X v Cie d'Assur Z

Date31 octobre 1945
Docket NumberCase No. 96
CourtCivil Tribunal (France)
France, Tribunal Civil de Montélimar.
Case No. 96
Cie d'Assur. Z.

War — In General — Belligerent Forces — Status of — Meaning of “Act of War” in Insurance Contract — International War — Civil War — Status of French Resistance Groups during Second World War.

The Facts.—This was an action against an insurance company for 90,000 frs. to cover damage sustained by a motor-lorry on which an insurance policy had been issued by the defendant company. The motor-lorry had been destroyed by fire after an explosion in March 1944 caused by a person or persons unknown. The defendant company contended that the explosion had been an “act of war” and that liability with regard to such acts was expressly excluded from the policy.

Held: that the Cie d'Assurance Z must pay the plaintiff the required sum. The act which led to the destruction of the lorry was an act of terrorism. A law of December 24, 1943, provided that insurance companies are liable for damage resulting from acts of terrorism. The Court said:

“We may consider as acts of foreign war acts which are committed by combatants in the strict sense of the term (allied armies, parachutists from allied airplanes, F.F.I, of General Koenig), or which are aimed directly against soldiers of the German army. We may describe as acts of civil war military operations, extensive both in time and space, between two or more parties with military organisations, acting openly. The sole aim of such operations is the overthrow of the established government. Spontaneous and sporadic public risings, generally disorganised, we may call popular movements. They have, perhaps, the same political causes as civil war, but are usually caused by social discontentment. It is clear from the foregoing considerations that the act which gave rise to the present case does not enter into the categories of foreign war or civil war, insurrection or popular rising.

“By the terms of a Law of December 24, 1943, insurance companies are bound to pay compensation for damage sustained in France which is the...

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