Ramon A. Abadin (J. Albert Diaz)
A Miami-Dade jury has sided with a Miami reinsurance company in a dispute over $2 million in commissions, ending a five-year battle that spanned three countries.
The case resulted in a defense verdict for Ramon Abadin, a partner at Sedgwick in Miami, other attorneys from the firm’s Fort Lauderdale office and Robert Harris of Harris Law Firm Group of Miami.
Instituto Nacional de Seguros, or INS, a Costa Rican government agency, sued a reinsurance company, Miami-based Hemispheric Reinsurance Group Inc., and an insurance broker, London-based Howden Insurance Brokers Ltd. INS was represented by partner Petier Van Tol and a team of lawyers from the New York office of Hogan Lovells.
In 2009, INS sued the other two insurance concerns in Miami-Dade Circuit Court for $6.5 million, including interest and attorney fees. Concerned about damage from an earthquake or tsunami, INS put out a bid for reinsurance on Costa Rica’s power plants valued at $300 million. The bid was awarded to Hemispheric with Howden acting as the broker.
INS took issue with about $2 million in commission payments to the two companies and wound up terminating the contracts and hiring another reinsurance company. Hemispheric and Howden countersued to recover under the original contract.
After numerous failed mediations and intense settlement talks, an 11-day trial before Circuit Judge Beth Bloom ended March 4. Jurors deliberated for 2½ hours before finding INS breached the contract with Hemispheric and awarded nearly $1 million in damages, including interest. Attorneys for the defendants plan to file a motion seeking $4 million in attorney fees.
“Our client is very happy with the result, which they view as a complete vindication of their conduct in this very complicated reinsurance placement,” Abadin said.
Van Tol vowed to continue fighting.
“INS respectfully disagrees with the verdict and believes that the jury got it wrong,” he said. “INS will be filing a motion with the court for a new trial and, if that is unsuccessful, INS plans to appeal.”