Reasonable precautions

In Govender v Guardrisk, the insurer rejected liability under the policy on the basis that the insured had failed to “…take all reasonable precautions to prevent loss, damage, accidents…” as required by the relevant clause in the general terms and conditions of the policy. The defence failed because the insurer failed to prove that

In this judgment the insured sought an indemnity for its third-party liability arising from the motor vehicle collision in which the insured was involved.

The policy required the insured to “use all reasonable care and take all reasonable steps, with the same degree of care from us which can be expected from the reasonable man

The reasonable precautions clause which commonly appears in policies requires the insured to take reasonable steps to safeguard the insured property or prevent accidents and minimise loss, damage or liability (or variations thereof). The clause most likely requires proof of recklessness on the part of the insured but interestingly, there is no authoritative judgment by

Subject to the provisions of the policy, the fact that a loss or occurrence insured against is caused by the insured’s negligence is irrelevant. This applies to all negligent acts, even those that are grossly negligent. It also holds true for so-called reckless conduct, if the recklessness involved is nothing other than gross negligence.