German law provides several circumstances in which the limitation period in an insurance coverage dispute may be suspended, subject to the case facts. However, to avoid the risk of an insurance claim becoming time barred, assureds should pursue claims diligently. A recent case before the Dresden Higher Regional Court is a useful reminder that suspending limitation periods due to negotiations requires that the insurer is actively involved in the matter.
In a recent judgment the Federal Court of Justice heard an action commenced by an English plaintiff under a bill of lading against the German owner of a vessel in respect of a cargo of steel carried from England to Sweden. The court confirmed its own previous decisions, according to which an identitiy of carrier clause has no effect if the bill of lading identifies a carrier by name.
A recent ruling of the Regional Court of Hamburg appears to be the first German decision in an ocean transport case to at least consider the application of German land transport law to cargo handling in a terminal at a foreign port. However, this requires that the parties effectively agree on a non-customary delivery alongside the vessel and that such delivery actually takes place.
A recent case confirms that pay-to-be-paid clauses in insurance contracts are valid under German law. Such claims can be validly assigned to third parties such as banks. If this is done, later attachments by third parties have no effect. The decision also confirms that a lien on cargo does not qualify as damage to cargo.