Trading companies and manufacturers of goods have their deliveries insured in a global transport insurance policy based on turnover. The scope of coverage is usually “all risks” according to the Institute Cargo Clauses or similar wordings.
The current situation in Ukraine is classified as war since Russia has occupied Ukrainian territory with a regular army.
Insurance in case of war and strike
Basically, the dangers of war and strike are excluded in the “all risks” coverage, but they are usually included in the individual policies with additional clauses. This extension of cover for these political risks follows the definitions from the insurance conditions of the English insurance market, like the general conditions.
The insured risks of “war” include for instance war, civil war, revolution, rebellion, insurrection, civil strife and confiscation resulting therefrom. The insured perils “strike” include damage to the transported goods caused by strikers, locked-out workers or persons taking part in industrial disturbances, riots or civil commotion, terrorists or persons acting with political motives. Material damage to the goods that occurs directly as a result of the above-mentioned risks is insured.
The additional clauses mentioned can be used to cover the risks of “war” in sea transport and international air freight (“airborne” and “seaborne”), but never in the case of land transport, due to the accumulation risk for the insurer.
The risks of strikes are insured by the relevant clause for carriage by any means of transport, including land.
Termination by insurer possible
However, insurers have a special right of termination in the policies for political risks. According to this, the insurer can terminate the contract with a notice period of 48 hours or 7 days depending on the applicable clause in the current contract. However, for deliveries that began prior to the effective date of termination, political risk coverage will remain in place for the entire shipment.
To date, cancellations of political risks have been declared as follows:
Transportation within Ukraine, Russia, Belarus as well as land and sea areas bordering Ukraine within a range of 200 km from the land/sea border with Ukraine or
for all transports worldwide, but, after the notice period, with the re-inclusion of worldwide transports, excluding, however, the Ukraine region and the area less than 200 km from the country border with Ukraine and the whole of Russia.
Due to the current situation, insurers are canceling the additional clauses for war and strike both for international contracts and for policies existing in Ukraine and Russia itself.
Depending on the war situation in the respective transport relation, coverage will be possible, as things stand at present, with additional premiums determined by reinsurers.
If the political risks are terminated, does the coverage from the insurance contract remain in effect for the remaining insured risks?
Yes. If the goods are damaged e.g. in a normal traffic accident of the means of transport, there is cover. However, the policyholder must provide the insurer with proof that the damage was caused by the accident and not by a war event.
In the current situation, are rail transports from Asia to Europe – via the Silk Road – still insured?
Yes, they are insured; but without cover for “war risk on land”; if the insurer terminates the risk of strike, the protection for these losses also ceases.
Damage or additional costs that occur due to delays in the journey as consequence of war events (e.g. the truck is not allowed to cross the border and therefore cannot continue the journey) are not insured.
The sanction clauses of the insurers for deliveries apply unchanged, according to which there is no cover in the event of a violation of sanctions and embargoes; due to the tightening or expansion of sanctions (EU, USA, UK) as consequence of the Ukraine war, this circumstance must be given special consideration.
Source: Herbert Mayerhofer; War in Ukraine: Cargo insurance and political risks (March 5th, 2022), URL: https://www.greco.services/en/news/ukraine-cargo-insurance-political-risk.html (March 7th, 2022)