Employers Reinsurance Corporation (“ERC”) filed suit in Missouri federal court against its reinsured, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (“MassMutual”) alleging that MassMutual breached the parties’ reinsurance agreement. MassMutual filed various counterclaims alleging that ERC breached the contract by failing to reimburse it for covered claims under the contract. ERC sought dismissal of MassMutual’s counterclaims for vexatious refusal under Missouri and Kansas law and breach of fiduciary duty.
In dismissing both vexatious refusal claims, the court did not reach the substantive issue of whether the Missouri and Kansas statutes apply to a reinsurance contract, but rather dismissed on the ground that Connecticut law, and not Missouri or Kansas law, applied to the parties’ reinsurance contract. Applying Connecticut law, the court also dismissed MassMutual’s claim for breach of fiduciary duty, concluding that the “defendant has failed to plead sufficient facts in its counterclaim supporting a fiduciary relationship between plaintiff and defendant.” Specifically, the defendants failed “to allege facts that there was a unique degree of trust and confidence between the parties or that plaintiff had superior knowledge, skill, or expertise.” The court added that “[c]considering that Connecticut courts have deemed that there is no fiduciary relationship between an individual policy holder and a sophisticated insurance company, they are not likely to imply one in a reinsurance relationship between two sophisticated insurance companies.” Employers Reinsurance Corp. v. Massachusetts Mutual Life Ins. Co., Case No. 06-0188-CV-W-FJG (W.D.Mo. April 10, 2007).