Patrick Bracher (ZA)

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Damages under insurance contract with reinstatement value conditions

Where an insurance policy included reinstatement value conditions and the insured had taken immediate steps to comply with the reinstatement conditions, the insured could rely on the clause as long as the insured was genuinely desirous of restarting the business but was unable to do so because of the insurer’s unjustifiable decision not to indemnify … Continue reading

Contribution between insurers (US)

When Empire Insurance Company paid the claim for losses sustained by a car hire company when the hirer crashed their Lamborghini, it sought to recover its outlay from Allstate Insurance who insured the driver who was responsible for damage to the vehicle under the rental contract. The court held that Allstate was not entitled to … Continue reading

War exclusion requires hostilities between sovereign states (US)

A Californian court of appeals found that war exclusions which exclude coverage for expenses resulting from “war” or “warlike action by a military force” require hostilities between de jure or de facto governments (governments or entities essentially like governments). The insured was a film company producing a television series in Jerusalem when Hamas fired rockets … Continue reading

POPI progress

At the end of June 2019 the Information Regulator announced that the process of putting the Protection of Personal Information Act into effect is “going very slowly” and that: A CEO started on 1 June 2019; A CFO started on 1 July 2019; Other executives are being appointed; They are now at a point where they are … Continue reading

Rationality of an administrative decision

A government administrator’s decision may be irrational because it does not take into account a vital material fact for making a rational decision in the light of the empowering legislation and its purpose. The relevant question for rationality is whether the means, including the process of making a decision, are linked to the purpose or … Continue reading

Cyber cover must be specifically provided or excluded (Lloyd’s)

Lloyd’s of London requires its insurers to exclude or provide affirmative cover for cyber risks. Insurers connected to Lloyd’s must make sure they do not have unintended exposure to cyber risk. From the beginning of 2020 underwriters are required to ensure that their property damage policies specifically affirm or exclude cyber cover. This applies to … Continue reading

Corporate joint venture not a partnership

Section 13(1)(d) of the Prescription Act 1969 delays prescription where there is a debt between partners arising out of the partnership relationship. The legal relationship of partnership arises from a contract between two or more persons who each agree to make a contribution (whether in money, property or service) to a venture to be carried on … Continue reading

Bin with wheels is not a ‘vehicle’ (US)

A New York Appeals Court unsurprisingly found that a recycling bin with wheels, which ruptured a gas line used by residents of an apartment building, is not a ‘vehicle’. An all risks policy exclusion did not apply if there was ‘direct loss causing physical damage to covered property from vehicles’. The court said that not … Continue reading

Cyber insurance and the war exclusion

Cyber insurers should note the debate going on in London regarding reform of the war exclusion clause in cyber insurance. The perpetrators of cyber incidents are often untraceable and it is difficult to ascertain whether they constitute state-sponsored acts of war subject to the war exclusion clause. There is at least one pending action where … Continue reading

Meaning of the word ‘acquire’ and other interpretation issues

A building contractor sought to argue that the word ‘acquire’ in the Housing Consumers Protection Measures Act 1998 meant ‘buying or obtaining ownership’. The court held that the primary meaning of ‘acquire’ is ‘come to possess something’. The suggestion that persons who have rented their places of permanent residence have not ‘acquired a home’ as … Continue reading

Evidence of sudden and accidental pollution rejected (US)

A corporation which operated two industrial sites found significant amounts of ground water contamination. Its attempt to get insurance cover on the basis that the pollution was sudden and accidental was unsuccessful because the evidence of its expert was rejected as not being based on sound methodology. The pollution exclusion therefore defeated the claim. On … Continue reading

Powers of CIPC to investigate a Companies Act related complaint

The Supreme Court of Appeal made important findings regarding the powers of the Companies Commission to investigate a complaint. Where the complaint relates to the inaccuracy of the company records as to who was a director, the failure to ensure that the record was maintained accurately constitutes either an ongoing act or omission under section 219(1)(a) … Continue reading

Cyber risk warnings for insurers

The cautionary warnings continue for insurers regarding the cyber risks that they underwrite. Although cybersure is seen as one of the major opportunities for the insurance industry, there are a number of risks including the increasing frequency of cyberattacks, the difficulty in pricing for the risks, and the fact that existing policies, including liability and … Continue reading

The elements of defamation

The Johannesburg High Court discussed the balance between the constitutional right of freedom of expression and the required respect for inherent dignity ‘to all human beings’. The defendant argued the allegedly defamatory statements made about the plaintiff were true and in the public interest. It is for the defendant in a defamation claim to establish … Continue reading
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