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In the Matter of the Liquidation of The Home Insurance Company

157 N.H. 543 (2008)

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In the Matter of the Liquidation of The Home Insurance Company

New Hampshire Supreme Court

157 N.H. 543 (2008)

Facts

In 1995 Century Indemnity Company (CIC) agreed to reinsure general-liability policies that its affiliated insurers issued. The agreement specified that CIC accepted liabilities under the covered policies in exchange for affiliated cedents paying CIC their net carried reserves and assigning CIC all rights to reinsurance recoverables under the policies. The claims assigned to CIC included reinsurance obligations that The Home Insurance Company (Home) (debtor) owed the affiliated cedents. In 2003 Home was declared insolvent and ordered into liquidation. The claims protocol permitted CIC to pay Home as claims were allowed against it, and to set off debts Home owed against those payments in accordance with a New Hampshire statute. CIC sought to set off the reinsurance recoverables for claims against Home as reinsurer of the affiliated cedents against the payments that CIC had to pay Home under the claims protocol. The liquidator challenged the setoff, and the trial judge denied it, reasoning the debts lacked the mutuality the New Hampshire statute required. Specifically, the court found the assignment not absolute, because it required return of uncollectible reinsurance to the affiliated cedents at face value. CIC appealed, arguing the 1995 agreement assigned the affiliated cedents’ claims to CIC unconditionally, satisfying the mutuality requirement.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Hicks, J.)

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