The Jerusalem Small Claims Court and the Netanya Small Claims Court both recently dismissed compensation claims for baggage delays, as the passengers did not comply with the Montreal Convention, according to which a complaint must be submitted within 21 days from the date of receipt of the baggage. However, the latter court ordered the airline to cover the plaintiffs' expenses, holding that the plaintiffs had clearly approached the court in good faith and that the airline's conduct had been inappropriate.
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 Tel Aviv Magistrates Court recently declined a passenger's claim for bodily injury damages after it concluded that the event which was the subject matter of the claim was not considered to be an 'accident' as defined by the Montreal Convention. The plaintiff had filed a claim against El Al, arguing that he had been injured after eating a cake served to passengers.
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.
The Rehovot Magistrate Court recently ruled that a flight that had departed on time, but been forced to return to the point of departure following a five-hour flight due to technical malfunctions, was a cancelled flight in accordance with the Aviation Services Law. Although there is no binding precedent, the courts have – in lower-instance decisions concerning the law – applied it in cases where the circumstances did not meet the literal interpretation of the law regarding cancelled flights.
The Jerusalem Magistrates Court recently dismissed a claim for bodily injury caused to a passenger during a flight, as the claim had been filed more than two years after the plaintiff had reached his destination. The court referred to the Montreal Convention and the Carriage by Air Law, which provide that the right to a claim will be extinguished after a two-year period, despite the local Limitation Law providing a seven-year limitation period from the date of an admission of liability.
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.
Since 2012 various lower court judgments have held that technical malfunctions which cause delays or cancellations to flights are not considered 'special circumstances' which exempt the carrier from paying the monetary compensation set by the Aviation Services Law. However, the Netanya Small Claims Court recently denied a claim and determined that a technical malfunction in an aircraft which caused a flight delay constituted special circumstances.
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.
The Petach Tikva Small Claims Court recently held that the Montreal Convention did not apply to an internal flight between two destinations in Spain, and that an Israeli court had jurisdiction to hear the claim. The court held that the convention does not apply in the case of an internal flight where the place of departure and destination are in the same country.
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.