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The rules relating to costs of measures to avert or minimise loss, including salvage and general average, establish whether the assured is entitled to recover costs he has incurred by initiating measures to avert or minimise loss. It is a funda­mental principle in all non-life insurance that costs incurred in order to avert or limit a casualty are recoverable, provided that the measures causing the costs are deemed to be reasonable and sensible. The certainty of obtaining cover will give the assured an additional motive to initiate measures to avert or minimise loss. Furthermore, general considerations of fairness suggest that the insurer should cover such costs since he is the one who will greatly benefit from such measures being taken.

However, the rules relating to the recovery of costs of measures to avert or minimise loss are far more complicated in marine insurance than in other types of insurance. This is due to the fact that in marine insurance these costs are recoverable on the basis of two different sets of rules. The first set of rules is based on general average law, which regulates the relationship between the vessel and its owner on the one hand, and the cargo and its owner on the other, where vessel and cargo are exposed to a common danger or inconvenience. The costs that are incurred and apportioned over vessel, cargo and freight according to the rules of general average are recoverable as costs of measures to avert or minimise loss under the hull insurance, the cargo insurance and the voyage freight insurance, respectively. It is thus first and foremost the underlying general average rules which decide if, and to what extent, the assured shall recover his costs of measures to avert or minimise loss in such situations. At the same time, the general average rules serve to apportion the relevant costs among the insurers involved.

The general average rules provide a complete regulation of most of the questions that arise in connection with measures to avert or minimise loss for a vessel carrying a cargo. They decide both whether the general conditions for carrying out measures to avert or minimise loss are satisfied (whether a sufficient degree of danger exists), and determines what sacrifices and costs are recoverable and how the compensation shall be calculated.

The main source for general average settlements is the York-Antwerp Rules (YAR). The latest rules are from 2016. In international shipping, it is very rare for alternative settlement rules to be agreed, even though alternative clauses do exist. Market agreements may also have been entered into between several insurers’ associations regulating an apportionment, cf. e.g., the SCOPIC Clause incorporated into Lloyd’s Open Form, which is referred to in further detail below under Cl. 4-8 and Cl. 4-12, where certain measures taken to protect against environmental risks fall into the owners’ P&I cover. To the extent that the insurers have acceded to such agreements, these will obviously take precedence over YAR in the event of a conflict of rules.

The other set of rules is the traditional insurance law system, which is inter alia reflected in the relevant Nordic Insurance Contracts Acts. The insurer shall cover the costs incurred by the assured in connection with extraordinary and reasonable measures to avert or minimise loss for the insurer. Normally it will be a question of measures taken to cover one interest insured. This is why the term costs of particular measures to avert or minimise loss is used here. However, it is conceivable that measures are taken aimed at saving several interests insured without the general average rules becoming applicable. It is therefore also necessary in connection with the costs of particular measures to avert or minimise loss to have rules that apportion the costs among several insurers involved.

The two sets of rules stipulate somewhat different requirements as to what constitutes a relevant measure, and each uses a different basis for calculating recoverable costs. The rules relating to general average costs and the rules relating to the particular costs may, on certain points, result in different solutions for actual situations that are fairly similar. This has been resolved by, on the other hand, giving the general average rules a certain extended application when a measure is only aimed at salvaging the vessel. On the other hand, a situation which is in principle regulated under general average law, viz. damage to the vessel as a result of a general average act has been moved over to be covered by the ordinary damage rules, provided that these rules afford better cover for the assured than the general average rules.

The new Plan retains the solutions from the 1964 Plan, based on the traditional system in marine insurance. However, the heading has been changed so that it is clearly evident that the section in reality also comprises salvage awards, even though this is only reflected indirectly in the individual provisions. The sequence and content of the provisions have furthermore been adjusted in order to achieve a certain simplification. In an introductory provision, Cl. 4-7, the general criteria for covering loss arising from measures to avert or minimise loss are established. The scope of the insurer’s liability for general average contributions etc. appears from  Cl. 4-8 to 4-11, while the scope of liability for costs of particular measures to avert or minimise loss is placed in a new provision, Cl. 4-12, at the end of the Section.