Alabama Municipal Insurance Corporation (“AMIC”) purchased reinsurance though broker Alliant Insurance Services (“Alliant”) that was underwritten by various reinsurers including Lloyd’s of London (“Lloyds”). According to AMIC, its contract with Alliant required Alliant to timely transmit claims to Lloyds and other reinsurers. AMIC alleged that Alliant breached the contract by failing to timely transmit claims to Lloyds for an 18-month period in 2000-2001. AMIC, however, had agreed with Alliant in an unwritten “gentlemen’s agreement” that it would not submit notices of loss for this period; AMIC thus did not submit notices of loss for 2000-2001 to Alliant until 2005, after the parties’ relationship had soured. Lloyds denied AMIC’s claims for the 2000-2001 period, not because they were untimely, but because of unreported growth of total insured values during the period.
A jury concluded that AMIC and Alliant had entered into a contract whereby Alliant agreed to serve as AMIC’s Managing General Agent (“MGA”) and that Alliant had breached its contract. The district court vacated the jury’s verdict on Alliant’s post trial motion on several bases. First, the court found that Alliant never agreed to serve as AMIC’s MGA and, furthermore, that there was no definite contractual term requiring Alliant to timely submit claims to Lloyds. The court also cited AMIC’s failure to perform under the contract by not timely submitting notices of loss to Alliant, and AMIC’s failure to prove damages because Lloyds denied the claims for reasons entirely unrelated to timeliness. It further held that AMIC was estopped from arguing that Alliant untimely submitted claims because Alliant was acting in reliance on representations AMIC made in the “gentlemen’s agreement” regarding not submitting claims for the 2000-2001 time period. Alabama Municipal Ins. Corp. v. Alliant Ins. Servs., Case No. 2:09-928 (USDC M.D. Ala. Jan. 10, 2012).