In Yechiel v Kerry London Limited [2010] EWHC 215 (Comm) the High Court had to decide whether Norwich Union had been notified by Yechiel's insurance brokers, Kerry London, that Yechiel would be removing jewellery valued at £133,600 from a Selfridges safe deposit box for more than 14 days. The jewellery had been stolen while Yechiel was travelling to his son's wedding. It was common ground that, under the insurance policy issued by Norwich Union to Yechiel, the jewellery was not insured if outside a safe deposit box for more than 14 days. Before leaving for his son's wedding, Yechiel claimed that he had sent a letter to Kerry London which implicitly requested Kerry London to notify Norwich Union that the jewellery would be outside the safe deposit box for more than 14 days. It was presumably Yechiel's case that, if so notified, Norwich Union would have extended the 14 day cover for an additional period. Yechiel claimed that Kerry London had not notified Norwich Union and Yechiel sought damages from Kerry London accordingly. Kerry London denied that the letter was ever sent.

The Deputy Judge heard conflicting evidence as to whether the letter was in fact sent by Yechiel to Kerry London. In evaluating the evidence, he referred to the following passage from the judgment of Goff LJ in Armagas Ltd. v. Mundogas S.A. ("The Ocean Frost") [1985] 1 Lloyd's Rep 1: "Speaking from my own experience, I have found it essential in cases of fraud, when considering the credibility of witnesses, always to test their veracity by reference to the objective facts proved independently of their testimony, in particular, by reference to the documents in the case, and also to pay particular regard to their motives and to the overall possibilities. It is frequently very difficult to tell whether a witness is telling the truth or not; and where there is a conflict of evidence such as there was in the present case, reference to the objective facts and documents, to the witnesses' motives, and to the overall probabilities, can be of very great assistance to a Judge in ascertaining the truth". Having evaluated the evidence, the Deputy Judge concluded that the letter was not sent to Kerry London and that, in fact, it was fabricated by Yechiel.

The brokers in this case had well kept records and efficient procedures in place to handle communications with their clients which helped the Deputy Judge reach his conclusion that the letter had been fabricated. It serves as a useful reminder to brokers and insurers to maintain the same.