44 Contingent liabilities, guarantees and indemnities
Provision for the liabilities arising under contracts with policyholders is based on certain assumptions. The variance between actual experience from that assumed may result in those liabilities differing from the provisions made for them. Liabilities may also arise in respect of claims relating to the interpretation of policyholder contracts, or the circumstances in which policyholders have entered into them. The extent of these liabilities is influenced by a number of factors including the actions and requirements of the PRA, FCA, ombudsman rulings, industry compensation schemes and court judgements.
Various group companies receive claims and become involved in actual or threatened litigation and regulatory issues from time to time. The relevant members of the group ensure that they make prudent provision as and when circumstances calling for such provision become clear, and that each has adequate capital and reserves to meet reasonably foreseeable eventualities. The provisions made are regularly reviewed. It is not possible to predict, with certainty, the extent and the timing of the financial impact of these claims, litigation or issues.
In 1975, Legal and General Assurance Society Limited (the Society) was required by the Institute of London Underwriters (ILU) to execute the ILU form of guarantee in respect of policies issued through the ILU’s Policy Signing Office on behalf of NRG Victory Reinsurance Company Ltd (Victory), a company which was then a subsidiary of the Society. In 1990, Nederlandse Reassurantie Groep Holding NV (the assets and liabilities of which have since been assumed by Nederlandse Reassurantie Groep NV under a statutory merger in the Netherlands) acquired Victory and provided an indemnity to the Society against any liability the Society may have as a result of the ILU’s requirement, and the ILU agreed that its requirement of the Society would not apply to policies written or renewed after the acquisition. Nederlandse Reassurantie Groep NV is now owned by Columbia Insurance Company, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Whether the Society has any liability as a result of the ILU’s requirement and, if so, the amount of its potential liability is uncertain. The Society has made no payment or provision in respect of this matter.
Group companies have given indemnities and guarantees as a normal part of their business and operating activities or in relation to capital market transactions. Legal & General Group Plc has provided indemnities and guarantees in respect of the liabilities of group companies in support of their business activities, including Pension Protection Fund compliant guarantees in respect of certain group companies’ liabilities under the Group Pension Fund and Scheme.