Lloyd’s Sues Former R.I. Gov. Sundlun, Who Denies Owing Funds

December 27, 2006

The London insurance market Lloyd’s has sued former Rhode Island Gov. Bruce Sundlun, accusing him of failing to pay about $300,000 in principal and interest.

But Sundlun says he doesn’t owe Lloyd’s any money, and his lawyer has asked a federal judge in Providence to rule in Sundlun’s favor.

Lloyd’s is a specialist insurance market whose members, both individuals and corporations, provide financial backing which acts as security for its policies to ensure claims are paid.

At issue is whether Sundlun was ever a member of Lloyd’s.

Lloyd’s says Sundlun was a member but in January 1993 stopped underwriting — assuming liability for policies in case of losses.

The lawsuit says Lloyd’s suffered severe financial losses and, as part of a recovery plan, required members to buy reinsurance for their pre-1993 underwriting responsibilities. But, the lawsuit says, Sundlun never paid the required premium.

A British court in 1997 entered a default judgment against Sundlun. Sundlun says he never had a chance to defend himself because he was unaware he was being sued until the day the court entered the judgment.

In an affidavit filed in federal court, Sundlun said that an insurance agent friend of his suggested at some point before 1987 that he become a member of Lloyd’s.

“At that time, I understood that any membership in Lloyd’s would be an honorary position and that I would face no risk or liability in my capacity as a Lloyd’s member,” Sundlun said in the affidavit.

Sundlun, who served as governor from 1991 to 1995, said he never signed a membership application or took steps to become a member.

A motion filed by Sundlun’s lawyer, former state Supreme Court justice Robert G. Flanders Jr., said any relationship Sundlun had with Lloyd’s ended by January 1993 and that the British court lacked jurisdiction over his client.


Information from: The Providence Journal, http://www.projo.com/

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