Witherbys Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Marine Insurance

Published Date

December 2003

Witherbys Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Marine Insurance

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This publication is a comprehensive encyclopaedia and dictionary for the marine insurance industry.

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Previously entitled the ‘Dictionary of Marine Insurance Terms and Clauses’, this is the retitled 6th edition of this well established reference book on marine insurance business.

The origins of marine insurance were ably traced, early in the 20th century, by Victor Dover. In his ‘Handbook to Marine Insurance’ he recorded references to insurance practices as far back as 3,000 BC. But the earliest records of marine insurance contracts effected in London were based on Italian policies with dates in the 13th and 14th centuries AD. It is terms and clauses from these documents that persisted over the years to be included in the Elizabethan Act, 1601, and in the SG policy form adopted by Lloyd’s in 1779. This rigid retention of antiquated terms by conservative underwriters, despite the fact that many of these terms had long since outlived their usefulness, caused confusion in the interpretation of marine insurance contracts. Early editions of the Dictionary of Marine Insurance Terms clarified the situation to some extent; but the most effective move in this direction came with abrogation of the SG policy form in 1982/83, in the London markets, and its replacement with the MAR form of policy and new Institute clauses for attachment thereto. At the time it was thought that all world markets would follow London, but this proved not to be the case. Although this new type of contract was accepted by most practitioners, there are still some overseas practitioners who cling to the old form of cover. For the benefit of these we have retained, in Witherby’s Dictionary, definitions of many old terms and summaries of clauses that are no longer used in the London marine insurance contract.


The last decades of the twentieth century saw many changes in shipping and insurance practices. The security on which insurance contracts are based has been impaired to a degree whereby the existence of major centres of insurance have been threatened, resulting in hardening markets and restructuring of insurance reserves to strengthen the security that is vital to the insurance industry and to world shipping and commerce. With these changes we have seen many new market practices introduced and the emergence of terms, conditions and clauses more suitable for the risks of today. While retaining such of the old entries as will interest students of shipping and insurance related thereto, we have incorporated in this work many new terms, conditions and clause summaries; also including many terms and abbreviations used in shipping practice and maritime commerce.


During compilation of this dictionary the Institute of London Underwriters (ILU) merged with the London International Insurance and Reinsurance Market Association (LIRMA) to form the International Underwriting Association of London as from December 31, 1998. All the functions previously carried out by the ILU, other than those relating to property management, were taken over by the IUA. But the marine insurance clauses, although they now come under the auspices of the IUA, continue to be published in Witherby’s reference book of marine insurance clauses as ‘Institute’ clauses and are so referred to throughout this book. Further, where the term ‘MAR’ policy form appears herein, in relation to member companies of the IUA writing marine insurance and/or marine reinsurance risks (formerly known as Institute companies), it is deemed to be the IUA marine policy (3887) plus the IUA marine schedule (3901). It should, further, be noted that policy signing and accounting procedures, both for Lloyd’s and the IUA, are now carried out by Xchanging services.

Robert H Brown, FInstAM, ACII

Chartered Insurance Practitioner

Principal Partner of Marine Insurance Training Services

Lecturer at the City of London Polytechnic (1955–1983)

Examiner for the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (1957–1983)

Title: Witherbys Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Marine Insurance
Number of Volumes: 1
Edition: Sixth Edition
Number of Pages: 782
Product Code: 4405Q014
ISBN: ISBN 13: 978-1-85609-222-7 (9781856092227), ISBN 10: 1-85609-222-4 (1856092224)
Published Date: December 2003
Binding Format: Paperback
Book Height: 240 mm
Book Width: 170 mm
Book Spine: 30 mm
Weight: 1.50 kg
Author: Robert H Brown

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