In the nineteenth century a clause concerning civil liability was attached to insurance documents in maritime transport. Concretely, this confirmed the insurer's acceptance of three-quarters of the liability for any collision. The ship owner accepted one quarter of the liability. Ship owners, wishing to spread the material risk of damages connected with the collision of vessels, began to join together in so-called mutual insurance clubs. Thirteen of the largest mutual insurance clubs formed a society called the International Group of P and I Clubs. This insures and reinsures more than 90% of world tonnage (and almost 100% of the cargo of European tonnage). The author discusses the decision of the European Commission (1999/329/WE) which grants the International Group of P and I Clubs exemption from the prohibition of cartel collusion and from two agreements: the International Group Agreement and the International Pooling Agreement, to both o f which it exclusively applies. The first agreement limits competition between clubs and the possibility of bringing a ship owner insured in one club into another club by offering him a lower rate. The second agreement concerns the spreading o f the risk o f liability for claims among members of the Group.
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