Haku

FINE-039386

Tulosta

Asianumero: FINE-039386 (2022)

Vakuutuslaji: Kotivakuutus

Ratkaisu annettu: 10.03.2022

Lakipykälät: 69, 9

Theft of backpack, camera and lenses while travelling. Was the stolen property covered by an insurance policy? Luggage insurance. Home contents insurance.

Information on the events

The customer was travelling in Spain between 8 and 15 March, 2020. According to the complaint filed with the police at the destination, a backpack containing a camera and three lenses was snatched from the customer on 11 March 2020. The customer had bought the camera in Ukraine about a month and a half earlier. The customer had left the camera in Ukraine, as he intended to return there in a few weeks’ time and then make a holiday trip from there to Thailand with his family. Due to the start of the Covid-19 epidemic, the Thailand trip was cancelled. Instead, the customer met up with his family in Spain, where the customer’s parents brought the camera in question. The three stolen lenses had been bought by the customer in Ukraine approximately six months earlier. The customer made a claim for compensation for the stolen property from the luggage insurance and home contents insurance included in his home insurance policy.

According to the decision made on 12 May 2020, the insurance company paid EUR 3,544 in compensation for the damage, in accordance with the maximum compensable amount under the luggage insurance. In addition, for the part exceeding the maximum compensable amount under the luggage insurance, the insurance company paid EUR 3072,50 out of the home contents insurance included in the customer’s home insurance policy. The compensation was paid on the basis of the receipt, and the prices of the objects were converted into euros. The home insurance policy’s deductible of EUR 250 was deducted from the compensation. 

On 28 May 2020, the customer informed the insurance company of his dissatisfaction with the compensation decision with regard to the amount of the compensation in euros. After this, the insurance company asked the customer to provide further information on the camera and lenses as well as the customs clearance documents related to the importation of the objects into Finland. The customer has provided the insurance company with the police report drawn up at the travel destination and the sales invoice and the cash receipt for the camera, dated 24 January 2020, as well as the sales invoice and cash receipt for the lenses, dated 18 July 2019. According to the customer, the objects were stolen before customs clearance so that the customer was unable to provide the insurance company with the customs clearance documents. On 21 May 2021, the insurance company gave a new compensation decision in the case, in which the company refused to pay the additional compensation for damage demanded by the customer. According to the insurance company, the customer has not provided the insurance company with a customs clearance report proving that the stolen lenses were in Finland before the damaging event that occurred in Spain. According to the insurance company’s compensation decision, the customer’s camera and lenses were not in Finland or in the place of insurance in the customer’s household before the theft that occurred in Spain, which means that they are not covered by the customer’s luggage insurance or home contents insurance. According to the decision, the case will be re-examined with regard to the lenses if the customer provides the insurance company with the customs clearance documents.

The customer’s complaint

The customer is still dissatisfied with the insurance company’s compensation decision. According to the customer, the insurance company must pay the compensation demanded by the customer. In addition, the customer tells in his complaint that he had contacted the insurance company in writing in November 2019 on the matter of raising the maximum compensable amount in the luggage insurance to approximately EUR 10,000. The customer had received a written reply from the insurance company stating that the customer’s luggage insurance covers against damages up to EUR 3,500 with a deductible of EUR 50, and if the customer has luggage whose value exceeds this or if the total value of the luggage exceeds EUR 3,500, the customer can take advantage of his home insurance policy, which has no maximum compensable amount other than the EUR 17,000 maximum compensable amount for an individual object. In such a case, according to the reply from the insurance company, the EUR 250 deductible of the home contents insurance applies to the compensation. According to the customer, the insurance company’s reply makes it clear that an individual object is covered up to the EUR 17,000 maximum compensable amount.

According to the customer, the objects were stolen before customs clearance and thus he cannot provide the insurance company with the customs clearance documents. According to the customer, the customs clearance of the objects is in no way essential to the matter. According to the customer’s complaint, none of the documents of the insurance contract mention that the property would be included in the insured object only if it has been cleared through the Finnish customs. According to the customer, the fact that the property acquired on a trip did not arrive in Finland does not constitute grounds for denying the insurance compensation.

In addition, the customer points out that the property was new and state-of-the-art at the time of occurrence of the theft. Now the property in question is already outdated and less expensive.

Response of the insurance company

In its response, the insurance company repeats its negative stance towards paying an additional compensation. According to the insurance company, under point 2.3 of the policy conditions, the insurance covers the luggage owned by the insured person. “Luggage” refers to the normal objects intended for a household’s everyday and leisure use that are along on a trip. According to the insurance company, the customer’s camera was bought in Ukraine and was not in Finland at any point in time. The customer returned from Ukraine to Finland without the camera and left Finland for Spain without the camera. The customer’s parents brought the camera from Ukraine to Spain, where the camera was stolen. According to the insurance company, the camera was never in the place of insurance and was not taken from the place of insurance to Spain by the policy holder. In the insurance company’s view, the property in question thus did not fall within the applicability of the policy conditions at any point in time. According to the insurance company, in order to be compensable, the property would have had to be in the place of insurance. In addition, according to the insurance company, the house contents insured under point 2.2 of the policy conditions are those used mainly in the place of insurance indicated in the policy. In its response, the insurance company also cites the fact that the camera was at no point used in the place of insurance.

According to the insurance company, the customer also failed to provide the customs clearance decision on the lenses, which the insurance company required as evidence that the lenses had been in Finland or in the place of insurance before the trip. In its response, the insurance company cites the Insurance Contracts Act, under which a compensation claimant must provide the insurer with such documentation and information as is required for assessing the insurer's liability and as the claimant can be reasonably required to provide, with due consideration of the opportunities available to the insurer to obtain such information. According to the insurance company, an additional compensation is possible if the customer provides the customs clearance decision. In the insurance company’s view, the additional compensation is possible because the original currency conversion was done with an incorrect currency, and the compensation amount in the original compensation decision is therefore smaller than the amount demanded by the customer.

As for the information given to the customer in writing in November 2019 concerning the contents of the insurance, the insurance company has stated in its advisory reply to FINE that the reply given to the customer was correct. According to the insurance company, the reply given to the customer does not, however, affect the examination of the case. In the insurance company’s view, the customer was erroneously paid a compensation earlier even though the property was not covered by the insurance policy.

Resolution recommendation

Formulation of the question

The case involves the question of whether the customer is entitled to compensation for the objects stolen during his trip. It is uncontested that the theft occurred. What must be assessed is whether the property stolen during the trip was covered by the luggage insurance and home contents insurance included in the customer’s home insurance policy.

Applicable norms of law and policy conditions

Under Section 69 of the Insurance Contracts Act (“Claimant's duty of disclosure”), a compensation claimant must provide the insurer with such documentation and information as is required for assessing the insurer's liability and as the claimant can be reasonably required to provide, with due consideration of the opportunities available to the insurer to obtain such information.

Under Section 9 of the Insurance Contracts Act (“Responsibility for incomplete or incorrect information”), if the insurer or its representative has failed to provide the necessary information or has given incorrect or misleading information to the policy holder when marketing the insurance, the insurance contract is considered to be in force to the effect understood by the policy holder on the basis of the information received.

Correspondingly, the provision contained in Subsection 1 also applies to situations where incomplete, incorrect or misleading information given on the insurance during its validity can be considered to have affected the policy holder's action. This does not, however, apply to information given by the insurer or its representative on compensation or benefits payable after the occurrence of an insured event.

Vahinkotapaukseen tulevat sovellettavaksi kotivakuutusehdot, jotka ovat voimassa 12.8.2019 alkaen. Vakuutusehtojen kohdan 3 (Vakuutusturvat) alakohdan 3.4 (Varkaus- ja ilkivaltaturva) mukaan vakuutuksesta korvataan äkillinen ja ennalta arvaamaton välitön esinevahinko, jonka syynä on varkaus tai sen yritys. […]

Vakuutuksen ehtojen kohdan 2 (Vakuutuksen kohde) alakohdan 2.2 (Irtaimisto) mukaan vakuutuksen kohteena on vakuutetun omistama vakuutuskirjaan merkitty irtaimisto. Jos irtaimisto on vakuutettu enimmäiskorvausmäärästä, tämä on mainittu vakuutuskirjassa.

Irtaimistolla tarkoitetaan kotitalouden päivittäiseen ja vapaa-ajan käyttöön tarkoitettuja tavanomaisia esineitä, joita käytetään pääasiassa vakuutuskirjaan merkityssä vakuutuspaikassa.

Vakuutus sisältää myös sellaiset vakuutetun vuokraamat tai lainaamat esineet, jotka vakuutetun omistamina kuuluisivat hänen vakuutettuun irtaimistoonsa.

[…]

Vakuutusehtojen kohdan 2.3 (Matkatavarat) mukaan vakuutuksen kohteena ovat vakuutetun omistamat matkatavarat vakuutuskirjaan merkittyyn enimmäiskorvausmäärään asti vakuutustapahtumaa kohti.

Matkatavaroilla tarkoitetaan kotitalouden päivittäiseen ja vapaa-ajan käyttöön tarkoitettuja tavanomaisia esineitä, jotka ovat matkalla mukana. Vakuutukseen sisältyy lisäksi sellainen vuokrattu tai lainattu omaisuus, joka vakuutetun omistamana kuuluisi hänen vakuutettuun irtaimistoonsa.

[…]

Asiakkaan vakuutuskirjan mukaan asiakkaan koti-irtaimisto ja matkatavarat on vakuutettu LaajaPlus-turvatasolla.

Vakuutukseen lisäksi sovellettavaksi tulevien LaajaPlus-irtaimistovakuutusehtojen, jotka ovat voimassa 1.1.2017 alkaen, kohdan 1 (Vakuutettu irtaimisto) mukaan LaajaPlus-turvassa on korotettu joidenkin esine- ja omaisuusryhmien enimmäiskorvausmääriä. Vakuutuksen kohteena olevien yksittäisten esineiden tai tiettyjen esine- tai omaisuusryhmien enimmäiskorvausmäärät on kerrottu seuraavassa taulukossa.

Kohde

Enimmäis-
korvaus-
määrä euroa

Yksittäinen esine tai kokoelma 17 000
Enintään 17 000 euron hintaisia
yksittäisiä taideteoksia, koruja ja
muita arvoesineitä yhteensä
50 000

[…]

LaajaPlus vakuutusehtojen kohdan 2 (Matkatavarat ulkomaan matkalla) mukaan LaajaPlus-turva matkatavaravahingon omavastuu on 50 euroa, mikäli vahingon määrä on enintään 3 500 euroa. Määrä voi sisältää rahaa 500 euroon saakka. Matkatavarakohde on voimassa enintään 45 vuorokautta kestävällä ulkomaan matkalla.

The conditions applicable to the loss event are those of the home insurance policy, effective as of 12 August 2019. Under section 3 of the policy conditions (“Insurance coverages”), point 3.4 (“Theft and vandalism coverage”), the policy covers any sudden and unforeseen direct material damage caused by theft or attempted theft. […]

Under section 2 of the policy conditions (“Insured object”), point 2.2 (“Home contents”), the insured object includes the home contents owned by the insured person and indicated in the policy. If the home contents are insured for the maximum compensable amount, this is mentioned in the policy.

“Home contents” refers to the normal objects intended for the household’s everyday and leisure use that are used mainly in the place of insurance indicated in the policy.

The insurance policy also covers those objects rented or borrowed by the insured person that would be included in the insured home contents if owned by the insured person.
[…]

Under point 2.3 (“Luggage”) of the policy conditions, the insured object includes the luggage owned by the insured person, up to the maximum compensable amount indicated in the policy per each insured event.

“Luggage” refers to the normal objects intended for a household’s everyday and leisure use that are along on a trip. In addition, the insurance policy covers the rented or borrowed property that would be included in the insured home contents if owned by the insured person.
[…]

According to the customer’s insurance policy, the customer’s home contents and luggage are insured at the LaajaPlus coverage level.

Under section 1 (“Insured home contents”) of the additionally applicable conditions of the LaajaPlus home contents insurance, effective as of 1 January 2017, the LaajaPlus coverage includes raised maximum compensable amounts for some categories of objects and property. The maximum compensable amounts for the individual objects or particular categories of objects or property included in the coverage are indicated in the following table.

Object Maximum
compensable
amount in EUR
Individual object or collection 17 000
Individual works of art, jewellery and
other valuable objects priced at
EUR 17,000 maximum, in total
50 000

[…]

Under section 2 (“Luggage on a foreign trip”) of the LaajaPlus insurance conditions, the LaajaPlus coverage for damage to luggage has a deductible of EUR 50, provided that the amount of loss is no more than EUR 3,500. The amount of loss may include money up to EUR 500. The luggage coverage is effective on foreign trips lasting up to 45 days at most.

Evaluation of the case

In the case at hand, the customer’s backpack was stolen while travelling in Spain, containing the camera the customer had bought in Ukraine approximately a month and a half earlier, which the customer’s parents had brought from Ukraine to Spain for him. The backpack also contained three lenses that the customer had bought in Ukraine about six months earlier. What must be evaluated is whether the property stolen from the customer during the trip was covered by the luggage insurance and home contents insurance included in the customer’s home insurance policy.

According to the insurance company, the policy conditions require that in order to be covered by the luggage insurance and home contents insurance, the objects in question must have been in the place of insurance before the trip. In addition, according to the insurance company, the conditions of the home contents insurance require that before the trip, the objects must have been used mainly in the place of insurance indicated in the policy.

The material scope of the insurance is determined by the insurance contract and its conditions. According to the principles of contract law, conditions must be interpreted in accordance with their wording.

Under point 2.3 (“Luggage insurance”) of the policy conditions at hand, the insured object is the luggage owned by the insured person, up to the maximum compensable amount indicated in the insurance policy per each insured event. Under these conditions, “luggage” refers to the normal objects intended for a household’s everyday and leisure use that are along on a trip. In addition, the insurance policy covers any rented or borrowed property that would be included in the insured home contents if owned by the insured person. The Insurance Complaints Board finds that this policy condition defining the objects of the luggage insurance cannot be interpreted, in accordance with its wording, to mean that the object of the luggage insurance would only include those of the objects along on a trip by the insured person that were specifically used on an everyday and leisure basis by the insured person’s household in the place of insurance even before the trip.  According to the Insurance Complaints Board, this condition cannot thus be interpreted, in accordance with its wording, to mean that any property categorized as insured object in the policy conditions, owned by the insured person and purchased or acquired during a trip with the intention of bringing it to the place of insurance from the trip in question, would be included in the insured object only after it reaches the place of insurance indicated in the insurance policy.

According to the policy at hand, to the extent that the insured person’s luggage exceeds the maximum compensable amount under the luggage insurance, it is covered by the home contents insurance included in the home insurance policy. According to the online communication between the customer and the insurance company that is available to the Insurance Complaints Board, the customer inquired on 24 November 2019 about raising the maximum compensable amount under the luggage insurance from EUR 3,500 to about EUR 10,000. The insurance company gave the customer a reply on 25 November 2019, stating that the customer’s luggage insurance covers against damages up to EUR 3,500 with a deductible of EUR 50, and if the customer has luggage whose value exceeds this or if the total value of the luggage exceeds EUR 3,500, he can take advantage of his home insurance policy, which has no maximum compensable amount other than the EUR 17,000 maximum compensable amount for an individual object. The insurance company has also indicated that the reply in question was correct, which means that the supplementation of the luggage insurance with the home contents insurance in the way explained above is not in dispute in the case.

Under point 2.2 of the policy conditions (“Home contents”), the insured object includes the home contents owned by the insured person and indicated in the insurance policy. Under the conditions, “home contents” refers to the normal objects intended for the household’s everyday and leisure purposes that are used mainly in the place of insurance indicated in the policy. The insurance policy also covers those objects rented or borrowed by the insured person that would be included in the insured home contents if owned by the insured person. The Insurance Complaints Board finds that the policy condition at hand and its definition of the objects included in the home contents cannot be interpreted, in accordance with its wording, to mean that any objects purchased or acquired by the insured person during the trip with the intention of bringing them to the place of insurance after the trip would not be included in the home contents covered by the insurance policy before they have arrived in the place of insurance indicated in the insurance policy and before they have actually been used in the place of insurance indicated in the insurance policy. The Insurance Complaints Board also refers to the information given to the customer by the insurance company in November 2019, concerning the contents of the insurance policy. Under Section 9 of the Insurance Contract Act, if incorrect or misleading information has been given on the insurance during its validity and it can be considered to have affected the policy holder's action, the insurance contract is considered to be in force to the effect understood by the policy holder on the basis of the information received. The Insurance Complaints Board finds that this online communication, too, was grounds for the customer to believe that the luggage was covered by the insurance in accordance with the information given to the customer.

Based on the above, the Insurance Complaints Board finds that in the case at hand, after the customer received the property that was brought to him at the travel destination in Spain, this property became part of the property that the customer had along on that trip. At that point, the property at hand thus also became an insured object under the customer’s luggage insurance and home contents insurance. On these grounds, the Insurance Complaints Board finds that the customer’s camera was covered by the customer’s luggage insurance and home contents insurance at the time of occurrence of the damage, and the insurance company cannot withhold compensation for the camera on the grounds it has presented.

On the basis of the documents available to the Insurance Complaints Board, it remains unclear whether the customer had the lenses with him in Finland even before the trip or whether the lenses were brought to the customer in Spain for the trip in question. As far as the lenses are concerned, the insurance company’s view is that the customer should present the customs clearance documents on the importation of the lenses into Finland. According to the customer, the objects were stolen before customs clearance, which means that the documents in question do not exist. The customer has provided the insurance company with documents including the sales invoice and cash receipt for the lenses as well as the police report drawn up at the travel destination concerning the theft. The insurance company has denied compensation on the grounds that in the absence of the customs clearance documents, the insurance company has received no evidence that the lenses were in Finland or in the place of insurance before the trip. According to the insurance company, an additional compensation can be paid if the customer provides the insurance company with the customs clearance documents. 

The Insurance Complaints Board finds that under the policy conditions at hand, the absence of customs clearance as required by official regulations does not, as such, exclude the objects from coverage under the luggage insurance and home contents insurance. The insurance company thus cannot refuse compensation for the lenses from the customer’s luggage insurance and home contents insurance merely on grounds of absence of the customs clearance documents. The Insurance Complaints Board also refers to the above observations with regard to the information given to the customer by the insurance company on the contents of the insurance policy, as well as to the above observations to the effect that the policy conditions at hand cannot be interpreted, in accordance with their wording, to mean that objects purchased or acquired by the insured person during a trip with the intention of bringing them to the place of insurance after the trip in question would not be included in the luggage or the home contents covered by the insurance policy before they have arrived in the place of insurance indicated in the insurance policy and before they have actually been used in the place of insurance indicated in the insurance policy. In the case at hand, the Insurance Complaints Board finds that the insurance company cannot deny compensation for the lenses on the grounds it has presented.

End result

The Insurance Complaints Board finds that the insurance company cannot deny compensation from the customer’s luggage insurance and home contents insurance on the grounds it has presented. The Insurance Complaints Board recommends that the insurance company should pay the customer an additional compensation for the stolen property.

The Insurance Complaints Board was unanimous.

INSURANCE COMPLAINTS BOARD

Chair Norros                                               
Secretary Lappi

Members:
Haapasaari
Karhu
Karimäki
Korpiola

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