Avoidance for Material Non-Disclosure – Recent English Case
A Parliamentary Bill is due later this year to start the process of reforming New Zealand’s duty of disclosure law, as well as many other insurance law reforms. However, given the COVID 19 pandemic, we expect this may not appear now until next year. Even if Parliament enacts it sometime later next year, it will inevitably allow a lead in period of at least 12 months. This means the law may not change until 2022 or 2023 at the earliest.
In the meantime, the current duty of disclosure law applies.
A recent decision of the English High Court (Niramax Group Limited v Zurich Insurance Plc  EWHC 535) clarifies some interesting issues about avoiding a policy for material non-disclosure under New Zealand’s current law. England’s former duty of disclosure law applied to the case. That former law is essentially the same as New Zealand’s current duty of disclosure law.
In any event, the decision deals with interesting issues about the insurer proving inducement. This requirement will likely remain as part of the reformed duty of disclosure law in New Zealand. [Read more…]