With the aim of increasing competition in the insurance market, the parliamentary finance committee recently approved a proposed Ministry of Finance regulation that will reduce the minimum capital required for a new insurance company, thus enabling new players to enter this confined market. The change in equity requirements is notable and increases the opportunity for new investors to consider establishing insurance activities in Israel.
In a recent Supreme Court case, the insurer argued that it had been known that groundwater existed at a construction site before work commenced. Any damage caused as a result of groundwater was therefore foreseeable and not covered. The insured denied this and claimed that the insurance policy included no exclusion for groundwater damage. The court examined the contract's language to search for the contract's purpose based on the parties' intention before the insurance event.
A recent Tel Aviv Economic District Court case examined the issue of an insured's disclosure duty versus an insurer's obligation to conduct independent investigations. The court determined that an insured has a broad disclosure obligation during the underwriting of a policy, and that an insurance contract is subject to duties of good faith and fairness. Therefore, an insurer is entitled to rely on the information provided to it by an insured and is not obliged to conduct additional independent investigations.
The Central District Court recently declined a jewellers' block policy claim after the insurers proved that the claim had been filed with fraudulent intent. The case concerned an Israeli diamonteer who claimed that $10 million worth of diamonds had been stolen from him under the threat of violence. However, following an investigation by the insurers, it was revealed that a number of the stolen diamonds were still in the claimant's possession after the alleged robbery.
There is a fine line between whether the act or omission of a tortfeasor is covered by a professional indemnity or public liability policy. To complicate the situation in Israel, professional indemnity policies are issued on a claims-made basis and public liability policies on an occurrence basis. The Tel Aviv Magistrates Court recently addressed these matters.
Before the Insurance Contract Law 1981 was enacted, failure to take protective measures could lead to a complete loss of benefits. However, following its entry into force, most court rulings have applied Article 21 of the law, which provides that if the insured fails to take risk mitigation measures as stipulated in the insurance contract, the insurer may be entitled to reduce the insured's benefits or even be discharged from liability.
The minister of finance and the commissioner of capital markets, insurance and long-term savings recently published a draft directive designed to ensure better treatment of insureds with long-term care insurance policies. The directive intends to shorten and simplify the claims process and increase insurers' objectivity when evaluating an insured's medical situation.
In a recent decision, the District Court examined the Road Victims Compensation Law's scope with regard to a deceased's adult children. The court ruled that even though the Road Victims Compensation Law does not define a 'dependant' as a minor, adult children are generally not considered to be dependants. The court will consider adult children as dependants only in rare circumstances based on evidence proving actual dependence and a lack of financial independence.
The Supreme Court recently tackled the question of whether a non-admitted insurer is entitled to file a subrogation claim in Israel in its own name. The court upheld the Central District Court judgment which approved a motion to strike out a subrogation claim. The judgment creates a distinction between the procedure by which an admitted or non-admitted insurer can file a claim against a party responsible for loss or damage.
The Tel Aviv District Court recently determined that a professional liability insurance policy on a 'claims-made' basis does not apply to claims filed against the insured after expiration of the policy for circumstances which were known to the insured during the policy's set timeframe, but were not notified to the insurer.
A plaintiff recently filed a statement of claim with the Court of Family Affairs arguing that she was entitled to receive one-quarter of the insurance benefits which were paid, following her father's death, to his wife, who was not her mother. Since the policy wording was ambiguous regarding the identity of the beneficiary in case of death, the court was required to address the interpretation of the definition of 'beneficiaries' in the policy.
In a recent case, the plaintiff did not disclose previous insurance claims when asked to do so during a pre-contract phone call. However, the court rejected an allegation of fraudulent intent against the plaintiff and did not award the remedy available to the insurer of reducing insurance benefits in proportion to the additional premium which would have been charged had the full facts been known, as the need for an additional premium was not proven.
In a recent case concerning coverage offered by a directors' and officers' liability insurance policy, the Supreme Court ruled that, in some instances, several insureds can be insured under one policy. The court found that it is clear in such a case that an insured who acts maliciously will lose his or her right to policy coverage. However, the case raised the question of what happens to the other innocent insureds.
The Central District Court recently declined an insured's motion to file a third-party notice against its insurer in the framework of a class action. The case concerned a claim filed against several electrical appliance traders and importers. In its decision, the court highlighted that leave to file a third-party notice in a class action will be granted only if the defendant presents a proper basis for the liability of the third party.
In a recent Haifa Magistrates Court case the question arose as to whether an insured party must pay the deductible in accordance with an insurance policy if the claim filed against it is declined. In accordance with the policy, the court held that the insured was obliged to bear the deductible even if the amount paid by the insurer related solely to defence costs, and that this was the same whether the claim was accepted or declined.
The Israeli non-life insurance market uses an additional document to an insurance policy called an insurance policy confirmation, which is issued at the request of the insured and is usually requested by third parties that enter into a commercial contract with the insured. The Supreme Court recently determined that an insurance policy confirmation should be examined as part of the policy that extends the coverage afforded by a separate document.
A recent magistrate's court decision rejecting a claim filed after the limitation period prescribed by the Insurance Contract Law had expired raises an important issue relating to the liability of insurers to pay insurance in such circumstances. The plaintiff argued that the grounds for filing the claim were not based solely on the Insurance Contract Law, but also on breach of the Tort Law, contractual grounds and unjust enrichment.
In a recent case concerning damage sustained following the detonation of an explosive device attached to a vehicle, the Supreme Court had to decide whether this event should be regarded as a road accident. As the device was detonated by remote control, the court decided that there was no connection between the damage sustained and the vehicle's use for transportation as required by the Road Accident Victims Compensation Law.
Lawyers in Israel are not bound by law to purchase a professional indemnity policy, but most do. The question arises of whether certain behaviour amounts to negligence (which is covered by a professional indemnity policy) or whether it amounts to a breach of trust (which is not). The Tel Aviv District Court recently decided that a lawyer who favoured his own personal interest over his client's was not entitled to professional liability cover.
The Tel Aviv Magistrates Court recently handed down an alarming judgment in a case regarding a subrogation claim filed by a foreign insurer against a tortfeasor that was allegedly responsible for a fire at the insured's premises. The court accepted the defendant's claim that a foreign insurer is not an insurer under the insurance law and thus cannot avail of the independent right of subrogation.