RHL history

RHL’s history stretches back over 200 years.

The earliest records show that William Richards & Sons was founded in 1813 and that Hogg Lindley & Co. was formed in 1919 but can trace its roots back to 1821. They merged in 1971 to form Richards Hogg International (RHI) and moved into premises near the Law Courts in Essex Street, London.

In 1994 Charles Taylor acquired the adjusting firm of Ernest Robert Lindley (which had been founded in 1915) and it acquired RHI in 1998, whereupon the merged business was renamed Richards Hogg Lindley (RHL). The Essex Street office is currently occupied by Charles Taylor’s P&I Management team.

Historical Notes – the Founding of the Association of Average Adjusters

The second half of the 18th Century saw an explosion in maritime trade and associated areas of commerce, not least marine insurance.  It appears that claims were referred to brokers or insurers who were respected for their knowledge: Lord Justice Mansfield in his judgement in Lewis v Rucker in 1761 said that he "endeavoured to get what assistance I could by conversing with some gentlemen of experience in adjustments".

That this informal system was found to be unsatisfactory was made clear by Weskett's scathing comments in his Complete Digest of the Theory Laws and Practice of Insurance, published in 1781. He lamented the lack of any proper system for dealing with claims, finding numberless instances of "unskillfulness. negligence and error" and despairing that "....litigation is become so rife, there is necessity, however strange it may appear, for the almost daily attendance, which may be observed, especially in term time, of no less than 4 or 5 Attornies at Lloyd's Coffee-House! What a degradation is this of mercantile character and abilities!"

The beginning of the 19th Century saw the emergence of the first known professional average adjusters, William Benecke and Robert Stevens, who practised in the City of London from 1800 onwards. Other adjusters there were, or followed soon afterwards, but it is difficult to identify them because there was no profession of average adjuster, as such. All early adjusters described themselves variously in directories as merchants, accountants, insurance brokers, solicitors or arbitrators and not until 1840 did the Post Office London directory give a classified entry for the profession.  Some idea of the novelty of the style "average stater" can be gleaned from the case of Pirie v. Steele in 1837.  William Richards was one of the average adjusters called as witnesses, and as he is mis-reported to have said, "I am a taker of averages", although he continued to call himself an accountant in the directories until '1842.

The first formal association of the individual average adjusters practising in this country took place in 1869, at the prompting of the underwriting members of Lloyd's and the Liverpool Underwriters Association.   When average adjusting as a separate profession was in its infancy, there was very little in the way of established law to guide the practising adjuster, and consequently many points of practice has to be decided in accordance with custom.  Some of these customs were subsequently ratified by legal decisions, but others were disapproved, and it became evident that unless steps were taken to establish a reasonable measure of uniformity among average adjusters, the profession would fall into disrepute therefore the Association directed its attentions to "The promotion of correct principles in the adjustment of Averages and uniformity of practice amongst Average Adjusters and the maintenance of good professional conduct".

The Association has continued to play an important part in various Committees in the London Market and has close relationship with other international associations and insurance markets.  An Association working party was closely involved in the drafting of new Int. Hull Clauses and the recent revision of the Builders Risks Clauses.

Key Contacts

Paul Silver
Managing Director, Marine

Tel +44 20 7015 2046
Mobile +44 7785 948 832

Benson Chiu
Managing Director - Greater China, Head of North Asia

Tel +852 2399 6188
Mobile +852 9831 2812

Richard Cornah

Tel +44 151 235 5554
Mobile +44 7785 948 830

Andrew Paton
Director - Marine

Tel +44 151 235 5567
Mobile +44 7798 775 075

Richards Hogg Lindley Contact Search

RHL News and Latest Publications

Introduction to Hull Claims

The nature of ships and the trades they ply gives rise to a wide variety of risks and exposes both the ship itself and those that run them to a multitude of different types of losses. Marine hull insurance, possibly the oldest type of insurance, steps in to combat the effect of these losses, and is a means by which shipowners can manage their risk. This publication gives an initial introduction to marine hull claims, and the role that average adjusters play.

An adjusters’ note on the supreme court decision in “The Longchamp” 

This case involved a chemical tanker that was seized on 29 January 2009 by Somali pirates. A ransom demand of US$6 million was made by the pirates. After negotiation, a final ransom of US$1.85 million was agreed on 22 March 2009 and the vessel was released.

An adjusters’ note on substituted expenses and ransom payments – “The Longchamp”

The Court of Appeal has reversed the 2014 High Court judgement that crew wages and fuel consumed during lengthy ransom negotiations with Somali pirates could be allowed as general average under Rule F of the York Antwerp Rules. This article provides insight into both the High Court and Court of Appeal decisions, and clarifies the test for establishing an allowance under Rule F.

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