Marine Insurance


Marine insurance is a highly specialised and unique field requiring expert knowledge, but also commonly crosses over with more routine claims disputes.

How we can help

Our leading marine team has broad and extensive experience in marine insurance coverage issues, claims and recovery actions across all product lines:

  • Cargo
  • Hull & Machinery
  • P&I
  • Pleasurecraft
  • Marine liability
  • Carrier liability

We have acted for domestic and international insurers in all spheres of shipping, commercial fishing, harbour and marina risks, tourism, ship repair and slipway liability and containerised, bulk and break-bulk cargo loss claims.

We are experts in emergency response and have experience handling marine casualties from salvage operations to wreck removal and pollution incidents.

We have assisted insurers with policy drafting, compliance and product marketing, as well as devising optimal terms and conditions templates and customising these for insureds in light of recent consumer law amendments and unfair contract terms legislation.

We take special care to isolate maritime law issues and fully articulate these (such as MIA/ICA application, Navigation Act, Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims Act, marine warranties etc.)

We heavily utilise early and well-pitched formal and Calderbank offers to maximise costs protection in case matters proceed towards trial. We deploy a team approach to our claims files to blend cost-effective junior lawyers with experienced senior oversight of key issues and strategy. Our solution is about quality and timely outcomes with a focus on the early resolution of claims.

Insurance regulators

We remain at the forefront of key regulatory issues, often liaising with key regulators such as APRA and ASIC on behalf our clients. We take an active role in the insurance industry as committee and board members of peak bodies and participating in legislative reform sub-committees submissions to stakeholders, industry bodies and government.

Paul Baxter, who leads the team in Brisbane, is director and former secretary and vice-president of Maritime Law Association of Australia and New Zealand and a member of the Australian Insurance Law Association.

Chris Sacré, who leads the team in Sydney, is an experienced maritime lawyer having practiced in London, Hong Kong and Sydney.  Chris combines a deep understanding of marine insurance law with unrivalled practical experience making him a “go to man” for the Australian marine insurance market.

Examples of our experience

  • Advising cargo insurers on complex coverage issues arising out of cargo losses, perished produce, biosecurity issues, hides and skins claims and delays due to fumigation.
  • Pursuit of recoveries for damaged freight, including chilled beef consignments, high-value electronic componentry, clothing, printed materials, aircraft engine parts and various other types of cargo.
  • Advising P&I insurers on liabilities arising out of the loss of 50 containers from a vessel in the Great Australian Bight.
  • Advising Hull Insurers on casualty response and coverage issues arising out of the capsize of a dredging barge under tow from PNG to Australia.
  • Advising Australian Insurers on avoidance for non-disclosure of a worldwide logistics over.
  • Advising pleasurecraft insurers on a range of losses and liabilities arising out of loss and damage to powerboats and yachts, collisions, groundings and injuries, including references to AFCA.
  • Dealing with jurisdictions all around the world and application of various conventions impacting on Bill of Lading terms and conditions.
  • Defence of oil pollution prosecution involving plea negotiation and mitigation of fines and clean-up cost awards.
  • Defence of workplace health and safety prosecutions in respect of injury to crew.

Key contact

Chris is a leading transport and trade lawyer with extensive experience in shipping, international trade and marine insurance.

Related thinking

Insurance| 21 Dec 2021

Financial Services in Focus – Issue 61

In this edition, we consider a case on misleading or deceptive marketing practices for a credit fund, the Government’s response to payments reviews and payment reforms, and much more.

Insurance| 09 Dec 2021

High Court, hire cars, higher costs

The High Court of Australia has provided clarity on the approach to be taken in the assessment of hire car claims where a plaintiff’s vehicle is damaged in an accident.

Insurance| 26 Nov 2021

Financial Services in Focus – Issue 60

In this edition, we consider ASIC’s new guidance on cryto-asset licensing and market regulation, new and updated APRA FAQs on a range of matters and a suite of ASX regulatory updates, and much more.

Insurance| 17 Nov 2021

Event cancellation or postponement: Australia’s first COVID-19 event insurance product

The Victorian Government has recently launched a $230 million COVID-19 event insurance product, delivered by Victorian Managed Insurance Authority seeks to provide COVID-19 related insurance cover to give organisers of creative, sporting, business and community events the confidence to plan and stage future events.