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‘Accidental Damage’ – Matton Developments v CGU Insurance Limited (No 2)
It is one of the first decisions to consider the impact of the amendments to the Act made by the Insurance Contracts Amendment Act Camage. It also argued that section 13 gave rise to a statutory duty, the breach of which also gave rise to an entitlement to damages. Stay Informed subscribe now.
It also demonstrates the importance of evidence, including expert, photographic and eye-witness evidence, when making a decision to refuse cover under a policy. This was considered the most logical explanation particularly in light of photographs taken after the incident which suggested that the Crane xccidental been operated on a slope.
The decision is also useful for its comprehensive review of the Australian law relating to the duty of utmost good faith. Nevertheless, they do provide useful guidance on how a court may interpret their impact on any alleged breaches of duty under policies to which they do apply.
Based on this, the Court concluded that the refusal of cover by CGU did not constitute any breach of its duty of utmost good faith. All information on this site is of a general nature only and is not intended to be relied upon as, nor to be a substitute for, specific legal x advice.
This decision confirms that damage which occurs as a result of a known risk is, depending on the terms of the relevant policy, unlikely to be regarded as accidental damage.
Accidental Damage Home Insurance
Matton submitted a claim to CGU seeking indemnity for damage to the Crane in February when its boom collapsed while lifting concrete slabs. In this case, the evidence allowed the insurer to successfully defend proceedings alleging not only wrongful declinature, but also allegations that it had breached its duty of utmost good faith.
It also considered the recent amendments to the Act, which deem a breach of the duty of utmost good faith to be a breach of the Act.
It argued that CGU’s failure to indemnify amounted to a breach of this implied term and, as such, CGU was liable for damages for all causally connected loss, including default interest on the finance of the Crane. Matton relied on the duty of utmost good faith implied by section 13 of the Insurance Contracts Act Cth Act into contracts of insurance.
The Court undertook a detailed examination of the authorities on section 13 and confirmed that it was enacted to clarify that the accidemtal of utmost good faith applied to both the insured and insurer and that it provided a basis for either party to seek contractual damages for its breach. The Court considered it significant that the operator was aware that operating the Crane on a slope would create a real risk of the boom collapsing, and that he proceeded despite this knowledge.
‘Accidental damage’ – Matton Developments v CGU » Lander & Rogers
Anti-discrimination and equal opportunity Capital raising and financing Company and securities law Compensation Law Competition and consumer law Dispute resolution Employment Energy and resources Family and relationship law. Matton also submitted that CGU had breached its duty of utmost good faith by relying on conclusions drawn by its own experts, rather than giving due consideration to the insured’s witnesses who gave evidence accidsntal the Crane was being operated on level ground prior to collapse.
The decision is one of the first reported cases to consider the amendments to the Insurance Contracts Act Cth.
It held that an insurer was not obliged to accept the statement of the operator or even an insured, since they may be honestly mistaken. No responsibility for the loss occasioned to any person acting on or refraining from action as a result of any material published adcidental be accepted. The cause of the damage to a large Telescopic Cvu Crane Crane was in dispute, in particular, whether the damage was “accidental, sudden and unforeseen”.
The decision demonstrates the importance of forensic and eyewitness evidence in challenges to an insurer’s decision to refuse cover. Accidetnal the circumstances, the Court held that section 13 does not support the existence of a concurrent liability in tort, either by way of breach of a statutory duty or a tort of bad faith.
The Court accepted that CGU’s decision to decline the claim was made after careful consideration of the available evidence, including the lay evidence. Since the amendments relating to the duty of utmost good faith only apply to contracts accidentl insurance entered into or renewed after 28 Junethey were not strictly relevant to this dispute and so the Court’s pronouncements on their relevance are strictly non-binding.