Laing & Co wins judgment for interim payment in case involving unplaced cover

Preston Whiteside is being sued for around £1m by Northern Irish broker Laing & Co.

Laing & Co has obtained judgment against Preston Whiteside and an order for an interim payment of £160,000 has been made by the High Court.

The interim payment will be paid in four monthly instalments.

Laing & Co's lawyer Peter Ellingham said: "Preston Whiteside cannot contest liability as Laing & Co has obtained judgment, but Preston Whiteside could still contest the amount involved."

The suit follows allegations that Preston Whiteside accepted premiums from Laing & Co without actually placing cover.

In its High Court claim, Laing & Co said that, between January 2002 and 31 December 2002, it paid £1.17m in premiums to Preston Whiteside.

But Laing & Co alleges that Preston Whiteside failed to actually obtain insurance cover in respect of the premiums paid.

Consequently, Laing & Co said, in the claim, that the invoices it received from Preston Whiteside stating that cover had been placed were false.

Of the £1,172,296.26 Laing & Co said it paid to Preston Whiteside, £282,413.57 was paid before 1 August 2002, with the remaining £889,882.69 paid between 1 August 2002 and 31 December 2002.

Laing & Co alleges that during a meeting held at Preston Whiteside's Doncaster office on 29 January 2003, Preston Whiteside director Paul Newton admitted to Laing & Co managing director Stuart Laing that no insurance cover had been obtained by Preston Whiteside in respect of all premiums paid to it by Laing & Co since 1 August 2002.

With regard to premiums paid prior to 1 August 2002, Laing & Co alleges it has received no policy documentation relating to the cover Preston Whiteside placed.

Of more than £1m originally claimed, Preston Whiteside has repaid £390,000 in January 2003 which Laing & Co says was "impartial acceptance of its liability to repay the monies."