Exeter University loses High Court battle centred on unexploded bomb


A multi-national insurance company has won a legal battle with Exeter University.

The dispute between the university and Allianz centred around the controlled explosion of a Second World War bomb at the Exeter campus two years ago.

Exeter University lodged a claim with its insurers following the controlled explosion of the bomb in 2022 which caused damage to halls of residence.

But Allianz disputed the claim saying it was covered in a war exclusion clause included in the policy agreement.

After months of wrangling High Court judge Nigel Bird ruled in favour of the insurance company.

He said: “The dropping of the bomb is an act of war and so the loss suffered is excluded from cover.”

Contractors working on a site next to the campus discovered the 1,000kg device in February 2020.

As a result, the campus and nearby residents had to be evacuated while a controlled explosion was carried out.

The high-explosive bomb had been dropped by the Luftwaffe in 1942 and was nicknamed “the Hermann” after Hermann Goring .

The university submitted an insurance claim under its policy with Allianz in relation to damage to halls of residence and “business interruption” linked to the temporary rehousing of students.

In a ruling on Wednesday, the judge said the insurer could have a court declaration that it was entitled to decline the university’s insurance claim.

The judge noted there was “no suggestion at all that the explosive load of the bomb had become any less lethal over time”.


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