Sailing to Calmer Seas: The United Kingdom Insurance Act 2015 and Its Potential Effect on United States Marine Insurance Markets and Law

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Hugh D. Baker | Comment

Prior to the mid-twentieth century, the seas were virtually calm in the field of marine insurance, with uniformity of law existing in both Britain and the United States. Marine insurance laws between these countries developed from English jurisprudence originating between the seventeenth and nineteenth century. However, a distinct divergence emerged after the United States Supreme Court held in Wilburn Boat Co. v. Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co. that state law, rather than general maritime law, applies in certain situations involving marine insurance. This divergence continued to evolve over the next sixty years, particularly with respect to areas of law concerning utmost good faith and the law of warranties. For years, practitioners and scholars have sought how to bridge the gap between the laws of Britain and the United States. Professor Thomas J. Schoenbaum noted that, in order to again build towards international uniformity of the law in marine insurance, the Marine Insurance Act 1906 (MIA) must be reformed with respect to utmost good faith and warranties. The United Kingdom has now taken that first step.

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Citation: 41 Tul. Mar. L.J. 159