TIG Insurance entered into an agreement with Titan Underwriting for Titan to act as managing general underwriter, soliciting and procuring stop-loss health and life insurance insureds for policies to be issued by TIG. Titan was also obligated to obtain reinsurance to cover the stop-loss policies issued by TIG. Chubb Re reinsured TIG, and TIG received a percentage of the ceding commission of the gross premiums ceded to the reinsurer, a portion of which Titan received as compensation. Subsequently, TIG terminated the stop-loss program and sued Titan for, among other things, breach of contract and fraud. TIG also sent a letter to state insurance commissioners requesting information that Titan refused to produce to TIG. In response, Titan counterclaimed for breach of the Chubb reinsurance agreement, tortious interference with a contract, tortious interference with its business relationships with policyholders, defamation and negligence. The trial court dismissed each of the counterclaims and the court of appeals affirmed the dismissal.
The appellate court found that Titan, which was not a party to the reinsurance agreement, could not sue in the capacity of a third-party beneficiary. Although Titan was entitled to receive a percentage of the ceding commission, the contract contained a provision disclaiming any intent to create a third-party beneficiary. The tortious interference with a contract claim failed because it was legally impossible for TIG to interfere with its own contract (the reinsurance agreement). The tortious interference with business relationships claim failed because Titan failed to establish that it had existing relationships with the policyholders, whose relationships were insurance policies with TIG. The defamation claim, which was based on TIG’s letter to the insurance commissioners, also failed since the letter was not alleged to contain statements that could be “reasonably construed to disgrace or injure Titan’s reputation in the community or subject Titan to public ridicule and contempt.” Finally, the negligence claim failed since Titan failed to establish, as it was required to do, that TIG owed Titan a duty of care. TIG Insurance Co. v. Titan Underwriting Managers, LLC, No. M2007-01977-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Nov. 7, 2008).