Mons Court of Appeal, 2 February 2010: Verification of the insured’s declarations
Following the theft of a vehicle, the insurer denied cover to the insured on the grounds that the required safety conditions had not been met, because the car did not have an alarm. The insured then sued the broker contending that he had not been sufficiently informed of the conditions of cover and had not been warned of the potential denial of cover by the insurer if no alarm were installed.
On first hearing, the Court agreed with the insured and found that the broker had not drawn sufficient attention to this requirement. However, the Court of Appeal reversed and held that the broker could not be held liable for not having reminded its client, in writing, of the obligations relating to preventive measures because the insured had the ability to verify those provisions, which were clearly set out in the policy.
In this case, the judges found that although the broker has a duty to advise, and must draw the client’s attention to certain essential points of the policy, the insured has an obligation to be attentive to the contractual provisions with which he undertakes to comply.
Therefore, the court held the insured cannot bring an action against his broker on these grounds if he is able acquaint himself, on his own, with the clear and precise provisions of his policy.