Claimants allege breach of contract over reinsurance cover for the Shell Floater

Markel Capital and Marsh are facing claims for more than £3m over an alleged breach of contract on a reinsurance binder.

In papers filed at the High Court, claimants including Allianz Marine & Aviation France (AGF), HIH Casualty and General Insurance, and members of Limit Syndicate 1036, have made a claim against JLJ syndicate, now owned by Markel, for non-payment of reinsurance.

The reinsurance relates to cover provided for an energy insurance facility known as the Shell Floater in 1997.

The claimants alleged they had paid more than £7m in claims relating to the Shell Floater. They said that despite all claims falling within the terms of the contract, Markel had "failed to pay any part of the said claims" and had informed AGF that it "would not pay any further claims".

The claimants are seeking a judgment that Markel is "liable to indemnify the claimants in accordance with the terms of the reinsurance contract in respect of claims paid by the claimants".

The writ stated that in correspondence Markel had disputed it was liable and had alleged that Sedgwick, now owned by Marsh, made "material oral misrepresentations" and failed to disclose material facts when placing the contract.

Should the action against Markel fail, the claimants also alleged that Marsh was in breach of its contractual duty to "exercise reasonable skill and care" in obtaining cover for the Shell Floater.

Both Markel and Marsh declined to comment.

AGF was unavailable for comment.