JHC Produces First Draft of Clause Revisions

Thursday, July 25, 2002
The Joint Hull Committee in London (JHC) has produced a consultative draft of its revised Institute Hull Clauses. The draft has been sent to various associations of underwriters, shipowners, brokers and claims practitioners, who have been invited to submit their own comments to the JHC. Completion and distribution of the draft is in line with the schedule set out by the JHC as part of its plans to review the 1983 and 1995 Hull Clauses in order to bring them into line with current market practice. A key part of the JHC objective is appropriate consultation with the shipping and insurance industries, which have been invited to submit written responses to the first draft by the end of August. Subject to satisfactory conclusion of the consultation and approval process, it is planned that the new clauses will be released on November 1 this year. Although no far-reaching changes are anticipated, the JHC is keen to make the standard hull clauses as consumer-compatible as possible. JHC chairman Simon Beale says, "It is important that insurance wordings are not allowed to languish in the past." The draft has been developed by JHC working groups, whose members have been drawn from underwriting and claims practitioners across the market, including brokers and average adjusters. Hill Taylor Dickinson are the lead lawyers to the project. The draft does not represent a fundamental rewriting of the existing standard clauses. Rather, it is designed to incorporate any amendments that might be deemed necessary to ensure that the wordings meet current commercial needs, while at the same time reflecting developments in the insurance market and the shipping industry. The JHC has been involved in extensive discussions during the past eighteen months about the implications of basing the new wording on All Risks coverage. However, for many reasons, it has been decided that the revised clauses, once approved, will maintain the traditional named-perils format.

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