The Quarantine Act has been replaced by the Biosecurity (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Act 2015

The Quarantine Act has been replaced by the Biosecurity (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Act 2015

In the insurance industry we have to be across so much, as our industry touches virtually every part of the economy.

This week has been quite hectic and I had printed off the Quarantine Act to read in full during the weekend, as it features in several insurance policies invoking an exclusion when a disease is notifiable under this Act.

However, this afternoon a broker who asked to remain anonymous, was ahead of me and started her research and found that the Quarantine Act 1908 has been replaced by the Biosecurity (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Act 2015.

I have never seen these words in any exclusion. So what does this mean for it?

When I draft a policy, and I need to refer to a piece of legislation, I quote the current name of the legislation or standard and then say: “or its current equivalent“. An example is the way I drafted an endorsement for Glass in the Mark IV and Mark V ISR policies.

The cost incurred in repairing or replacing the broken glass in accordance with Australian Standard AS 1288-2006 or its current equivalent,

Emphasis mine

Taking a quick look at a handful of exclusions for infectious diseases I see that most read: Quarantine Act 1908 (as amended).

When I search the word amended in Google I get the following definition:

verb past tense: amended; past participle: amended

  1. make minor changes to (a text, piece of legislation, etc.) in order to make it fairer or more accurate, or to reflect changing circumstances.”the rule was amended to apply only to non-members”
  2. improve the texture or fertility of (soil). “amend your soil with peat moss or compost”

Here we do not appear to have an amendment that is a minor change but a repeal of the act and a whole new act.

Using the same search engine, the definition for repeal reads:

repeal/verb past tense: repealed; past participle: repealed

revoke or annul (a law or act of parliament). “the legislation was repealed five months later”

This may mean that insureds may challenge the current exclusion.

This is a case where I ask that you do not shoot the messenger. I did not write the exclusion. My understanding is driven from the reinsurance market and so I assume reinsurance programs use the same language. If they do not, and reinsurers exclusions have been updated to reflect the change in legislation from 3+ years ago, then…

This sort of thing can easily be overlooked. However, with so much legislation at state and federal level, it is more than one person can hope to cover particularly when they are doing other things as well. That is where our industry body needs to have the resources to do it for the entire industry.

3 responses to “The Quarantine Act has been replaced by the Biosecurity (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Act 2015”

  1. Carl Davies says:

    Hi Allan, thank you for the information regarding the Biosecurity (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Act 2015.

    If you haven’t already done so, you may also wish search for the Biosecurity (Listed Human Diseases) Determination 2016 which, among other things, includes a list of seven [notifiable] human diseases.

  2. Carl Davies says:

    Hi Allan, further to my comment dated 7 February 2020, it is my understanding that Corona Virus was added to the List of [notifiable] Human Diseases in January 2020 and, therefore, it would now be regarded as a [notifiable] human disease that is regarded as an exclusion to the “Infectious Diseases … Endorsement” applicable to the Business Interruption section of an ISR or business package policy.
    Thank you once again for alerting us to the fact that the Quarantine Act has been repealed and replaced.

  3. Allan says:

    Hi Carl, you are perfectly correct. I do see a possible issue where an insurance policy refers to the abolished Quarantine Act and not its replacement the Biosecurity Act 2015.

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