Levitan, Sharon & Co updates

Are insurers exempt from liability towards third parties where insured driver was drunk?
Levitan, Sharon & Co
  • Insurance
  • Israel
  • 18 December 2018

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.

Aviation Services Law does not apply to domestic flights outside Israel
Levitan, Sharon & Co
  • Aviation
  • Israel
  • 28 November 2018

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.

Denial of liquidator claim based on 20-year-old claims-made policy
Levitan, Sharon & Co
  • Insurance
  • Israel
  • 09 October 2018

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.

How does insured's fraudulent claim affect third-party insurance rights?
Levitan, Sharon & Co
  • Insurance
  • Israel
  • 21 August 2018

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.

Passenger's responsibility to arrive at departure gate on time
Levitan, Sharon & Co
  • Aviation
  • Israel
  • 25 July 2018

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.

Importance of providing insurance policies to insureds
Levitan, Sharon & Co
  • Insurance
  • Israel
  • 19 June 2018

An insured recently filed a claim against its insurer with the Jerusalem Magistrate Court, which dismissed the claim based on policy exclusions. The insured then appealed to the district court, which found that the insured was entitled to insurance benefits as there was no proof that it had received a copy of the policy and been aware of the exclusions. The insurer requested leave to appeal to the Supreme Court, which dismissed the appeal and ordered the insurer to bear the insured's expenses.

Withdrawal of class action due to lack of individual cause of action
Levitan, Sharon & Co
  • Insurance
  • Israel
  • 24 April 2018

The plaintiff in a recent case filed a claim and a motion to certify the claim as a class action against the insurer. The insurer paid the plaintiff only 85% of the actual damage and notified her that following the examination of the parties' versions and the damaged parts of the cars involved, it had deducted the plaintiff's contributory negligence at a rate of 15%. The insurer argued, among other things, that the plaintiff had no individual cause of action.

Is insured obliged to pay deductible despite objection to settlement?
Levitan, Sharon & Co
  • Insurance
  • Israel
  • 03 April 2018

A recent Haifa Magistrate's Court decision concerned Hachshara Insurance Company's claim that its insured must pay the deductible despite objecting to the settlement agreement signed between the insurer and a third party. The insured had claimed that she was not required to pay the deductible as the insurer had reached the settlement without informing her and she had objected to it. The court rejected both claims and ordered the insured to pay the deductible plus legal fees.

Duty to file complaint for baggage delay within period set by Montreal Convention
Levitan, Sharon & Co
  • Aviation
  • Israel
  • 28 February 2018

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.

Ministry of Finance eases requirements to obtain insurer's licence in Israel
Levitan, Sharon & Co
  • Insurance
  • Israel
  • 20 February 2018

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.

Is groundwater flooding a foreseen event in a construction policy?
Levitan, Sharon & Co
  • Insurance
  • Israel
  • 23 January 2018

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.

Insured's disclosure duty versus insurer's obligation to conduct independent investigations
Levitan, Sharon & Co
  • Insurance
  • Israel
  • 19 December 2017

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.

What is considered an 'accident' under Montreal Convention?
Levitan, Sharon & Co
  • Aviation
  • Israel
  • 13 December 2017

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.

Court declines jewellers' block claim, accepting argument of fraud
Levitan, Sharon & Co
  • Insurance
  • Israel
  • 24 October 2017

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.

Interpretation of cancelled flight under Aviation Services Law
Levitan, Sharon & Co
  • Aviation
  • Israel
  • 11 October 2017

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.

Montreal Convention prevails over local law on limitation period
Levitan, Sharon & Co
  • Aviation
  • Israel
  • 09 August 2017

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.

Third-party liability or professional indemnity – which policy should apply?
Levitan, Sharon & Co
  • Insurance
  • Israel
  • 18 July 2017

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.

Failure to implement risk mitigation measures results in dismissal of insurance clause
Levitan, Sharon & Co
  • Insurance
  • Israel
  • 30 May 2017

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.

Skyfail: technical malfunction which delayed flight considered special circumstances
Levitan, Sharon & Co
  • Aviation
  • Israel
  • 17 May 2017

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.

Draft directive will ensure quick and fair settlement of long-term care insurance claims
Levitan, Sharon & Co
  • Insurance
  • Israel
  • 09 May 2017

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.

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