Senate committee approves The Marine Insurance Bill, 2017

ISLAMABAD: Senate Standing Committee approves The Marine Insurance Bill, 2017 with amendments Senate Standing Committee on Commerce and Textile Industry in its meeting on Thursday has approved The Marine Insurance Bill, 2017 with certain amendments in various sections while adding a few clauses as well.

The meeting was held under the Chairmanship of Senator Shibli Faraz here at the Parliament House and was attended among others by Senators, Secretary Commerce and officials from SECP. The Bill to provide for regulation of the business of marine insurance will now be sent to the House and when passed will be referred to the National Assembly.

The meeting was a continuance of Wednesday’s meeting where the Committee had directed for a consultative meeting between ministry and stakeholders to agree upon the draft amendments. The amendments proposed were aimed at making this law from 1906 adaptable to new developments and international best practices.

The adopted amendments included changing the jurisdiction of the bill from Islamabad Capital Territory to the whole of Pakistan, excluding some redundant terminologies like the words rovers, streamer ships etc, making the scope of the bill more comprehensive, defining the terms on the same pattern as in Insurance Ordinance 2000.

The section dealing with Duty of Good Faith was replaced with Duty of fair representation mentioning the requirements of disclosing relevant information before entering the contract of insurance. Secretary Commerce and Textile Industry told the meeting that previously the burden of proof was on insured but now it will be on insurer. Further two more clauses about knowledge of insurer reinforced the same things mentioned in the previous clause.

The amended draft also added a clause to effectively block overriding this law or the insurance ordinance in any agreement or contract of insurance. However the law also provides for modification in case of mutual insurance where two parties can agree on special terms by consensus. This has been agreed upon after consultations with SECP and PNSC who are the largest stakeholders. The amended version also provides that power to make rules in this regard will rest with the federal government and hence will be approved by the cabinet, power to issue directives, circulars will rest with Minister-in-charge and power of regulations will rest with SECP who is the regulatory body in this area.

The Committee agreed that penalties for violation should be varying on the basis of premium amounts, losses incurred and the parties involved. It was also agreed that the law will be prospective in nature and all contracts according to the previous law will remain in place till their expiry. The Committee chairperson observed that the law while protecting big contractors should also cover trollers and small fishing boats. The ministry responded that act covers the small corporative.