Case details

Samsoondar (Appellant) v Capital Insurance Co Ltd (Respondent) (T & T)

Case ID: JCPC 2018/0021

Jurisdiction: Court of Appeal of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

Case summary

Issue(s)

Is the respondent insurer entitled to recover from the appellant the sums paid to the third party:

  1. as damages for breach of the respondent's insurance policy with the appellant;
  2. as an indemnity for monies paid on behalf of the appellant; and/or
  3. pursuant to the principles of unjust enrichment?

Facts

The appellant, Mr Samsoondar, owns a transport company. In 2005, one of Mr Samsoondar's vehicles collided with a third party (the "Third Party") whilst being driven by one of Mr Samsoondar's employees. That vehicle was insured with the respondent, Capital Insurance Company Limited (the "Insurer"), under an insurance policy that purported to limit coverage to Mr Samsoondar only (the "Policy").

The Third Party claimed against the Insurer for the damage suffered as a result of the collision. The Insurer settled the claim with the Third Party in the sum of $43,400, believing this was its statutory obligation under the Motor Vehicles Insurance (Third Party Risks) Act Chap 48:51 (the "Act"). Before making this payment, the Insurer notified Mr Samsoondar that it would seek to recover any sums paid to the Third Party since the Policy did not extend to cover incidents where Mr Samsoondar's employees were driving. Mr Samsoondar did not pay.

The Insurer subsequently issued proceedings against Mr Samsoondar, seeking to recover the sum it paid to the Third Party from Mr Samsoondar as damages for breach of the Policy or as an indemnity for monies paid on his behalf. Mr Samsoondar argues that the Insurer was not obliged to pay any sums to the Third Party under the Act and had no authority to settle the claim on his behalf. He cites the Privy Council judgment in Presidential Insurance Company Limited [2012] UKPC 33 as authority for the proposition that the Act does not oblige an insurer to satisfy a third party claim in respect of policies covering the policyholder only.

Parties

Appellant(s)

Samsoonder

Respondent(s)

Capital Insurance Co Ltd

Appeal

Justices

Lord Lloyd-Jones, Lord Briggs, Lord Arden, Lord Leggatt, Lord Burrows.

Hearing start date

22 Oct 2020

Hearing finish date

22 Oct 2020

Watch hearing
22 Oct 2020 Afternoon session