Stallion’s infertility at centre of insurance dispute

Owners claim breach of contract by London-based insurers in not pay out on policy

The defendants have alleged the owners failed to comply with relevant conditions of the policy and failed to disclose all material facts.

The defendants have alleged the owners failed to comply with relevant conditions of the policy and failed to disclose all material facts.

 

A dispute over alleged failure to pay out on an insurance policy for a stallion now allegedly infertile has come before the Commercial Court.

The action concerns a thoroughbred stallion, Ajaya, who, the court heard, was assessed as permanently infertile in 2018 by a consultant in equine medicine.

The horse is owned by Rathbarry Stallions Ltd and two Kuwaiti businessmen, Saleh Homaizi and Imad Al Sagar.

They claim they had taken out a policy of insurance to cover such a situation with various UK syndicates – XL Catlin 2003, Tokio Marine Kiln 510, Novae 2007, Markel 3000 and Brit 2987.

The owners claim breach of contract by the London-based defendants in not paying out on the policy.

In their proceedings, the owners want orders requiring the defendants to specifically perform an insurance contract in respect of Ajaya entitled the Stallion Permanent Total Disability Extension and to pay the owners a fair market value for the horse. They are also claiming damages for alleged breach of contract, negligence and breach of duty.

The court heard the owners had in 2016 insured Ajaya for €3.8 million, for use at stud, with the defendants for a premium of €195,000. An insurance extension to cover infertility was added for an additional €323,000.

Australian stud

The policy was amended in 2017 when the horse was leased out to an Australian stud with the result the horse was now insured for €3.12 million.

In March 2018, after Ajaya’s return from Australia, there were concerns about the stallion’s fertility.

The horse had in 2017 successfully covered 44 out of 63 mares in the northern hemisphere and also achieved 24 pregnancies from 61 mares in the southern hemisphere.

In the 2018 northern hemisphere season, Ajaya achieved just one pregnancy from 19 mares.

Tests were carried out by veterinary experts.

It is claimed, while the horse showed good libido, his fertility had declined to the point the stallion was non-viable in a commercial sense and as close to total infertility as ever seen.

The plaintiffs sought payment out of the policy but claim the defendants have declined to pay the owners their entitlements.

The defendants, while not formally refusing the indemnity, have alleged the owners failed to comply with relevant conditions of the policy and failed to disclose all material facts.

The defendants, it is also claimed, have denied the horse is permanently infertile.

The case was admitted to the Commercial Court list by Mr Justice Robert Haughton on Monday.

The judge was told by Cian Cotter BL, for the owners, it was hoped the dispute could be resolved through mediation.

The case was adjourned to October.