Topic: Cases

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You think that’s excluded, think again – section 54(3) of the Insurance Contracts Act to the rescue

Allianz Australia Insurance Ltd v Smeaton [2016] ACTCA 59 A jet ski, no licence, and a freak accident which ended a boys’ afternoon out on the Ross River, Queensland. To top it off, a policy exclusion apparently excluded cover. Fortunately for the insured, section 54 of the Insurance Contracts Act 1984 (Cth) (ICA) stepped in … Continue reading

Is there a duty of care to protect customers from a bank robber?

Bank robberies may be foreseeable. But does a bank owe its customers a duty to protect them against the risk of harm by a bank robber? The Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, says No. A bank has no control over the unpredictable conduct of an armed robber: Roberts v Westpac Banking Corporation [2016] ACTCA 68 … Continue reading

What does a fire, a million dollar property and a former inmate make?

The answer? Not what you’d expect. Proving that an insured has been fraudulent under section 56 of the Insurance Contracts Act 1984 (Cth) where the evidence is mainly circumstantial is no mean feat. Insurance Australia Ltd (IAL) learned this lesson on 4 November 2016, in a disputed insurance claim for property damage resulting from a … Continue reading

A High-Water Mark in Section 54’s Voyage to Certainty?

If the High Court’s signal in Highway Hauliers was not clear enough, the Full Court of the Federal Court has further affirmed the pervasive remedial nature of section 54 of the Insurance Contracts Act 1984 (ICA). Watkins Syndicate v Pantaenius concerned an appeal from a decision handed down in January this year (See ). … Continue reading

How Fit is “Reasonably Fit”?

Tension between insurer and insured in life and TPD policies often arises around the question of whether an insured worker is permanently disabled simply because of an inability to return to the same pre-injury employment. What if the worker can return to other paid work, albeit different to what was previously undertaken? What must the … Continue reading