Insurance Law

Insurance Law

Authors: Michael Bath, Partner & Wendy Bure, Senior Associate

It is often argued that, where an insurance policy requires an insured to comply with a statute or Australian Standard, an insured need do no more than take ‘reasonable care’ to comply. Our previous newsletter discussed WFI Insurance Ltd v Manitowoq Platinum Pty Ltd [2018] WADC 89 where the implication of such a term was accepted. However earlier this year the Court of Appeal in WFI Insurance Ltd v Manitowoq Platinum Pty Ltd [2018] WASCA 89 overturned that decision finding that, in the context of the policy in question, absent express words, it was not reasonable or appropriate to imply a reasonableness standard.

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Author: Peter Dovolil, Special Counsel

In a recent decision of the NSW Court of Appeal, the court considered the duty owed by a cleaning contractor, specifically in circumstances where findings were made that a spillage was present as a cleaner passed the incident area.

The claim was for personal injury allegedly suffered by Mr Al Kammessey as a result of a slip and fall whilst a patron at the Westfield Liverpool Shopping Centre. The defendant (appellant on appeal) was the insurer for Atlantic Cleaning and Security Pty Ltd, who was substituted into the proceedings as Atlantic had entered liquidation. The incident was captured by CCTV footage and there is no dispute the plaintiff (respondent on appeal) fell as alleged. Whilst the decision contains a significant discussion regarding the dispute which arose in the key facts to be determined, the reason by which the key facts were found is not relevant to the significance of the decision.

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On June 12, 2018, the Office of Insurance Regulation (“OIR”) released an update on Hurricane Irma claims data received by insurers. The total number of reported Hurricane Irma claims has reached 978,767 with losses totaling an estimated $9,701,252,056.

Of those claims, OIR reports that 823,733 are for residential properties and 58,544 for commercial properties. Miami-Dade County, Florida’s most populated county, continues to suffer the largest percentage of claims at 125,636. Collier County comes in next with 88,934 reported claims.

Read more: Irma by the Numbers: The Claim Count Continues to Grow

Authors: Rebecca Stevens, Partner and Tamara Baldwin, Solcitor


The New South Wales District Court finds in favour of the owners and operators of a white water raft course on that basis that there was no negligence and the injury was sustained as a result of the materialisation of an obvious risk.

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Authors: Glenn Biggs, Partner and Sarah Berkman, Solicitor

The recent decision of The Thistle Company of Australia Pty Ltd v Bretz & Anor [2018] QCA 6 concerns an appeal by the Thistle Company of Australia, who was the owner / operator of a service station, to overturn a decision of the District Court of Queensland in favour of the plaintiff, Mr Bretz, for injuries sustained whilst on their premises. 

Read more: Service station liable for failure to distinguish elevated platform