In this October 2022 UK high court judgment, the court, in considering the meaning of the words “in connection with” in an aggregation clause, said that they denote that only a relatively loose link is required. A wide range of losses might potentially fall to be aggregated as being at least “connected with” an occurrence. The court said that the words “in connection with” are wide linking words.
The court held that the phrase “in connection with” in context and by reference to the purpose of the provision in question can denote a causal connection. What is required however can be a relatively weak causal linkage. The words do not require that the occurrence be the proximate, or sole, or main cause of the losses and could embrace indirect causation.
The court did say that it was not convinced that a reasonable policyholder would understand the linkage, although broad, to extend to a relationship which was not causal in any sense. The court found it difficult to think why parties would agree to treat losses which were “simply connected with” an event in an entirely non-causal way as being one loss for the purposes of the policy. There had to be some causal relationship. The occurrence should bear a meaningful causal relationship of the losses to be aggregated.
That is consistent with the approach of the court in Standard Life Assurance v Ace European Group2012 Lloyds Rep 655 where the court said the phrase “in connection with” is extremely broad and indicates that it is not necessary to show a direct cause or relationship between the claims and the state of affairs identified as their “originating cause or source”.
Some form of causal connection between the claims and the unified fact is all that is required.
And also in Campbell v Conoco 2003 1 ALL ER 35 the court said that the words have as “wide a connecting link as one can commonly come across”.