The Marine Insurance Slip and HIH v New Hampshire

AuthorAyodeji Sasegbon
SSLR The marine insurance slip and HIH v New Hampshire Vol 1(2)
The Marine Insurance Slip and HIH v New Hampshire
Ayodeji Sasegbon
his article is in three parts. Firstly, brief consideration will be made of
the contemporary status of the slip - that is to say how it is now no
longer viewed as a mere proposal for insurance and is instead regarded
as a binding contract. It will be proposed that this reconceptualisation left it
open for the courts in HIH Casualty & General Insurance v New Hampshire1
to limit the evidential restriction prohibiting the use of a slip in interpreting a
policy. Subsequently, this article will examine the relationship of the slip to
the policy, looking at how in a claim for rectification it is admissible in
evidence, as well as how, after the Court of Appeal’s judgment in HIH, it is
now permissible to refer to the slip as an aid to construing the policy. Finally,
a consideration will be made of the extent to which s 22 of the Marine
Insurance Act 1906 provides a statement of applicable law. In this regard it
will be necessary to make reference to two arguments which have been
advanced in a bid to evade the policy requirement contained within the
The status of the slip
As late as 1867 it was the belief of the judges summoned to give their opinions
to the House of Lords in Xenos v Wickham2, that a slip was merely a proposal
for insurance. Lord Chelmsford, for example, opined that:
It is one thing to cancel a slip, which is merely the inception of a
contract, and to change the terms of the proposal for an insurance; and
an entirely different thing to release the underwriters from their
liability upon a policy”3 (my emphasis)
Some years later, however, in Ionides v Pacific Fire & Marine4, Blackburn J
explained that in the context of marine insurance
the slip is, in practice, [customarily regarded as] the complete and final
contract between the parties…5
He went on to describe the legal effect of the slip in no uncertain terms,
commenting that, whilst
1 HIH Casualty & General Insurance v New Hampshire [2001] EWCA Civ 735
3 At p. 321
5 At 684-685

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