International Cargo Insurance




Stephen V. Rible


Scope and structure of the chapter

8.1 Insurance policies are contracts construed and enforced under the general rules of contract law. Historically, American courts followed English law on matters involving marine insurance. 2 In 1955, however, the United States Supreme Court decided the case ofWilburn Boat Co v.Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co, 3 wherein the court held that, absent a well-established federal maritime law, or a determination that the interests of national uniformity require that a rule of federal maritime law be fashioned, the interpretation of a marine insurance contract follows state law. In the United States, marine cargo insurance contracts are prepared by brokers, underwriters or their agents. For over a century, the American Institute of Marine Underwriters (“AIMU”), a trade association, has served the ocean marine insurance industry and has published Standard Cargo Clauses for the marine insurance market. 4 This chapter will address the construction of All Risks Cargo Clauses based on the application of well-established federal maritime law, supplemented by notable instances of the application of state law with a focus on New York law. As a preliminary matter, the chapter will consider the formation of a valid contract of marine insurance, starting with the assured’s duty to disclose all material facts concerning the risk. After examining these rules, there follows an analysis of: (1) the formalities that apply to marine insurance contracts; (2) open cargo policies; (3) certificates of insurance; (4) warranties; and (5) exclusions and other conditions.

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