The provision corresponds to Cl. 11 of the 1964 Plan and relevant Nordic Insurance Contracts Acts (Nordic ICAs).
Sub-clause 1 establishes the principle of primary joint and several liability in the event of “double insurance”, i.e. when the same peril is insured with two or more insurers, and corresponds to the rule contained in Cl. 11 of the 1964 Plan. Basically it corresponds to the Norwegian Insurance Contracts Act Section 6-3, first sub-clause: “If the same loss is covered by several insurances, the assured may choose which insurances he or she wishes to use until the assured has obtained the total compensation to which he or she is entitled”. However, the wording of relevant Nordic ICAs does not rule out subsidiarity clauses (clauses to the effect that one insurance is subsidiary in relation to another), while there is a desire in marine insurance to keep the door open for such clauses, cf. the Commentary on sub-clause below. The earlier wording to the effect that the insurer is liable “according to his contract” has therefore been maintained.
Sub-clause 1 is applicable to three situations. In the first place, it applies to double insurance in the form of ordinary co-insurance. Here the individual sums insured will in the aggregate correspond to the valuation and each individual insurer will be fully liable according to his contract, regardless of the fact that other insurances have also been effected (cf., however, Chapter 9, where a number of aspects of the internal relationship between the co-insurers are regulated).
In the second place, the provision becomes significant when there is “double insurance” in the traditional sense, i.e. where several parallel insurances are effected which in the aggregate will give the assured more compensation than the loss he has suffered. The provision in Cl. 2-6 establishes that, in this case as well, the insurers are primarily jointly and severally liable to the assured within the framework of the compensation to which he is entitled. The further settlement between the insurers is regulated in more detail in Cl. 2-7.
The third situation where there is double insurance is when a loss is covered partly under the primary cover of an insurance, partly as costs to avert or minimise the loss under another insurance. In principle, this loss should be covered under the insurance which covers costs to avert or minimise the loss, cf. below under Cl. 2-7. But also here the assured must initially be entitled to claim damages from both insurers according to Cl. 2-6.
The size of the compensation to which the assured “is entitled” will depend on the insurance conditions. If the conditions authorize cover of varying amounts, it is the highest amount which is decisive for the size of the claim. Until the assured has recovered this amount, he may bring a claim against any of the insurers he wishes within the terms of the conditions which the relevant insurer has accepted.
The provision contained in sub-clause 1 is only applicable in the event of a conflict between two insurances covering the same peril. Hence, a conflict between an insurance against marine perils and an insurance against war perils is not a double insurance according to Cl. 2-6. Nor is it double insurance if the cover is divided into several layers. In the event of layer insurances, each layer must, as mentioned above in the Commentary on Cl. 2-5, be regarded as an independent interest. The insurer under one layer therefore does not become jointly and severally liable with the insurer under another layer, and a loss cannot be transferred from one layer to another if the insurer under one layer is, in exceptional cases, unable to cover a loss.
Sub-clause 2 is new and regulates the settlement if one insurance has been made subsidiary. The rule here is that the insurer who has subsidiary liability is only liable for the amount for which the assured does not have cover with other insurers. It should be superfluous to say this in the Plan text; the solution follows from the actual subsidiarity principle and does not give rise to any particular problems. However, because of the special rule contained in sub-clause 3, see below, an explicit provision was found to be the most expedient.
If several insurances are made subsidiary, there is a risk that the assured may be left without settlement because both or all of the insurers may invoke their subsidiarity clauses. Accordingly, in such cases, there is a need for a rule to protect the assured. A rule of this type was previously contained in Section 43 of the Norwegian Insurance Contracts Act 1930, which imposed on the insurers a primary pro-rata liability or, in the alternative, joint and several liability. This provision was considered unnecessary under the system in the Norwegian ICA 1989. During the Plan revision, it was decided that in such cases a primary joint and several liability should be imposed on the insurers vis-à-vis the assured, see sub-clause 3, which makes sub-clause 1 similarly applicable.
Cl. 14 of the 1964 Plan contained a provision relating to the duty of the person effecting the insurance to disclose any other insurances he might have. The provision corresponded to Section 44 of the Norwegian ICA 1930, which was deleted in the revision of the Norwegian ICA in 1989, inter alia on the grounds that the general provision relating to the duty of disclosure of the person effecting the insurance was sufficient to regulate the situation. The same will apply in marine insurance; furthermore, Cl. 2-5, sub-clause 2, relating to fraudulent over-insurance applies. The provision has, therefore, been deleted. If the insurer in a recourse settlement after the insurance event has occurred, should need to know about other insurances, he can ask the person effecting the insurance.