Latest updates

Yacht hull insurance: coverage if insured was unaware that yacht was unfit to sail
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Germany
  • 14 October 2020

In 2019 the Flensburg court considered damage to a sailing yacht which had occurred during a sailing regatta (ie, a series of boat races) in 2010. The judgment strengthens the legal position of insureds with yacht hull insurance. It highlights that insurers have the onus to prove that the insured was aware of the unseaworthiness when the voyage commenced. It is not enough to prove the unseaworthiness – insurers must prove that the owner was aware thereof.

Damage of cargo during multimodal transport
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Germany
  • 07 October 2020

In a recently published decision, the Würzburg Regional Court held that if a carrier does not submit a single offer to the consignor for carriage by different means of transport for the entire route as requested, but rather makes separate offers for the inland and ocean-going routes, and these offers are accepted by the consignor, it is not a true multimodal contract, but rather an inland waterway contract and a separate ocean-going contract.

Yacht hull insurance: coverage if insured was unaware that yacht was unfit to sail
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Insurance
  • Germany
  • 06 October 2020

In 2019 the Flensburg court considered damage to a sailing yacht which had occurred during a sailing regatta (ie, a series of boat races) in 2010. The judgment strengthens the legal position of insureds with yacht hull insurance. It highlights that insurers have the onus to prove that the insured was aware of the unseaworthiness when the voyage commenced. It is not enough to prove the unseaworthiness – insurers must prove that the owner was aware thereof.

BER: all set for grand opening
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Aviation
  • Germany
  • 30 September 2020

The new Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) looks set to open its gates on 31 October 2020. Even if BER opens as currently scheduled, the public damage caused by its troubled history will remain. It remains to be seen how the numerous delays have harmed the original idea for the airport given the fact that its infrastructure has already become a bit outdated without ever having been used.

Contract of carriage by sea is not contract with protective effect in favour of other shippers
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Germany
  • 02 September 2020

A higher regional court recently found that a contract of carriage by sea is not a contract with protective effect in favour of other shippers. The shipper's obligations relating to proper and safe packaging and labelling were meant to primarily protect the carrier, not other shippers. The court's judgment, dismissing the idea of a contractual link between two shippers of the same carrier, does seem convincing.

In hot water: court rules on claim for cover against liability insurer
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Insurance
  • Germany
  • 01 September 2020

In 2018 the Celle Higher Regional Court ruled on a claim for cover against a liability insurer relating to a fire on a yacht that had also damaged other items. The judgment confirms – and well illustrates – the so-called 'separation principle' applicable under German liability insurance law. Liability insurers may learn from this judgment that careful consideration must be given to the reasons for which cover is denied; they could be forced to cover and indemnify for unjustified liability claims.

German Insurance Association releases amended sanctions clause
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Insurance
  • Germany
  • 25 August 2020

The German Insurers Association (GDV) recently released a new version of its sample sanctions clause. This article highlights the background of the changes and the current status of EU and German anti-boycott legislation. Insurers which use the GDV clause should keep an eye not only on the development of US sanctions against Iran, but also on US sanctions in general.

MRO agreements from airlines' perspective – combating effects of COVID-19
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Aviation
  • Germany
  • 15 July 2020

Under long-term maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) agreements, airlines must usually pay a certain rate per flight hour to obtain engine or other component maintenance and repair services or just to have access to a certain spare parts pool. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, most airlines have ceased their entire flight operations. This article addresses possible contractual clauses and statutory rights on which a claim to adjust payment obligations under an MRO agreement may be based.

Insurance premium tax: Federal Ministry of Finance issues guidelines on determination of policyholders
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Insurance
  • Germany
  • 07 July 2020

The Federal Ministry of Finance recently issued guidelines on the determination of policyholders who are persons of relevance for insurance premium tax (IPT) as their registered office in Germany might trigger IPT. These guidelines are especially relevant for vessel and aircraft insurance and English-language policies.

A city is a city but not a concrete legal venue
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Germany
  • 01 July 2020

Two freight forwarding companies were in dispute over the payment of freight forwarding charges in connection with a transport from Germany to the United Kingdom. After out-of-court negotiations failed, the plaintiff filed a complaint with the Duisburg Local Court. The plaintiff claimed that the local court's jurisdiction derived from its general terms and conditions, in which Duisburg was stated as the place of jurisdiction.

Federal Court of Justice rules on policyholder's insolvency under D&O insurance policy
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Insurance
  • Germany
  • 16 June 2020

The Federal Court of Justice recently examined the consequences of a policyholder's insolvency under a directors' and officers' (D&O) insurance policy. The ruling has clarified that the insured person's rights under a D&O insurance policy remain the same irrespective of the policyholder's insolvency. As a policyholder's insolvency often leads to liability claims against the (former) management, such situation is one of the most important matters for D&O insurance policies to cover.

Deliberate recklessness of carrier in disregard of instruction
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Germany
  • 10 June 2020

A higher regional court recently found that a carrier had acted with wilful misconduct by disregarding a claimant's shipping order which contained a clear instruction to refrain from parking in unguarded parking spaces. Senders are well advised to give clear instructions to carriers by agreements in their contracts of carriage. If such clear instructions by the customer are not followed and damage arises, the carrier faces the reproach of wilful misconduct.

E-ticket voucher not a valid ticket
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Aviation
  • Germany
  • 20 May 2020

A recent Eilenburg Local Court decision highlighted that a booking or reservation confirmation issued to a passenger by a tour operator with whom a flight has been booked should not necessarily be regarded as a confirmed booking under Article 3(2)(a) of the EU Flight Delay Compensation Regulation, even if the booking is referred to as an 'e-ticket voucher'. This decision underlines that the burden of proof for the existence of a confirmed booking will be borne by the passenger.

Limited liability of carrier's bodies in case of loss of deck cargo
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Germany
  • 13 May 2020

In 2018 the Hamburg Higher Regional Court ruled on a damages claim arising from the loss of deck cargo during a sea voyage. The court had to examine under what circumstances bodies acting on behalf of a carrier have acted with gross negligence where cargo goes overboard due to inadequate lashing or securing. In maritime transport, a gross organisational fault on the part of bodies acting on behalf of a carrier breaks the limitation of liability.

Damages claim dismissed under Montreal Convention
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Aviation
  • Germany
  • 13 May 2020

The Hamburg State Court recently rejected a damages claim arising from the cross-border transport of goods from the United States to Germany. The consignment was transported to Germany by air freight and was lost in a transhipment warehouse on the premises of Frankfurt Airport. The plaintiff claimed damages on the basis of German transport law and refused to settle the claim on the basis of the Montreal Convention.

Non-payment of insurance premium – legal consequences during COVID-19 pandemic
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Insurance
  • Germany
  • 12 May 2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Parliament recently passed an act whereby insurers, under certain circumstances, despite non-payment of an insurance premium, are temporarily prohibited from either terminating the insurance contract or refusing cover. Further, the act grants consumers and micro-enterprises a temporary right to refuse performance in the context of contracts for essential continuing obligations, including insurance contracts.

Obligation to pay compensation for damages following disruption of tram network
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Germany
  • 06 May 2020

The Frankfurt District Court recently ruled in a dispute between the operator of the city's tram network and the insurer of a vehicle which had parked in such a way as to block the tram tracks. The dispute concerned the plaintiff's claim for compensation for the damages that it had suffered as a result of the vehicle owner interfering in its business operations.

No right to compensation for company tariff booking
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Aviation
  • Germany
  • 06 May 2020

The Bremen Local Court recently dismissed a compensation claim under the EU Flight Delay Compensation Regulation for a delayed flight booked using a company tariff. The court has thus put a double stop to possible claims by employees. If a booking is made using a company tariff, claims are generally excluded. Even if a booking is made using a general tariff, the travelling employee cannot bring forward a legal action.

Business shutdown insurance in case of business interruption during COVID-19 crisis
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Insurance
  • Germany
  • 05 May 2020

One of the biggest risks for companies is business interruption. Companies can insure this risk under so-called 'business interruption' insurance policies; however, these policies generally provide cover only if the business interruption is the result of an insured property loss. The situation is completely different with so-called 'business shutdown' insurance, which is – at least so far – uncommon.

COVID-19, voyage charterparties and force majeure
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Germany
  • 22 April 2020

The closure of Chinese ports due to the COVID-19 pandemic raises the question of whether and under which conditions expenses and risks charterers may cancel their voyage charterparty in the event of the closure of a port due to COVID-19. This article examines German law from the charterer's point of view and asks in particular what happens if a voyage charterparty contains no force majeure clause.