The provision was amended in the 2013 Plan. According to the 1996 Plan, the limitation period was running even if the claim was pending before the average adjuster. This provision conformed to the Norwegian Limitation Act, which is mandatory for the benefit of the debtor, cf. Section 28. The regulation in Denmark is similar.
The regulation in Finnish and Swedish law is different. According to Chapter 19 Section 1, paragraph 2 of the Swedish Maritime Code the limitation period stops running when a claim is referred to the Official Average Adjuster. The same rule applies in Finnish law, cf. Chapter 19 Section 1, paragraph 7 sub-paragraph 6 of the Finnish Maritime Code. Such provision is not possible to include in the Nordic Plan due to the mandatory limitation regulation in Norway and Denmark. However, sub-clause 3 provides a new special duty of notification for the insurer so that the assured shall get a warning before the insurer invoke limitation, cf. further below.
If the insurance is divided among several co-insurers, the assured has to prevent the limitation period from running vis-à-vis all the co-insurers, cf. the Commentary on Cl. 9-4.
The main rule concerning limitation is contained in sub-clause 1, first and second sentences, which stipulate that the limitation period is three years from the end of the calendar year during which the assured acquired the necessary knowledge of the facts on which the claim is based. The term “acquired the necessary knowledge of the facts on which the claim is based” is taken from the Norwegian Insurance Contracts Act (ICA) and must be interpreted to mean that it is sufficient for the assured to know that a claim exists - he is not required to have knowledge about its extent. The assured therefore cannot plead that he does not possess the necessary knowledge merely because the claim is pending before an average adjuster. On the other hand, the Plan must be interpreted such that the assured must understand that he has a claim. The limitation period will therefore not start running until the assured becomes aware of the fact that the damage has been caused by an incident that is covered by the insurance. It is also important to emphasize that the insurer will often recognize - explicitly or tacitly - that the assured has a claim, at the same time as there is uncertainty, and perhaps disagreement, concerning its magnitude. In that event, the recognition of the existence of a claim of the assured will in itself be sufficient to prevent the limitation period from running. Accordingly, if, for example, the ship’s damage following a casualty has been surveyed and temporarily repaired, and an estimate has been made of the costs of postponed permanent repairs, this must be interpreted as a recognition on the part of the insurer of the assured’s claim, unless he makes explicit reservations against any liability at all.
Sub-clause 1, third sentence, stipulates an absolute limitation period of 10 years, and concords with Cl. 111 of the 1964 Plan, and relevant Nordic ICAs.
The provision in sub-clause 1 must, as far as hull insurance is concerned, be seen in conjunction with the rule relating to a five-year time-limit for repairs of damage, cf. Cl. 12-6. This is not a real limitation rule, because it implies that also the insurer’s liability for costs that he has in actual fact accepted will cease. In practice, it will nevertheless to a large extent have the same effect.
The reference to the rules relating to limitation of the assured’s liability for damages in sub-clause 2 is taken from the Norwegian ICA Section 8-6, second paragraph. While the insurer’s liability under the Norwegian ICA becomes time-barred under the same rules as those applicable to the assured’s liability for damages, the assumption in the Plan is that this shall only apply if the rules relating to the assured’s liability for damages provide a longer limitation period than the ordinary limitation rules. This specification is bound up with the special limitation rules in Chapter 19, notably Section 501, of the Norwegian Maritime Code. Of particular relevance in relation to hull insurance is Section 501, subsection 3 relating to claims for compensation arising from collision, which become time-barred two years from the day the damage was caused. If the claim against the insurer became time-barred at the same time as this claim for damages, this would result in a shorter limitation period than the ordinary one, whilst the purpose of the provision in the Norwegian ICA was to allow the assured to benefit from a possibly longer limitation period for the claim for compensation.
If the limitation period for the assured’s claim for compensation is equal to or longer than the ordinary limitation period, the limitation period for the insurance claim will run in parallel with the limitation period for the claim for compensation. If the assured receives and pays the claim from the claimant immediately before it becomes time-barred, he risks that the claim against the hull insurer becomes time-barred before he has had time to lodge a claim against him. However, neither the Norwegian ICA nor the Limitations Act opens the door to introducing any further time-limits for the assured in this situation.
Sub-clause 3 conforms to the Norwegian ICA Section 8-6, third sub-paragraph. NSA wanted a provision stating that the limitation period would be interrupted if the claim was submitted to an average adjuster. The consequence would then be that the claim could not be time-barred whilst it was pending before the average adjuster. Such provision was contained in the 1964 Plan Cl. 108 first sub-clause. It was, however, deleted in the 1996 Plan because it was considered to be contrary to the rules in the Norwegian Limitation Act, cf. above. The result was that the claim under the 1996 Plan could be time barred during the period it was under adjustment, which could come as a total surprise for the assured. In order to protect the assured against this result, it was decided that the insurer should notify the assured if he wanted to invoke limitation for a claim that had been notified to the insurer within the time-limit for notification provided in Cl. 5-23. This rule offers the assured a better protection than he has according to the Norwegian Limitation Act. However, the Norwegian Limitation Act Section 30 limit the application of the Act to questions concerning limitation that are not regulated in special legislation, and thus implies that special provisions concerning limitation in the Norwegian ICA take precedence over the rules in the Norwegian Limitation Act. As the new provision in sub-clause 3 conforms to the mandatory regulation in the Norwegian ICA Section 8-6, it is presumed that it will take precedence over the rules in the Norwegian Limitation Act.
As referred to in the Commentary to Cl. 5-23 the limitations act in the state where the insurance contract was entered into shall apply in all other respects to limitation.