We previously reported on problems in the London Personal Accident Reinsurance market in the 1990s, including an extensive Commercial Court opinion involving Sphere Drake Insurance Limited and its broker, Stirling Cooke Brown. In the present action, American Reliable Insurance Company, one of the participants in that market, sued its reinsurance broker in the UK Commercial Court, seeking to recover damages. Prior to the case management conference, after admitting certain factual findings made by the court in the prior Sphere Drake case, the defendant broker, Willis Limited (“Willis”), sought to withdraw some of those admissions, including admissions regarding the nature of the Personal Accident Reinsurance market. Willis had also been sued by another one of its former clients, CNA Insurance Company Limited, and had made admissions in that case which were inconsistent with those it had made in the American Reliable case.

The Court denied Willis’ application to withdraw its admissions. In support of the denial, the Court explained that Willis neither presented new evidence nor made any positive challenges to the prior admissions. This opinion demonstrates some of the substantial differences between civil case management in US and UK courts. American Reliable Insurance Company v. Willis Limited [2008] EWHC 2677 (Comm. Oct. 24, 2008) (Note: Jorden Burt has represented American Reliable Insurance Company in disputes in the Personal Accident Reinsurance market).