Allianz Insurance Company of Egypt (“Allianz”) sued its reinsurer, Aigaion Insurance Company S.A. (“Aigaion”), for US $675,000 arising from the constructive loss of the oceangoing vessel “Ocean Dirk,” one of several scheduled ships under the reinsurance contract. Aigaion denied liability for the claim on the theory that the parties never arrived at consensus over the terms of the reinsurance contract, and thus it was null and void ab initio.
Allianz countered with evidence of communications by and between Allianz, Aigaion, and the intermediary broker who placed the risk, Chedid & Associates Ltd. (“Chedid”). The court held that these communications, consisting mainly of e-mail correspondence, indicated that the parties clearly intended for Aigaion to be bound as Allianz’s reinsurer for certain risks covered by Allianz’s underlying insurance. Aigaion took the position that the communications reflected a continued intent on the part of both parties to negotiate certain terms of the contract, even after the reinsurance contract had issued, but that the parties failed to reach consensus sufficient to create a contract. The court found in Allianz’s favor, noting that the communications reflected a resort to certain shorthand understood in the industry, and that Aigaion clearly communicated its intent to be bound by those terms with the same understanding as had Allianz, at the latest by a date certain which may have post-dated the contract, but nonetheless pre-dated the loss. The Court entered judgment in favor of Allianz for the net premium due. Allianz Insurance Company of Egypt v. Aigaion Insurance Company S.A.  EWHC 1127 (Queen’s Bench Div. Comm. June 2, 2008).