Allianz Insurance Co Egypt v Aigaion Insurance Co SA [2008] EWCA Civ 1455

Where a reinsurer sent an email agreeing to the terms set out in a slip, it could not subsequently be said that no contract had been concluded, simply because a class warranty agreed by both parties had inadvertently been omitted from the slip: ‘The mutual indicia of finality about the email exchange are so strong that it would be wrong to interpret them as ending in a mere offer and counter-offer. The reasonable reader of these exchanges would conclude that Aigaion was agreeing to the terms set out in the slip, on the basis that that was what Aigaion had itself quoted.’  To read the judgment, click here.  

Allianz v Aigaion: Towards the end of negotiations for a contract of marine reinsurance, conducted entirely by email via brokers in different countries, the reinsurer asked the reinsured’s broker to ‘forward slip soonest for our agreement’. The broker did so, but unfortunately omitted from the slip a vital clause, a class warranty, which had previously been stipulated by the reinsurer and agreed between the parties. The court held that, although the email did not refer expressly to the slip, it was clearly speaking by reference to it. There was nothing to indicate the possibility that any attention was being given to the absence of the IACS warranty – it had simply gone undetected. A contract had been agreed, which omitted the warranty. The proper course of action in such circumstances was rectification.