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What is a Fire?

A curious point of law, bearing upon the responsibility of insurance companies, has just beun deoided in the Paris Law Courts (Fifth Chamber of the Civil Tribunal of the Seine), at the suit of the Countess FitzJames v. the Union Fire Insurance Company of Paris, by which it is ruled that insurance companies must indemnify all losses sustained by an assured caused by fire, even in cases where no destruction of premises has been caused by conflagration. The Countess FitzJames insured against fire, in the above company, all her furniture and effects for 558,000fr, and in hor policy, under Article 7, were mentioned her jewels, among which figured specially a pair of earrings, composed of fine pearls, valued at 18,000fr. On April 17, 1887, one of these earrings, which had been placed on the mantelpiece, was accidentally knocked down by the Countess and fell into the fire, where it was consumed, notwithstanding every ejjfort made to save the jewel. Expert jewellers"were cajlpd fn ty both parties to estimate the intrinsic value of the property destroyed, and 9,000fr Was stated to be the amount, less 60f r for molten gpld rescued from the ashes. The insurance company refused to pay for the burnt pearl, on the ground that there was no conflagration, that the fire which consumed the object was an ordinary fire t in other words, that there was no fire, and that the company was not responsible where combustion had only occurred by the ordinary use of a grate for heating purposes. The Court, however, rejeotp4 this,'and ruled that "the word fire, in matters of assurance, applied to every accident, however uniniporfcanj suph accident may be, so long as it itf caused by the action of fire." It was therefore ordered that the Union Company should pay to the Coun.teßß Fitzjames the value of the jewel, less that of the gold recovered viz,, 8,940fr and costs.

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Bibliographic details

What is a Fire?, Evening Star, Issue 8036, 12 October 1889, Supplement

Word Count

What is a Fire? Evening Star, Issue 8036, 12 October 1889, Supplement