Washington Law Review


Under the federal admiralty "strict compliance rule," a policy of marine insurance is voided by an insured vessel owner's failure to comply with express policy terms or "warranties." Although recognized and applied by a majority of the federal circuits, the strict compliance rule has been improperly ignored by a handful of district courts within the Ninth Circuit. Instead, by misapplying the holding of Wilburn Boat v. Fireman's Fund Insurance Co., a 1955 Supreme Court case, and by ignoring the Ninth Circuit's interpretation of Wilburn Boat in Bohemia, Inc. v. Home Insurance Co., these district courts have turned to state insurance law, requiring a causal or other relationship between a breached policy warranty and the loss before voiding coverage. This Comment describes these current inconsistencies among marine insurance cases in the Ninth Circuit and the importance of maintaining uniformity in admiralty law and in uniformly applying the well-established strict compliance rule.

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