Insurance Law Case
Question 1
Angela’s job is to refill the automatic cash machine (ATM) at the Happytown branch of Megabank and to maintain records of the sums withdrawn. One day she discovers that £1,000 has gone missing. She does not report this fact because she believes that her colleague Bernard has stolen the money. She is aware that Bernard has a criminal record which he did not disclose to Megabank when applying for the job. She likes Bernard and does not want him to get into trouble. She covers up the discrepancy by falsifying the bank’s records. She continues to do this, as ever-larger sums go missing day by day. Eventually, when £200,000 has disappeared, she confesses to the branch manager. On investigation it is discovered that no money has been stolen. The ATM is faulty and has been paying out ten times the sum requested by the bank’s customers. None of the surplus can be recovered from them. Megabank have a Fidelity insurance policy with Titanic Assurance which covers financial loss ‘caused by fraud or dishonesty of employees in the course of their employment’. Megabank claim on the policy, saying that the loss is attributable to Angela’s fraud and dishonesty, without which the defect in the ATM would have been detected immediately.
Titanic repudiate the claim. They say:
a) there has been no fraud or dishonesty because Angela achieved no personal gain from her falsification of the records;
b) in any case the loss was not caused by Angela but by the fault in the ATM;
in any event the policy is voidable ab initio because Megabank failed to tell them that
c) Bernard had a criminal record, this being a highly material fact.