Valhalla insurance broker linked to $41M Afghan political violence claim

An international company claims that a Valhalla insurance broker and Lloyd’s London Insurers have refused to honor a $41 million claim for losses incurred when the Taliban overran its Bagram, Afghanistan warehouse.

Anham USA Inc. accused USI Insurance Services of fraud, negligence and civil conspiracy in an April 4 complaint filed in U.S. District Court, White Plains.

Bagram warehouse and compound, Afghanistan

USI and another broker “had substantial financial incentives to create a structure for insuring Anham for the Bagram warehouse,” the complaint states, and conspired with Lloyd’s London Insurers “to extract payments … for an insurance program that was deficient.”

USI did not reply to an email asking for its side of the story.

London barrister Peter John Sibley MacDonald Eggers denied that Lloyd’s insurers had a contract with Anham, in a declaration filed with the court on April 11, and demanded that the dispute be brought before an English court or London arbiter.

In 2011, Anham, of McLean, Virginia and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, won a contract to supply food to U.S. troops in Afghanistan. It built a $40 million, 1.3-million-square-foot warehouse and security compound near Bagram Air Base.

In 2012, Anham says, USI served as its broker and primary point of contact for negotiating political violence insurance. USI allegedly made a deal with Tysers Insurance Broker of the United Kingdom to help place a reinsurance contract with Lloyd’s.

The brokers advised Anham that it had to use an Afghan “fronting insurer,” according to the complaint, even if the risk would be borne by Lloyd’s. The fronting company, Afghan Global Insurance Ltd., facilitated compliance with local laws.

Anham says it never received an insurance policy from Afghan Global and instead received reinsurance certificates from Lloyd’s for coverage of riots, strikes, civil commotion, war, terrorism and political violence.

It claims that it paid more than $4 million in premiums to USI and that USI routed payments to Lloyd’s and Afghan Global.

In 2021, Taliban militants began taking over Afghan provinces as the Afghan government began to collapse. In August 2021, the Taliban seized control of the Bagram warehouse.

Anham declared the warehouse a $45 million loss, and it asked Lloyd’s and Afghan Global for $41 million, the full amount of the policy limits.

“Afghan Global has effectively disappeared,” according to the complaint, and Lloyd’s has denied coverage based on purported insurance exclusions and limitations and on allegations of criminality that Anham had not disclosed.

Lloyd’s “now hides behind bogus coverage defenses,” the complaint states, “while also asserting they are beyond Anham’s reach due to alleged lack of contractual privity.”

Anham accuses Lloyd’s and Afghan Global of breach of contract and civil conspiracy.

It is represented by Gilbert LLP of Washington, DC.


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