Insurance Law on English Insurance Market

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It is arguable that the categorisation of disputes between insurers and reinsurers has served to more effectively resolve disputes in law. Evaluate this statement in view of the development of the law in this area and state your view in relation to whether disputes are effectively resolved and as to whether they could still be better dealt with. To begin with, it will be necessary to look to provide a review of the development of the law and practice in this area of study that will consist of first looking to reflect upon the development of insurance law regarding its general application[1].

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On this basis, Lloyd’s “provides the facilities for and is the regulator of an English insurance market”[2] that began in the seventeenth century and now has virtually no limitations. But it must also be recognised that Lloyd’s is not specifically an underwriter of insurance because it is actually a ‘society’ of ‘Names’ who underwrite insurance, but do not actively engage in the industry[3], so it is necessary to look to effectively identify the broker to be able to effectively proceed[4]. Recognition of Common Disputes However, more specifically, with regards to the development of the law regarding disputes between insurers and reinsurers, it is important to appreciate disputes have been found to commonly arise in the following circumstances –

  • In relation to issues of disclosure and representation;
  • The binding effect of settlements; and
  • Drafting – with regards to the absence or use of inappropriate or untested wordings.

What has this meant for insurers? Contracts of a ‘facultative’ nature in this area have commonly been found to be in slip form, but more recently the courts in this country have looked to assist parties to reinsurance agreements. By way of illustration, any form of reinsurance agreement that is considered to fall within a direct life policy, so as to contravene the rules regarding insurable interests found within the provisions of the Life Assurance Act 1774, was effectively saved by the decision in Feasey v. Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada[5]. Therefore, it may be arguable the only reason that the market practice of arranging reinsurance before insurance may be considered somewhat superficial on the basis of the decision in General Accident Fire & Life Assurance Corporation & Others v. Tanter (The Zephyr)[6]. Moreover, it is also important to appreciate the ambiguity of words that have also been used in such agreements have been considered to be suitable to justify any finding of the fact the party reinsured should still be entitled to some form of indemnity even where they have been found to have acted to the contrary, illustrated by the decision in Re Charter v. Fagan [1996] 3 All ER 46[7] reached by the House of Lords.

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