Appeal will settle who pays for failure of liability chain

Brokers caught up in a liability sub-broking chain are facing a bill of millions.

Hugh McGratten, a solicitor with Belfast firm McCloskey, said a case that could define the outcome for a further 559 claims will go to appeal on 14 September.

McGratten is representing Hi-Tec Roofing, a company that used Willis & Co Ltd [not Willis Group] to place liability cover. However, a judge ruled earlier in the year that cover was not incepted as the risk became lost in a sub-broking chain involving Laing & Co and Preston Whiteside.

It is understood that the original premium for the liability cover placed was approximately £5,000. It is understood a new premium of £12,000 was later spent securing adequate cover.

Although there was no written judgment, McGratten confirmed that in the case earlier this year, the judge ruled that a portion of the new premium must be paid by Willis & Co Ltd. The case has now been appealed, said McGratten. "And the outcome of another 559 cases depends on its outcome," he added.

It is understood that Willis & Co paid premiums to Laing & Co on behalf of around 25 Northern Ireland clients.