Insurance updates

Austria

Contributed by Schoenherr
New unified cancellation right for insurance contracts brings legal certainty
  • Austria
  • 26 March 2019

Until 2018, Austria had up to five different cancellation rights for insurance policyholders, plus the cancellation right pursuant to Section 8 of the Distance Financial Services Act. Thus, the legal situation was confusing. However, this has finally changed. Since 1 January 2019, a new Section 5c of the Insurance Contract Act provides for one unified cancellation right.

FMA publishes new circulars concerning PRIIPS and remuneration policies
  • Austria
  • 13 March 2018

The Financial Market Authority (FMA) recently published a new circular concerning key information documents for packaged retail and insurance-based investment products. The FMA had already published a revised version of its circular on sound remuneration policies and practices on January 19 2018.


Brazil

Appellate court rules that subrogated insurers assume same rights and limitations as assureds
  • Brazil
  • 16 July 2019

A recent Sao Paulo State Appellate Court case concerned a carriage of goods by sea from Port Everglades (United States) to the port of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). The court's decision sets an important precedent in recognising that subrogation cannot be used to reinstate a right that no longer applies where a rights holder fails to observe a legal requirement. Therefore, subrogated insurers assume the same rights and limitations as assureds.

Court finds P&I club not directly and jointly liable for associate shipowners' debts
  • Brazil
  • 21 August 2018

The Sixth Civil Chamber of the Rio de Janeiro State Court of Appeals recently decided that a protection and indemnity (P&I) club was not liable for an associate shipowner's debts. In its decision, the court distinguished the P&I club from insurers operating in the Brazilian insurance market. This decision is paramount because it creates an important court precedent regarding P&I clubs' liability for the damages caused to third parties by their associates.


Canada

Contributed by Theall Group LLP
Good-faith obligations survive bankruptcy of insured
  • Canada
  • 26 November 2019

The general position that bankruptcy can substantially vary the rights of insureds has often been argued and rejected. A recent Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision has confirmed that an insurer's duty of good faith is not extinguished on the bankruptcy of the insured.

Speak now or forever hold your peace: court rejects insurer's attempt to withdraw defence
  • Canada
  • 19 November 2019

The Ontario Court of Appeal recently held that an insurer which had defended its insured for 10 months, without a reservation of rights, could not rely on a policy exclusion to withdraw its defence. In this decision, the court did not find it necessary to distinguish between waiver and estoppel. As such, insurers and insureds alike should ensure that they appreciate the potential consequences applicable to both waiver and estoppel and govern themselves accordingly.

Ontario Court of Appeal: insured's failure to provide up-to-date address not breach of duty to cooperate
  • Canada
  • 02 July 2019

The Ontario Court of Appeal recently reconfirmed that an insured's duty to cooperate with defence council appointed by its insurer is not subject to a standard of perfection. This case serves as a strong reminder that a breach of the duty to cooperate must be substantial. It shows that, in practice, without real consequences arising from an insured's conduct, there can be no substantial breach of the duty to cooperate.

Coverage 'thrilla' in Manila – court finds underinsured endorsement provides worldwide coverage
  • Canada
  • 25 June 2019

A recent Alberta Court of Queen's Bench decision demonstrates that policyholders must carefully consider the interplay between an insurance policy and its endorsements. One consideration is the distinction between endorsements that provide standalone coverage and those intended only to modify an existing policy's terms. However, most important is the overarching principle that any limitations of coverage should be clearly stated.

Ontario court rejects well-established rules for interpreting insurance policy exclusions
  • Canada
  • 14 May 2019

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice recently concluded that insurance policies should be interpreted differently when multiple insurers are involved. This decision runs contrary to the basic rules of contractual interpretation and conflicts with well-established precedent. If followed, it could lead to commercially unreasonable results and erode the benefits of coverage available to insured parties.


Cayman Islands

New opportunities for blockchain use in insurance industry
Ogier
  • Cayman Islands
  • 21 January 2020

It has been more than a decade since blockchain – or distributed ledger technology – appeared on the financial services landscape. Yet, it is still capable of generating excitement as its value in transforming processes continues to develop. As blockchain increases its reach and its impact in specific industries grows, this will generate a need for suitable models of insurance. Cayman-based technology companies have expressed interest in buying insurance from local insurers.


China

Contributed by AnJie Law Firm
Product innovation: litigation property preservation liability insurance
  • China
  • 21 January 2020

In terms of premium revenue, China is the second largest insurance market in the world. However, regulators and insurers are often frustrated due to a lack of insurance innovation. In response to such frustration, litigation property preservation liability insurance has emerged and become a typical insurance solution to satisfy market demand and address unique Chinese insurance requirements in order to align them with the country's judicial system.

Applicability of right of subrogation in Chinese reinsurance context
  • China
  • 07 January 2020

Insurance subrogation is an important legal mechanism which enables insurers to reduce their losses after insurance indemnities are paid. However, opinions differ as to the application of reinsurers' right of subrogation. This article answers questions which frequently arise in this regard from a Chinese perspective.

Have foreign-invested insurer licences been made available to foreign investors?
  • China
  • 16 July 2019

For foreign investors with an eye on the Chinese insurance market, obtaining an insurance intermediary licence is a good idea. However, compared with insurance brokerage licences, insurance agency licences are difficult for foreign investors to obtain. Therefore, foreign investors that wish to acquire control over a Chinese insurer should consider either setting up a new foreign-invested insurer or acquiring an existing foreign-invested insurer.

Essential provisions in Chinese reinsurance contracts
  • China
  • 09 July 2019

During the past five years, the Chinese courts and arbitration institutions have handled major disputes relating to reinsurance contracts. These cases prompted legislation in the reinsurance sector and drew attention to the need for more careful wording in reinsurance contracts. This article provides an overview of several essential provisions in reinsurance contracts under Chinese law.

Who is China's new insurance regulator?
  • China
  • 18 June 2019

The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission was recently formally unveiled in Beijing, marking the official launch of the new regulatory authority. This merger of the former China Banking Regulatory Commission and China Insurance Regulatory Commission is the biggest reform of China's financial regulatory system in more than 15 years and marks the start of the 'one committee, one bank, two commissions' regulation framework.