Latest updates

Non-payment of insurance premium – legal consequences during COVID-19 pandemic
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • 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.

Business shutdown insurance in case of business interruption during COVID-19 crisis
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • 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.

Insurability of corporate fines: new draft law's implications for insurance industry
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Germany
  • 31 March 2020

In 2019 the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection presented its draft bill for a new and independent law on corporate penalties. Pursuant to the draft bill, considerable fines may be imposed not only on the persons involved in wrongdoing, but also on companies. This will significantly affect insurance cover, especially in the areas of professional indemnity and directors' and officers' insurance.

Small differences matter: pre-contractual duty of disclosure and lack of knowledge due to negligence
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Germany
  • 03 March 2020

In a recent decision, the Federal Court of Justice once again stressed the difficulties in and the importance of obtaining a precise legal subsumption of the established facts where the pre-contractual duty of disclosure is concerned. The decision is relevant for all insurance contracts that fall under the Insurance Contract Act, although special regulations exist.

Court rules on representative action undertaken by insurance agent on insurer's behalf
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Germany
  • 04 February 2020

The Hamburg Court of Appeal has expressly discarded an earlier obiter dictum, ruling that a representative action (ie, an authority to pursue the claim of another in one's own name) by an insurance agent on behalf of the insurer stops time only if the agent disclosed its authority and the name of the represented insurer when filing the action. A later disclosure of the authority – which existed at the time of lodging the claim – in court has no retroactive effect and does not interrupt the limitation period.

Insurers' duty to advise assureds in cases of amended general terms and conditions
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Germany
  • 21 January 2020

A recent Hamm Higher Regional Court decision concerning insurers' duty of advice continues the previous case law in respect of partly favourable and partly unfavourable new conditions or conditions that are merely more favourable for the policyholder. The case highlights the question of whether insurers have a duty to advise assureds of amendments made to the general terms and conditions in their insurance policies, particularly with regard to linguistic amendments.

Insurers beware: CMR jurisdiction rules apply to direct claims against carriers' liability insurers
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Germany
  • 24 December 2019

The Federal Court of Justice recently ruled on the appropriate jurisdiction regarding a head carrier's insurer's direct claim against subcarriers' liability insurers. The first and second instances had affirmed their international jurisdiction and admitted the direct claim against the liability insurer on the basis of Article 31(1)(1)(b) of the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road. The Federal Court of Justice confirmed this approach.

Proximate cause of grounding in bad weather after engine problems and insurers' right to information
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Germany
  • 03 December 2019

The Bremen Court of Appeal recently held that the proximate cause of a vessel's grounding after its main engine had cut out was the bad weather, rather than the engine problem. Further, the insurer's right to request information from the assured was limited to information relating to the proximate cause and did not extend to remote causes. This decision is highly questionable in respect of both causation and insurers' right to information.

Insurance law aspects of recourse claims against subcarriers
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Germany
  • 08 October 2019

The Dusseldorf Higher Regional Court has ruled on the insurance law aspects of recourse claims against subcarriers. This decision demonstrates that an insured's entitlement to claim compensation can be safeguarded if the insurer supplies a written declaration authorising the insured to continue the recourse proceedings, irrespective of whether the insurer has compensated the insured.

Suspension of limitation period in coverage dispute
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Germany
  • 03 September 2019

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.

Subsidiary clauses in mandatory vehicle insurance contracts
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Germany
  • 06 August 2019

Motor vehicle liability insurance is mandatory for vehicles admitted to travel on public roads in Germany (the same applies to non-motorised trailers and semi-trailers) and covers damages caused by the policyholder to third parties or their vehicles. However, a Federal Court of Justice decision emphasises that subsidiary clauses in mandatory insurance contracts which limit liability are void unless such exemptions are legally permitted or agreed on by the insurers.

Pleasure yacht insurance: navigating without up-to-date charts and proper voyage plan
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Germany
  • 02 July 2019

In a notable hull insurance case, the Celle Court of Appeal dismissed an action brought by an assured pleasure yacht owner who had been sailing on the Baltic Sea and ran aground. The case facts suggest that assureds are often unaware of the impact that outdated chart materials can have on hull insurance and liability cover.

Prohibition on passing on commission in reinsurance context – exemption uncertainty
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Germany
  • 21 May 2019

The controversial prohibition on passing on commission forbids brokers and insurers from granting or promising special remuneration to policyholders, insured persons or beneficiaries under an insurance contract. According to the legislature, the prohibition was upheld during the implementation of the EU Insurance Distribution Directive into national law over the past three years. However, whether reinsurance remains excluded from the prohibition is unclear.

Dieter Schwampe
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Hamburg
  • Germany
Olaf Hartenstein
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Hamburg
  • Germany
Maximilian Guth
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Hamburg
  • Germany
Steffen Maelicke
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Hamburg
  • Germany
Carolin Schilling-Schulz
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Hamburg
  • Germany
Katharina Sarah Bressler
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Hamburg
  • Germany
Christian Genz
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Munich
  • Germany