Bill Lee built and named the racing sailing yacht “Merlin” in 1977. The boat promptly won the Transpac setting a record that lasted for 20 years. The 2023 Transpac race started from Los Angeles on Tuesday, but Merlin is still moored. While the race has technically started, the fastest boats do not begin this epic race until Saturday, so more boats arrive in Honolulu closer together. The rules about who wins a race that starts on different days are also pretty technical.
Florida has an “anti-technical” statute that applies to marine and transportation insurance:
“A breach or violation by the insured of a warranty, condition, or provision of a wet marine or transportation insurance policy, contract of insurance, endorsement, or application does not void the policy or contract, or constitute a defense to a loss thereon, unless such breach or violation increased the hazard by any means within the control of the insured.” Fla. Stat. § 627.409(2).
“The statute is designed to prevent the insurer from avoiding coverage on a technical omission playing no part in the loss.” Pickett, 404 So. 2d at 1153. Whether an insured increased the hazard by noncompliance with a warranty “is typically a question of fact for the jury.” Serendipity at Sea, LLC v. Underwriters at Lloyd’s of London Subscribing to Pol’y No. 187581, 56 F.4th 1280, 1290 (11th Cir. 2023).
The statute is in contrast to federal maritime and common law, which generally makes any misrepresentation a “technical” breach.
Thought For The Day
I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving: To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it—but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.
Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.