Versloot Dredging Bv and Another v Hdi Gerling Industrie Versicherung Ag and Others: ComC 14 Jun 2013

The claimant shipowners suffered damage to their vessel and claimed under their policy with the defendants. The defendants argued that part of the evidence supporting the explanation of the claim was fabricated, thus excusing any payment.
Held: The loss was proximately caused by a peril of the seas, namely the fortuitous entry of seawater through the sea inlet valve during the voyage, and that the relevant part of the Inchmaree clause had no application to this peril. The lie was irrelevant to the merits of the claim. However, the claim was disallowed
Popplewell J said: ‘In a scale of culpability which may attach to fraudulent conduct relating to the making of claims, this was at the low end. It was a reckless untruth, not a carefully planned deceit. It was told on one occasion, not persisted in at the trial. It was told in support of a theory about the events surrounding the casualty which Chris Kornet genuinely believed to be a plausible explanation. The reckless untruth was put forward against the background of having made the crew available for interview by the Underwriters’ solicitor, who had had the opportunity to make his own inquiries of the crew on the topic. To be deprived of a valid claim of some 3.2m Euros as a result of such reckless untruth is, in my view, a disproportionately harsh sanction.’
He regarded the result as unjust to the parties: ‘In a scale of culpability which may attach to fraudulent conduct relating to the making of claims, this was at the low end. It was a reckless untruth, not a carefully planned deceit. It was told on one occasion, not persisted in at the trial. It was told in support of a theory about the events surrounding the casualty which Chris Kornet genuinely believed to be a plausible explanation. The reckless untruth was put forward against the background of having made the crew available for interview by the Underwriters’ solicitor, who had had the opportunity to make his own inquiries of the crew on the topic. To be deprived of a valid claim of some 3.2m Euros as a result of such reckless untruth is, in my view, a disproportionately harsh sanction.’

Popplewell J
[2013] EWHC 1666 (Comm)
Bailii
Marine Insurance Act 1906 39(5)
England and Wales
Citing:
See AlsoVersloot Dredging Bv and Another v Hdi Gerling Industrie Versicherung Ag and Others (Rev 1) ComC 14-Jun-2013
. .

Cited by:
At ComCVersloot Dredging Bv and Another v Hdi Gerling Industrie Versicherung Ag and Others CA 16-Oct-2014
. .
At ComCVersloot Dredging Bv and Another v Hdi Gerling Industrie Versicherung Ag and Others SC 20-Jul-2016
The ‘DC MERWESTONE’ suffered a water ingress of water flooding the engine room. This resulted from (i) the negligence of the crew in failing to close the sea inlet valve of the emergency fire pump and drain down the system, after they had used the . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Insurance

Updated: 14 November 2021; Ref: scu.510957