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1. Ownership of Damaged Cargo
Most assureds have the impression that the title to all damaged goods is automatically transferred to the insurance company and that the assured will have no further interest in the cargo. This is not the case and any claimant who acts in accordance with such belief may find himself jeopardizing the very rights he/she may be trying to protect. The most important thing to remember is that the cargo insured under the marine insurance policy belongs to the assured and the assured alone is the one who has sustained the loss.
Contrary to popular belief, the insurance company has no legal title to the goods and is not a party to the contract of carriage within the terms of the bill of lading. The insurance company can only pursue the marine insurance claim against carriers after proving the loss has been paid under the policy. The assured must protect the insurance company’s right to subrogate.
The fact is that the cargo insured under the marine insurance policy remains the property of the assured, and under limited circumstances will an insurance company agree to take title to or sell it.
2. 'ONUS OF GOOD FAITH'
An assured does not have the right to abandon the cargo insured under the marine insurance policyand have to take action which could result in averting or minimizing a loss or damage. In other words, assureds must at all times act in the same manner as they would in the event they were uninsured. This is called the 'Onus of Good Faith' and it is the basis on which all insurance is governed.
3. Minimizing a known loss
Some assureds will question the right to incur an expense in order to minimize a loss before receiving the insurance company's authority to incur that expense. Provided the expense incurred is reasonable relative to the amount of loss you are trying to avoid, the insurance company will pay for those expenses. This contingency is covered under the 'sue and labor' clause of most marine policies.
4. Notify the Carrier
Its important to notify the carrier regarding the damage.
While it is necessary to place the carrier on notice within the given time frame (refer claims procedures for indicative timelines), payment from them should never be accepted without first advising the insurance company.
Accepting payment from the carrier without notifying the insurance company prejudices the insurance company's right of subrogation and violates a provision of your policy which may jeopardize the outcome of the claim.
When in doubt, write to us at [email protected]
Standard & Poor's
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