Kelly Builders loses claim against UK insurers over fire damage

A construction company’s insurance policy did not cover a workplace accident in which fire damaged a building at the National University of Ireland Maynooth, the High Court has ruled.

Kelly Builders (Rosemount) Ltd sued UK-registered HCC Underwriting Agency Ltd seeking specific performance of its insurance policy contract covering accidents during construction work.

The underwriter claimed the builders had not complied with the terms of insurance by ensuring there was a suitable fully charged fire extinguisher available to a roofing sub-contractor employed to repair the roof.

Kelly Builders claimed there was an extinguisher but it did not work on the day, November 28, 2010.

Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy was satisfied the roofer had the correct fire extinguisher, as required by the policy.

However, he did not check that it was charged by checking its pressure gauge and had trusted his employers to supply him with a proper extinguisher, she said.

She was satisfied, on the balance of probabilities it was not fully charged.

Therefore, Kelly did not comply with a condition of their policy.

Notwithstanding the fact the presence of a fully charged extinguisher would have made no difference to the outcome of the fire, the court was compelled to dismiss Kelly’s claim for specific performance.


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