Marine insurance covers the loss or damage of ships, cargo, terminals, and any transport or cargo by which the property is transferred, acquired, or held between the points of origin and the final destination.
Cargo insurance is the sub-branch of marine insurance, though Marine insurance also includes Onshore and Offshore exposed property, (container terminals, ports, oil platforms, pipelines), Hull, Marine Casualty, and Marine Liability. When goods are transported by mail or courier, shipping insurance is used instead.
Cargo insurance: Cargo insurance is underwritten on the Institute Cargo Clauses, with coverage on an A, B, or C basis, A having the widest cover and C the most restricted. Valuable cargo is known as specie. Institute Clauses also exist for the insurance of specific types of cargo, such as frozen food, frozen meat, and particular commodities such as bulk oil, coal, and jute. Often these insurance conditions are developed for a specific group as is the case with the Institute Federation of Oils, Seeds and Fats Associations (FOFSA) Trades Clauses which have been agreed with the Federation of Oils, Seeds and Fats Associations and Institute Commodity Trades Clauses which are used for the insurance of shipments of cocoa, coffee, cotton, fats and oils, hides and skins, metals, oil seeds, refined sugar, and tea and have been agreed with the Federation of Commodity Associations.
Warranties and conditions: A peculiarity of marine insurance and insurance law generally, is the use of the terms condition and warranty. In English law, a condition typically describes a part of the contract that is fundamental to the performance of that contract, and, if breached, the non-breaching party is entitled not only to claim damages but to terminate the contract on the basis that it has been repudiated by the party in breach. By contrast, a warranty is not fundamental to the performance of the contract and breach of a warranty, while giving rise to a claim for damages, does not entitle the non-breaching party to terminate the contract. The meaning of these terms is reversed in insurance law. Indeed, a warranty if not strictly complied with will automatically discharge the insurer from further liability under the contract of insurance. The assured has no defense to his breach, unless he can prove that the insurer, by his conduct, has waived his right to invoke the breach, a possibility provided in section 34(3) of the Marine Insurance Act 1906 (MIA). Furthermore, in the absence of express warranties, the MIA will imply them, notably a warranty to provide a seaworthy vessel at the commencement of the voyage in a voyage policy (section 39(1)) and a warranty of legality of the insured voyage.