In June 2021 the High Court of Australia held that a clause in a business interruption policy that excluded diseases that were “declared to be quarantinable diseases under the Quarantine Act, 1908 and subsequent amendments” did not include diseases quarantinable under the Biosecurity Act, 2015 which had repealed and replaced the 1908 Act.

The insurers argued that a reasonable person would have understood the words “and subsequent amendments” to include a reference to the replacement Biosecurity Act.  The court held that “subsequent amendments” could not be construed as a reference to a replacement statute.

The court refused an application for leave to appeal and the matter has gone back to the lower court to deal with the question whether the cover for the insureds for Covid-19 losses was indemnified under the other terms of the policy.

[HDI Global Specialty SE v Wonkana No 3 (Pty) Ltd [2020] NSWCA 296]