Marine insurance is a crucial aspect of the maritime industry in India, protecting the interests of shipowners and cargo owners against various types of losses. Losses in marine insurance can arise due to a wide range of reasons, including natural disasters, human error, piracy, and theft. Understanding the different types of losses that can occur in marine insurance is essential for both insurers and insured parties.

Types of Marine Insurance Policies

Marine insurance policies in India can be broadly classified into two categories: voyage policies and time policies.

Voyage Policies: A voyage policy provides coverage for a specific voyage or journey. It covers the cargo from the time it leaves the port of origin until it arrives at the port of destination. The policy is terminated once the voyage is completed.

Time Policies: A time policy provides coverage for a specific period of time, usually a year. It covers all the voyages made by the ship during that period. This type of policy is suitable for ship owners who undertake multiple voyages throughout the year.

Marine insurance policies can also be classified based on the type of coverage provided. The most common types of coverage are:

  • Hull Insurance: This type of insurance covers the ship or vessel against physical damage caused by accidents, perils of the sea, and other risks.
  • Cargo Insurance: Cargo insurance covers the goods being transported by the ship against loss or damage during transit.
  • Freight Insurance: Freight insurance covers the loss of income that the ship owner may suffer due to damage or loss of cargo.
  • Liability Insurance: Liability insurance covers the ship owner against legal liabilities arising from accidents or damage caused to third-party property.

It is important for ship owners and cargo owners to carefully evaluate their insurance needs and choose the appropriate type of marine insurance policy.

Get Free Quote in Minutes

Losses in Marine Cargo Insurance

Marine cargo insurance covers losses or damage to goods while they are being transported by sea, road, rail or any other medium. Four types of losses can occur in marine cargo insurance.

  • Total Loss

Total loss occurs when the entire cargo is lost or destroyed during transit. This can happen due to several reasons, including natural disasters, piracy, and accidents. In such cases, the insurer is liable to pay the full value of the cargo to the insured.

  • Partial Loss

Partial loss occurs when only a part of the cargo is lost or damaged during transit. This can happen due to several reasons, including mishandling, theft, and fire. In such cases, the insurer is liable to pay for the value of the damaged or lost goods.

  • General Average Loss

General average loss occurs when the entire cargo is at risk of being lost or destroyed, and the captain of the ship decides to sacrifice a part of the cargo to save the rest. In such cases, the loss is shared by all parties involved in the voyage, including the cargo owners, shipowners, and insurers.

  • Particular Average Loss

Particular average loss occurs when a part of the cargo is lost or damaged due to a particular cause, such as rough weather or an accident. In such cases, the insurer is liable to pay for the value of the damaged or lost goods.

Losses in Marine Hull Insurance

Marine insurance in India covers losses or damages to the hull of a ship. Hull losses can be classified into three categories: Actual Total Loss, Constructive Total Loss, and Particular Average and Salvage Charges.

  • Actual Total Loss

Actual Total Loss occurs when the ship is completely destroyed, lost, or damaged to such an extent that it cannot be repaired or recovered. In such cases, the insured receives the full sum insured under the policy.

  • Constructive Total Loss

Constructive Total Loss occurs when the cost of repairing the damaged ship exceeds its insured value. In such cases, the insured receives the full sum insured under the policy, less the value of the damaged ship.

  • Particular Average and Salvage Charges

Particular Average is a partial loss that occurs due to a specific cause, such as damage caused by a storm or collision. Salvage Charges refer to the expenses incurred to recover the damaged ship. In such cases, the insured receives compensation equal to the actual loss or damage incurred, subject to the policy's terms and conditions.

Losses in Marine Freight Insurance

Freight losses are one of the most common types of losses in marine insurance in India. Freight refers to the payment made to the carrier for the transportation of goods from one place to another. Freight losses occur when the goods are lost or damaged during transit, resulting in a loss of revenue for the shipper.

One of the main causes of freight losses is inadequate packaging. Goods that are not properly packaged can easily get damaged during transit, leading to a loss of revenue for the shipper. Another cause of freight losses is theft. Cargo theft is a major problem in India, and it can result in significant losses for shippers.

Losses in Marine Liability Insurance

Liability losses in marine insurance refer to losses that arise due to the legal liability of the insured for damage caused to third-party property or persons. In India, liability losses are a common occurrence in marine insurance, and they can be further handled by two categories of marine liability insurance: protection and indemnity insurance and collision liability insurance.

  • Protection and Indemnity

Protection and Indemnity insurance is a type of marine insurance that provides coverage for legal liability arising out of the operation of a vessel. P&I insurance covers a range of risks, including damage to cargo, pollution, collision, and personal injury. 

  • Collision Liability

Collision liability refers to the legal liability of the insured for damage caused to another vessel due to a collision. Here, the owner of a vessel is liable for any damage caused to another vessel due to a collision, unless the owner can prove that the collision was caused due to the fault of the other vessel.

Liability losses are a significant risk for marine insurance companies in India, and they can result in substantial payouts. As such, it is essential for marine insurance companies to carefully assess the risks associated with liability losses and price their policies accordingly.

Loss Due to Sue and Labour Charges

Sue and Labour Charges are one of the kinds of losses covered under marine insurance in India. This type of loss refers to the expenses incurred by the insured to minimize or prevent further damage to the insured property.

These charges are incurred when the insured property suffers damage due to an insured peril, and the insured takes reasonable measures to prevent further damage. For instance, if a ship suffers damage due to a storm, the insured may incur expenses to tow the ship to a safe port or hire experts to assess the damage.

Sue and Labour Charges are recoverable under marine insurance policies if the expenses are reasonable and necessary. However, the insured must provide evidence to support their claim, including invoices, receipts, and other relevant documents.

It is important to note that Sue and Labour Charges are not the same as General Average. General Average refers to the expenses incurred by the shipowner to save the ship and cargo from a common peril, and these expenses are shared by all parties involved in the voyage.

Overall, Sue and Labour Charges are an important aspect of marine insurance in India, and insured parties must ensure that they keep accurate records of any expenses incurred to prevent or minimize further damage to their property.

Losses Excluded in Marine Insurance Coverage

Marine insurance policies usually cover a wide range of risks or losses associated with marine transportation. However, certain exclusions are not covered by the policy. The policyholder needs to be aware of these exclusions to avoid any surprises in case of a loss.

Some of the common exclusions in marine insurance coverage in India are:

  • Loss or damage caused by willful misconduct of the insured or the crew
  • Loss or damage caused by delay, inherent vice, or ordinary leakage
  • Loss or damage caused by unseaworthiness of the vessel
  • Loss or damage caused by nuclear weapons or materials
  • Loss or damage caused by war, strikes, riots, or civil commotions

It is important to note that these exclusions may vary from policy to policy and from insurer to insurer. It is advisable for the policyholder to carefully read and understand the policy terms and conditions before purchasing the policy.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What constitutes actual total loss in marine insurance policies?

Actual total loss in marine insurance policies refers to a situation where the insured property is completely destroyed or lost beyond recovery. This can occur due to various reasons, such as sinking, collision, or piracy. In such cases, the insurer is liable to pay the full insured value of the property to the insured.

  1. How is constructive total loss defined within the context of marine insurance?

Constructive total loss is a situation where the cost of repairing or recovering the insured property exceeds its insured value. This can occur when the property is damaged, but not completely destroyed. In such cases, the insurer is liable to pay the insured value of the property, minus any salvage value that may be recovered.

  1. Can you explain the concept of salvage loss and its implications for marine insurance claims?

Salvage loss refers to the value of the insured property that is recovered after a loss event. This can include items such as cargo, equipment, or even the vessel itself. The salvage value is deducted from the insured value of the property when determining the amount of the insurance claim.

  1. How are partial losses assessed and handled in marine insurance agreements?

Partial losses in marine insurance agreements refer to situations where the insured property is damaged, but not completely destroyed. The amount of the insurance claim is determined by assessing the extent of the damage and the cost of repair or replacement. The insurer is liable to pay the insured value of the damaged property, minus any salvage value that may be recovered.