Jewish insurance company, storage company, delivery service dealing with Chametz of clients

This Halacha is an excerpt from our Sefer

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May a Jewish insurance company insure Chametz over Pesach?[1]

It is permitted for Jewish owned insurance company to insure Chametz products over Pesach so long as they have no involvement in where the Chametz is stored, and the Chametz being insured is stored either in an area owned by the owner, or in an area prearranged by the owner, without any interaction of the insurance company. Thus, a Jewish owned insurance company may continue to insure the Chametz of a company, or supermarket, if the Chametz is kept in the warehouses of the company/supermarket. This applies whether the owner of the Chametz is Jewish or gentile, and even if the Jewish owner does not plan to sell his Chametz before Pesach.[2]

 

May a Jewish storage company hold Chametz over Pesach?

A Jewish owned storage company may not allow any Chametz products to remain within their storage if they provide any type of insurance to the items found in the storage. This includes even if they only have liability in a case of negligence. [Some storage companies may be defined as a Shomer Sachar, and are hence automatically Halachically held fully liable for the items found in the storage.[3]] The only option they have is to sell their company [and its insurance coverage] to a gentile over Pesach. Alternatively, they are to make a legal arrangement that they are not held legally responsible for liability of the items in the storage, even due to negligence, and all the liability is rather provided by an external insurance company, of which the clients pay on their own. [It, however, does not help to contract an external insurance company to insure the Chametz, if legally the storage owners are also able to be held liable, such as if they were negligent in guarding the Chametz.] A final option would be to stipulate in the contract that the storage company’s liability, even in case of negligence, is limited to only non-food items, and thus have Chametz items automatically excluded from any and all forms of liability.

May a Jewish shipping company ship Chametz over Pesach?

This matter poses several Halachic issues, which include liability over the Chametz and doing business on Pesach with Chametz.[4] The best option they have to avoid all these issues, is to sell their company [and its insurance coverage] to a gentile over Pesach.

May a Jew deliver a Chametz package for a gentile on Pesach?

If the Jew will be held liable if he is negligent and causes loss or damage to the product, it is Biblically forbidden for him to deliver it. This is aside for other prohibitions involved as explained in Halacha 11 in Q&A!

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[1] Shearim Hametzuyanim Behalacha 114:29; Piskeiy Teshuvos 440:2

[2] As although Jewish owner is obligated to sell his Chametz to a gentile before Pesach, this does not cause another Jew who has liability on the Chametz to transgress, if the Chametz is not in his property. However, see Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid that the custom is for the insurance companies to sell the Chametz under their liability when they perform Mechiras Chametz, as is detailed in the Mechira document. Vetzaruch Iyun as for what purpose this is done, however, perhaps it’s done as a form of Zachin Leadam Shelo Befanav, to save a Jewish owner from transgression.

[3] See Michaber C.M. 303:2 and Shach C.M. 301:3 that according to the Rambam this applies even by the Chametz of a gentile regarding liability for negligence, and so rules Admur 441:14, 440:13 and Kuntrus Achron 440:6 to suspect for this opinion Lechatchila.

[4] See Halacha 11 regarding doing business with Chametz, and Q&A regarding delivering Chametz

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