Michael Flatley asks court to prevent insurer from cancelling coverage for his Cork mansion

22 February 2024

Michael Flatley has claimed before the High Court that an insurance company plans to pull the cover it has been providing for his Co Cork-period mansion.

The former Riverdance star has brought proceedings against several parties before the commerical division of the High Court over an alleged €30 million worth of damage caused to Castlehyde Manor.

He claims one of the defendants, the Irish branch of Hiscox Societe Anonyme, has said it will no insure the property from March 8th onwards.

As a result of the latest twist to the ongoing legal dispute, Mr Flatley, represented by Ronnie Hudson Bl instructed by solicitor Max Mooney, secured permission from the court on Wednesday to seek an order restraining Hiscox from cancelling the policy.

He also sought an injunction preventing Hiscox from denying Mr Flatley insurance cover in respect of the Fermoy property from March 8th until the determination of the proceedings or for the duration of the policy.

Permission to seek those orders was granted on an ex-parte basis on Wednesday afternoon, and the matter will return before the court later this week.

In a sworn statement to the court in support of the application, the entertainer and producer said that he has insured the property with Hiscox, via a brokerage, for the last few years.

He claims that under the policy he pays the insurer a premium of over €5,700 per month.

He said that the insurer has been aware that he had to vacate the property late last year due to health concerns.

Policy cancellation

Mr Flatley said the policy was renewed last November for a further 12 months.

However, earlier this month, he said his solicitor, Mr Mooney, was told that the insurer wished to cancel the policy on the grounds that the occupancy of the property was different to its understanding when the policy was agreed and renewed.

The policy, Hiscox added, will cease from March 8th.

Mr Flatley disputes that assertion, and says the insurer knows it should be paying his monthly relocation expenses of up to €80,000, but has refused to do so.

He adds that Hiscox is attempting to mitigate its loss and allegedly prejudice his action against it.

The insurer, he claims, is seeking to cancel the policy in circumstances where it allegedly knew the risks before it renewed the policy last November.

He fears that it would be very difficult to obtain an alternative insurer if Hiscox is allowed to cancel the policy, leaving the protected property “in jeopardy”.

Previously, the court heard the Lord of the Dance star claims he has invested more than €29 million since acquiring the property in 1999.

In his main action, Mr Flatley has sued over what he claims are alleged unsafe levels of toxic chemical residue at Castlehyde, including on the wall surfaces in the pool, spa and cinema areas.

He claims that both his own and his family’s health have suffered as a result of the alleged contamination, and that last October they had to move out of the property.

Mr Flatley claims the alleged unsafe levels of chloride residue are due to PVC combustion in a 2016 fire at the estate and that the alleged main renovation contractor, Austin Newport Group Ltd, was allegedly aware of a residue issue.

Mr Flatley is also suing three insurance underwriters: MS Amlin Underwriting Ltd, AXA XL Underwriting Agencies LTD and Hamilton Managing Agency Limited alleging negligence, endangerment, misrepresentation and breach of duty and contract.

Hiscox SA, which has an Irish address at Sir Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2, was subsequently added to the case over the alleged damage to the property.

It was added because, the plaintiff alleges, it has not paid him anything for having to vacate his home. All of the allegations are denied.

The insurers are also seeking to have the case referred to out-of-court arbitration due to a clause in an alleged €3.9 million settlement of a claim by Mr Flatley on his insurance policy over the fire.

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