ABSTRACT

Section 55 of the Marine Insurance Act 1906 provides the framework for all included and excluded losses. Section 55(1) declares the rule of proximate cause as the general principle to be applied for determining the liability of the insurer.1 Having stated the general position, s 55(2) then enumerates the 'particular' exclusions for which the insurer is not liable. These particular exclusions include, in s 55(2)(a): '...any loss attributable to the wilful misconduct of the assured...' and, in s 55(2)(b): 'Unless the policy otherwise provides...any loss caused by delay, although that delay be caused by a peril insured against.' Section 55(2)(c) then deals with the issues of wear and tear and inherent vice. Again, the Act prefaces the exclusion with: 'Unless the policy otherwise provides,' and then goes on to state that '...the insurer is not liable for ordinary wear and tear, ordinary leakage and breakage, inherent vice or nature of the subject matter insured, or for any loss proximately caused by rats or vermin, or by any injury to machinery not proximately caused by maritime perils'.