Hong Kong's top court confirms loss of cover

03 November 2014

The importance of complying with insurance warranties

Hong Kong's top court (the Court of Final Appeal – CFA) recently handed down its judgment in Hua Tyan Development Ltd v Zurich Insurance Co. Ltd [2014] HKEC 1489.  The judgment confirms that breach of a marine insurance warranty will generally discharge an insurer from liability, whether or not the warranty is material to the risk[1].

It is possible that an insurer could lose this protection if it unequivocally waives the breach; for example, knowing of a breach of warranty, the insurer chooses not to avoid cover.  However, what comes across from the CFA's judgment is that in practice an insured will need to point to clear evidence that the insurer has waived its right to avoid cover.  In this case, the fact that the insurer could have found out about the breach of warranty from information available on the internet did not fix the insurer with actual or presumed knowledge.

Read the full article here.

[1] Section 33(3) of the Marine Insurance Ordinance (Cap. 329).

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