In a recent and precedential Supreme Court judgment, the court dealt with the application of the 'innocent insured doctrine' and determined that the doctrine applies in Israel. Hence, where an insurer is entitled to be discharged of liability towards an insured, in some cases, the exemption may not apply vis-à-vis other co-insureds. In this case, the doctrine did not limit the discharge of the insurer.
The outbreak and spread of COVID-19 in Israel is affecting businesses and the movement of individuals, as well as significant reductions in commercial activity. This article examines how COVID-19 will affect insurance litigation and what can be expected in the long term.
The Tel Aviv District Court recently approved an appeal filed by Ukraine International Airlines and determined that the provision of alternative flight tickets resulting in a delay of less than eight hours following a delay in the first segment of a journey did not constitute the cancellation of a flight under the Aviation Services Law. The decision overturned a Small Claims Court decision and provides clarity on the meaning of a 'cancelled flight' under Israeli law.
In a recent decision, the Supreme Court clarified the boundary between maintaining the commissioner of insurance's directive requiring the full grounds and reasons for dismissing a claim to be included in a letter of declination and insurers' right to provide additional details in their statement of defence. The court accepted the insurer's position that it is acceptable to elaborate on declination arguments raised in a letter of declination.
The Haifa District Court and the Tel Aviv District Court recently issued conflicting decisions on the question of whether foreign insurers can file subrogation claims through their insured after paying the insured insurance benefits. In each case, the alleged tortfeasor requested that the court strike out the foreign insurer's claim, arguing that the latter had no right to file the claim in Israel as it was a non-admitted insurer.
In most cases, flights are operated by aircraft that arrive at an airport from a previous flight. As such, flights are sometimes delayed or cancelled due to a delay or cancellation of the previous flight. The Tel Aviv District Court recently denied a motion for leave to appeal filed by a passenger whose claim regarding the cancellation of his flight due to lightning damage to the aircraft which had occurred during the previous flight was denied by the Tel Aviv Small Claims Court.
Employees in Israel are automatically insured for work accidents by the National Insurance Institute (NII). Until recently, if an insured filed a claim against a third party and the claim was settled, such a settlement was perceived as an admission of liability with regard to the NII's subrogation. A recent Tel Aviv District Court judgment has changed this perception.
The Supreme Court recently declined an appeal filed by an insured and several companies controlled by him against the insurers Allianz Versicherungs, Menorah Mivtachim Insurance Company and HDI-Gerling Industrie Versicherungs. The insurers had argued and proved in the district court that the claim was fraudulent. The Supreme Court stated in the appeal that the factual basis determined by the district court was sufficient to conclude that the insured event had not occurred.
The Small Claims Court recently rejected two passengers' claim that their flight should be considered a cancelled flight under the Aviation Services Law. The case examined whether an airline should pay compensation for a missed connecting flight when passengers book two flights from the same company with a short connection time.
The Rishon LeZion Magistrate's Court recently addressed the extent to which insurers are responsible to their policyholders and whether this responsibility is limited to matters included in a policy. The case concerned a claim filed by an insured against an insurer for damages caused as a direct result of a water leak. The court ruled that the insurer had acted negligently as its representative had misled the policyholder regarding the insurance coverage offered.
Under the Aviation Services Law (Compensation and Assistance for Flight Cancellation or Change of Conditions), passengers who are denied boarding are entitled to compensation. However, in two recent district court judgments concerning passengers that were denied boarding, the courts found that passengers must arrive at the boarding gate on time. As this duty had not been fulfilled in either case, the airlines were not obliged to pay compensation.
Israel has a no-fault system for road accident compensation under the Road Accident Victims Compensation Law. According to the law, drivers must have a valid insurance policy that covers all bodily injuries. This mandatory insurance system ensures that drivers, passengers and any third parties receive compensation when injured in a road accident. Further, it provides compensation to pedestrians who have been hit and injured by an insured motor vehicle.
The Tel Aviv District Court recently acknowledged jurisdiction over a claim filed by an Israeli insurer against a foreign reinsurer that had refused to participate in a settlement agreed by all of the other reinsurers. The court noted that there was no dispute that the reinsurers' agreement included an exclusive jurisdiction clause referring to the Israeli courts and ordered a statement of claim to be served on the reinsurer.
The Beit Shean Small Claims Court recently declined a claim for compensation under the Aviation Services Law due to a delayed flight. The plaintiff had booked a return flight from Tel Aviv to Amsterdam with Arkia Airlines, which arrived in Amsterdam late after a nine-and-a-half-hour delay due to a technical fault. The court dismissed the claim and found that Arkia had proved that the technical malfunction had been caused by a fault in the aircraft's wing shelving, which had been beyond the airline's control.
Insureds purchase insurance coverage for their potential liability according to the level of their exposure towards third parties. In a recent judgment, the organisers of a cycling competition were found liable towards a cyclist who had been injured during a competition, and their insurance coverage was well below the damages that the court imposed. Following this judgment, sporting event organisers should reconsider the scope of their insurance coverage.
The Supreme Court recently dismissed the appeal of an insurer, declining its allegation that it should be exempt from liability towards a third party as the insured had driven under the influence of alcohol. The court determined that the standard motor vehicle insurance policy is aimed at protecting the insured. Further, an insurer's liability should not be narrowed and damage caused by a driver who drives under the influence of alcohol should not be excluded from coverage.
The Tel Aviv Small Claims Court recently declined a passenger's claim for compensation against Qantas and Worldwide Travel and Tourism Ltd, concluding that as the flight in question was a domestic flight within New Zealand, Israeli law did not apply. The court stated that a 'flight operator' is defined in Clause 1 of the Aviation Services Law as an operator that operates flights to and from Israel. Therefore, the law does not apply when connecting flights to Israel are operated by a different airline.
The Jerusalem District Court recently dismissed a liquidator claim against an insurer based on a claims-made policy that had been issued 20 years previously and expired four years later. The court stated that it could not accept a claim filed 16 years after a company had stopped paying its claims-made insurance premiums as doing so could create a situation in which a policy never ends, which would be unreasonable.
The Supreme Court recently examined whether Article 25 of the Insurance Contract Law, which discharges an insurer of liability where an insured or beneficiary submits a fraudulent claim, also applies to third-party claims made in good faith. The court's decision clarifies that fraud by an insured will also affect bona fide third-party claims and that the total discharge of an insurer does not require a causal connection between the fraud and the insurer's liability to be proven.
The Tel Aviv Magistrates Court recently declined a passenger's claim that Turkish Airlines should compensate him for being denied boarding. The court concluded that the plaintiff had failed to arrive at the departure gate on time and that he had known, or should have known, the final boarding time for passengers.