Section 22 of the Marine Insurance Act 1906

AuthorVidar Våge
Vidar Våge
ection 22 of the Marine Insurance Act 1906 provides that a contract of
marine insurance is inadmissible in evidence unless it is embodied in a
marine policy. The apparent effect of the section is that a marine
insurance contract is unenforceable until a policy has been issued. It will in
this comment be discussed to what extent s 22 in the 1906 Act still provides a
statement of applicable law. Pertinent to the discussion will be an examination
of the status of the slip and its relationship to the policy, with consideration of
the Court of Appeal’s judgment in HIH Casualty & General Insurance v New
Slip and policy
In the traditional course of concluding an insurance contract in the London
market, a slip would be issued prior to the issue of a formal policy document.2
The slip was prepared by the broker and set out the details of the intended
insurance, including the subject matter to be insured and the proposed
insurance contract clauses. In the case of Ionides v Pacific Fire & Marine
Insurance Co.3, the court held that the insurance contract was concluded by
the underwriter’s signature on the slip. This contractual effect of the slip was
put into statutory form in s 21 of the 1906 Insurance Act, which provides that
A contract of marine insurance is deemed to be concluded when the
proposal of the assured is accepted by the insurer, whether the policy
be then issued or not
The contractual effect of signing the slip has been upheld in later case law and
should be considered settled beyond doubt.
The legal position of an assured where a policy has not been issued
Having established that a contract of insurance may be concluded without a
policy being issued, the next issue to address is the legal position of an assured
in such a situation. As the insurance contract in this scenario has not been
embodied in a policy, the question is in reality whether the assured may claim
on the insurance solely on the slip. According to the apparent understanding
of s 22, the starting point in this situation is that only the policy may be sued
upon in court.
1 HIH Casualty & General Insurance v New Hampshire [2001] EWCA Civ 735
2 Jonathan Gilman and others, Arnould’s Law of Marine Insurance and Average, (17th ed, Sweet and
Maxwell, London 2008), page 10
3 Ionides v Pacific Fire & Marine Insurance Co (1871) LR 6 QB 674

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