A twisted interpretation of the contract cannot exclude insurance cover

With decision no. 11092 of June 10, 2020, the Third Civil Section of the Court of Cassation ruled out that a twisted interpretation of the insurance contract could be considered suitable to deny insurance cover, recalling the obligation of good faith and fairness as criteria for the interpretation of the contract.

In particular, in the ruling in question, two professionals, in their respective capacities as planner and construction manager, referred the matter to the Supreme Court in order to contest the decision of the Milan Court of Appeal which had ruled out the application of the insurance policy.  The courts of the second instance, in fact, had held that the policy was applicable only in the event of the total or partial ruin of the property, which did not exist in the present case, in respect of which, on the contrary, the damage had resulted only in danger of ruin and the detachment of certain elements of the flooring. More specifically, according to the reconstruction carried out by the Supreme Court, the judges did not interpret the contract correctly, since they did not observe that the insurance company, after concluding the contract and providing for the payment of the premiums, which were then collected for more than ten years, did not indicate during the relationship that the insurance contract concluded did not cover the risk in question. And the courts of the second instance concluded on the basis of a merely atomistic and formalistic interpretation of the contractual clause, omitting, instead, to refer to the fundamental principles for the interpretation of the contract, such as the criteria of global, systematic, functional and good faith interpretation, having regard specifically to the concrete cause of the contract concluded.

The Supreme Court, in fact, in granting the request, underlined that the obligation of good faith in the interpretation of the contract is based on the concept of loyalty, in not raising false trust and not speculating on them.T herefore, this principle does not allow “to give rise to twisted interpretations of the literal expressions contained in the contractual clauses, which do not correspond to the agreements reached and which have a meaning contrary to the practical reason or concrete cause of the agreement”.

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