Broker did not keep insured fully informed about policy exclusions

A judge has ordered Jardine Lloyd Thompson to pay £1.75m to Camden Market’s owners after failing to keep them fully informed about an insurer ban on portable heaters.

Fire caused almost £6m of damage to the Canal Market in 2008 after a portable heater set light to a clothing stall. When making their claim, market owners Ground Gilbey and Davey Autos were “gobsmacked” to be told that the policy JLT had arranged with insurers might not cover the loss. Towergate-owned Fusion Insurance was a named insurer in court.

Insurers claimed that portable heaters should have been banned from the market, and the owners had to settle for a payout of £3,825,000 – around 70% of the actual loss.

Mr Justice Blair said on 2 February that portable heaters were regarded as necessary by stallholders, who said: “It is in the nature of a market to use heaters.”

Blair ruled that JLT had breached the duty it owed the market owners to ensure cover continued to meet their needs and to keep them fully informed of demands, such as the requirement for a portable heater ban to be enforced. As a result, the owners were left with “uncertain rights” against their insurers and had to settle for far less than the value of the damage.

JLT declined to comment.