, a fire damaged the premises of Toto but Aviva argued the policy was void because Toto’s Khalid Chaudhry did not declare that he had previously been made bankrupt.

The two sides have been disputing about Chaudhry’s role within Toto, and whether it is relevant to the claim.

In its claim against Aviva, Toto stated: “Mr Chaudhry was a self-employed consultant and not an officer of the claimant, therefore Mr Chaudhry’s background has nothing to do with the claimant’s claim for an indemnity under the policy.”

However, Aviva has denied this and claimed that records showed Chaudhry or members of his family were the “ultimate beneficial owners” of Toto.

In its response filed to the High Court, Aviva states: “Mr Chaudhry was at the material times (including at inception of the policy), the sole or primary person responsible for the claimant’s business in the UK, including the decision to purchase property, instructing solicitors, affecting the transaction, planning and implementing any development projects, instructing the relevant professional consultants, and in relation to rental property, managing the same.”

The defence adds that separate to the non-disclosure of Chaudry’s bankruptcy, Aviva can be discharged from payment due to Toto’s non-compliance with a policy requirement to remove combustibles from the unoccupied premises.

It is claimed numerous chairs, tables, lightweight items, catering equipment, insulation panels, detached wooden radiator covers and doors were left in the building.