European e-Justice Portal - Case Law
Close

BETA VERSION OF THE PORTAL IS NOW AVAILABLE!

Visit the BETA version of the European e-Justice Portal and give us feedback of your experience!

 
 

Navigation path


menu starting dummy link

Page navigation

menu starting dummy link

Case Details

Case Details
National ID SN T V CK 277/02
Member State Poland
Common Name Claimant - Grzegorz S., Defendant – Towarzystwo Ubezpieczeń i Reasekuracji “Warta” S.A.
Decision type Other
Decision date 09/10/2003
Court Sąd Najwyższy (Supreme court)
Subject
Plaintiff
Defendant
Keywords

Unfair Contract Terms Directive, Article 2 Unfair Contract Terms Directive, Article 3, 1.

The clause in the general conditions of insurance of motor vehicles from damage and theft, establishing the manner in which the value of the vehicle ought to be determined - basing it on the market data (considering technical state of the vehicle, the mileage and equipment), cannot be deemed 'prohibited' if the value is determined in the same manner at the time of making the insurance contract (and determining the 'insurance sum') and at the time of es-tablishing the value of the compensation.
The Supreme Court considered and denied the cassation of the claimant from the judgement of the District Court of Bielsko-Biala. The claimant - the customer of the defendant insurance company - had an insurance contract for his newly acquired Volkswaggen Passat 1,9 TDI. The car was produced in 1999 and imported privately into Poland in 2000. The claimant registered it in September 2000, and since October 2000 it was insured from damage (referred to as the 'autocasco' insurance) and theft for the amount of 70.000 PLN. The car was stolen in November 2000. The claimant received compensation of only 56.800 PLN in respect of the value of the car from the defendant. He maintained that this was insufficient, and sued for the remainder of 13.200 PLN. The claimant argued that the clause concerning the determination of the value of the vehicle was a prohibited contractual clause as it applied the system of valuing the vehicle 'Info-Expert' to the determination of the value of the car only at the time of establishing the amount of compensation to be paid. The defendant, in turn, claimed that, according to the contents of the insurance contract, the system 'Info-Expert' was used in order to determine the value of the car at the time of concluding the contract for the purpose of establishing the 'insurance sum', and at the time of establishing the amount of compensation.The Supreme Court considered and denied the cassation of the claimant from the judgement of the District Court of Bielsko-Biala. The claimant - the customer of the defendant insurance company - had an insurance contract for his newly acquired Volkswaggen Passat 1,9 TDI. The car was produced in 1999 and imported privately into Poland in 2000. The claimant registered it in September 2000, and since October 2000 it was insured from damage (referred to as the 'autocasco' insurance) and theft for the amount of 70.000 PLN. The car was stolen in November 2000. The claimant received compensation of only 56.800 PLN in respect of the value of the car from the defendant. He maintained that this was insufficient, and sued for the remainder of 13.200 PLN. The claimant argued that the clause concerning the determination of the value of the vehicle was a prohibited contractual clause as it applied the system of valuing the vehicle 'Info-Expert' to the determination of the value of the car only at the time of establishing the amount of compensation to be paid. The defendant, in turn, claimed that, according to the contents of the insurance contract, the system 'Info-Expert' was used in order to determine the value of the car at the time of concluding the contract for the purpose of establishing the 'insurance sum', and at the time of establishing the amount of compensation.
The Supreme Court considered the text of Article 385.1 of the Civil Code (as inserted by the Act on the protection of certain consumer rights and liability for damage caused by an unsafe product of 2 March 2000, implementing, among others, the Unfair Contract Terms Directive). The Article defines terms which ought to be declared prohibited - as those terms which, not having been individually negotiated, shape consumer rights and obligations in a manner contrary to good faith, significantly infringing his interests. The Court confirmed that this provision applies to insurance contracts such as the one the claimant concluded with the defendant insurer. It appears that the claimant's case failed on two grounds. First of all, the Supreme Court stressed that Article 385.1 also specifies that it does not apply to clauses concerning the main obligations of the parties - including the price or remuneration - if these have been phrased unambiguously. The Court held that the clauses in the general conditions of insurance concerning the 'insurance sum', compensation, but most of all the value of the vehicle being the basis for determining the 'insurance sum' and compensation, do specify the main obligations of the parties (the obligation to compensate - insurer, and the obligation to pay the insurance fee - insured). Thus, the Court held that the claim of the breach of Article 385.1 is not well founded. Further, the Court stated that the claimant erroneously read the clause in the general conditions of insurance. According to the claimant, the clause only applied to determining the value of the car at the time of establishing the compensation amount. The Court observed that the defendant insurer did use the same system to determine the value of the 'insurance sum' (thus - the value of the vehicle at the time of making the contract and also later) and to determine the value of compensation. The Court indicated that had the insurer indeed used the system only to determine the value of compensation - the clause would be prohibited. It was clear that the amount of compensation was lower than the amount of the 'insurance sum', but this, following the Court, was due to the normal process of depreciation of motor vehicles.
Full Text: Full Text

No results available

No results available