its commencement, and the warranty will be fulfilled if she is at the beginning of each stage seaworthy for that stage. The warranty of seaworthiness is held to be fulfilled when the ship is reasonably fit in every respect to meet the ordinary marine dangers of the venture insured; that is to say, the mere loss of a vessel by perils of the sea is not a proof of unseaworthiness in the sense of this warranty. The only ship policies not subject to the warranty of seaworthiness are policies on time (the reason given being that there is nothing to prevent a time policy lapsing and a new one commencing when the vessel is at sea beyond her owner's control as to seaworthiness); but where the insured knowingly sends a ship to sea in an unfit state and a loss is attributable to that unseaworthiness, the underwriter is not liable for such loss. It is not implied in a policy on goods or movables that these goods, &c., are seaworthy, but it is implied that at the beginning of the voyage the carrying vessel is not only seaworthy as a ship but reasonably fit to carry the goods to the destination named in the policy.
When the main points of the preceding particulars of the contract of insurance are summarized it may be said that the transaction is (1) a contract of indemnity reduced to written or printed words, (2) made in good faith, (3) referring to a defined proportion or amount, (4) of a genuine interest in a named object, (5) being against contingencies definitely expressed, to which that object is actually exposed, and (6) in return for a fixed and determined consideration.
It may happen by accident or by design that an insurance object has been covered twice or more times, and that in consequence the sum of the insurance effected exceeds the
Multiple . . .
nwrmw value in the policy or the msurable value, 1f an unvalued policy has been employed. This occurrence
involves a new set of relations between the insured and his various underwriters; the underwriters themselves are brought into relation to one another. As regards the insured, he may, in the absence of agreement to the contrary, claim payment from whomsoever of the underwriters he may select, but he is not entitled to receive in all more than his proper indemnity. Each underwriter, whether his policy be valued or unvalued, is entitled to receive credit for his proper proportion of the sum obtained by the insured under any other policy. If the insured does obtain any sum in excess of indemnity, he is regarded as holding it in trust for his whole body of underwriters. It thus appears that in case of multiple insurance each underwriter is bound, as between himself and the other underwriters, to contribute to the loss rateably in proportion to the amount of his liability under the policy; and if any one pays more than his proper share, he is entitled to sue the rest for contribution. Should the insured get any of his premium back? It would not be equitable to enforce a return from any underwriter who has at any time stood alone so as to be liable to the full extent of his policy; but if overlapping policies were accidentally effected all at the same time, the case is rather different. This leads to the general question of return of premium. Such return may be claimed under the terms of the policy, in which case the claim for return is simply the carrying out of the agreement between the parties; it may refer to the whole or to a part of the interest insured. But there are other circumstances in which returns can legally be claimed. For instance, it may turn out that interest insured by a particular vessel and for a particular voyage is never shipped in that vessel for that voyage; the underwriter has in this case run no risk, and therefore the consideration for which he received the premium totally fails, and the premium is properly returnable to the intending insured, unless there has been fraud or illegality on the part of the insured. Similarly, in the case of part of the interest insured on a policy, if that part is distinguishable in the policy or by custom of trade. But the interest might have made the voyage in the vessel, and the intending insured might yet remain without insurable interest. In this case, in absence of fraud or illegality, and if the policy is not merely a gaming or wagering contract, the insured is entitled to return of his premium. Similarly, in the absence of fraud or illegality, if the underwriter legally 'voids his policy from the beginning of the risk; as he runs no risk, he receives no premium. The only cases, except those of fraud and illegality, in which the underwriter can retain his premium without running risk, are those of risks underwritten “ lost or not lost, ” and arrived safely without the underwriter's knowledge, in which the underwriter takes his chance as to the condition and situation of the ship when he assumes the risk. But this is practically a case of agreement that there shall be no return. When the insured has over insured on an unvalued policy, a proportionate part of the premium is returnable. But where double insurance has been knowingly effected by the insured or any earlier policy has at any time borne the entire risk or a claim has been paid on a policy in respect of its full value, no premium is returnable.
The policy issued by the underwriter to the insured makes mention of certain perils against which the insurance is granted, and unless the policy otherwise provides, the underwriter is liable for any loss proximately caused by any of these perils, but is not liable for any loss not proximately caused by a peril insured against. He is not responsible for any loss due to the wilful misconduct of the insured but, unless the policy otherwise provides, he is liable for any loss proximately caused by a peril insured against even though it would not have happened but for the misconduct or negligence of master or crew. Nor is he responsible for any loss caused by delay, although the delay be caused by a peril insured against; nor for ordinary wear and tear, ordinary leakage or breakage, inherent vice or character of objects insured, loss from rats or vermin, or injury to machinery not proximately caused by sea-perils.
Losses are divided into “ total " and “ partial." A “ total ” loss may be (I) actual, or (2) constructive; and an insurance against total loss covers the insured against both, unless a different intention appears from the terms of the policy. It is an f°t" “ actual ” total loss when the object insured is destroyed °ss or damaged so as to cease to be of the denomination of goods to which it belonged when insured, or when the insured is irretrievably deprived of the property insured. In the case of an actual total loss no notice of abandonment need be given. In the case of a missing ship after the lapse of a reasonable time without news, an “ actual ” total loss may be presumed. There is a “ constructive " total loss when the interest insured has been abandoned on account of what appears inevitable actual total loss, or because the cost of preventing such loss would exceed the value after such expenditure. E.g. if ship or merchandise is in such a position that recovery is unlikely or the cost of recovery would exceed the value recovered, there is constructive total loss; likewise in the case of a damaged ship, if the cost of repair would exceed the repaired value of the ship. (In making the estimate of cost of repairs no deduction is to be made for the share of them payable in general average by other interests, but account is to be taken of the cost of later salvage operations and of the ship's proportion of any later general averages.) Similarly for damaged goods, there is constructive total loss if the cost of repair and of forwarding to destination exceeds the arrived value. The insured may either treat constructive total loss as a partial loss or as an actual total loss, in which latter case he abandons his insured interest to the underwriter. If he decides to Ab'""'°"" abandon he must give notice of abandonment, else he will m'"t recover only for a partial loss. This notice may be wholly or partly written or oral, and in any terms if only they indicate the intention to transfer unconditionally all interest to the underwriter. The refusal of abandonment by the underwriter does not prejudice the assured's rights. Abandonment may either be expressly accepted by the underwriter or may be implied from his conduct, but his mere silence does not imply acceptance. When notice is accepted, abandonment is irrevocable. Notice may be waived by the underwriter. Notice is unnecessary where, when the news reaches the insured, there would be no benefit to the underwriter if notice were given to him. On valid abandonment the underwriter adopts the interest of the insured in the subject insured, or what remains of it, and all incidental proprietary rights, e.g. in the case of a ship he is entitled to any freight in the course of being earned and which is earned by her subsequent to the accident causing the loss, less the expenses incurred after the accident; and if the cargo is on owner's account, the underwriter is entitled to reasonable freight from the, place of casualty to destination.
Any loss other than a total loss, as defined and described above, is a “ partial ” loss. As such are classed general average, salvage charges, particular average, particular charges. “ General average" is really an outlying branch of the law of P'“"““ affreightment (see AVERAGE and AFFREIGHTMENT): its I°” connexion with insurance is merely secondary, arising out of the underwriter's contract to pay losses generally and this special liability in accordance with definite provisions of the policy. Any extraordinary sacrifice or expenditure voluntarily and reasonably made in a moment of peril in order to preserve Genera all the property in the venture, is a general average act '°""'“3°
and the loss arising therefrom is a general average loss. The party