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Chapter 9 Fundamental Legal Principles
Agenda Principle of Indemnity Principle of Insurable InterestPrinciple of Subrogation Principle of Utmost Good Faith Requirements of an Insurance Contract Distinct Legal Characteristics of Insurance Contracts Law and the Insurance Agent Copyright © 2008 Pearson Addison-Wesley. All rights reserved.
Principle of IndemnityThe insurer agrees to pay no more than the actual amount of the loss Purpose: To prevent the insured from profiting from a loss To reduce moral hazard Copyright © 2008 Pearson Addison-Wesley. All rights reserved.
Principle of IndemnityIn property insurance, indemnification is based on the actual cash value of the property at the time of loss There are three main methods to determine actual cash value: Replacement cost less depreciation Fair market value is the price a willing buyer would pay a willing seller in a free market Broad evidence rule means that the determination of ACV should include all relevant factors an expert would use to determine the value of the property Copyright © 2008 Pearson Addison-Wesley. All rights reserved.
Principle of IndemnityThere are some exceptions to the principle of indemnity: A valued policy pays the face amount of insurance if a total loss occurs Some states have a valued policy law that requires payment of the face amount of insurance to the insured if a total loss to real property occurs from a peril specified in the law Replacement cost insurance means there is no deduction for depreciation in determining the amount paid for a loss A life insurance contract is a valued policy that pays a stated sum to the beneficiary upon the insured’s death Copyright © 2008 Pearson Addison-Wesley. All rights reserved.
Principle of Insurable InterestTransparency Master 1.2 Principle of Insurable Interest The insured must stand to lose financially if a loss occurs Purpose: To prevent gambling To reduce moral hazard To measure the amount of loss When must insurable interest exist? Property insurance: at the time of the loss Life insurance: only at inception of the policy Copyright © 2008 Pearson Addison-Wesley. All rights reserved.
Principle of SubrogationSubstitution of the insurer in place of the insured for the purpose of claiming indemnity from a third person for a loss covered by insurance. Purpose: To prevent the insured from collecting twice for the same loss To hold the negligent person responsible for the loss To hold down insurance rates Copyright © 2008 Pearson Addison-Wesley. All rights reserved.
Principle of SubrogationThe insurer is entitled only to the amount it has paid under the policy The insured cannot impair the insurer’s subrogation rights Subrogation does not apply to life insurance and to most individual health insurance contracts The insurer cannot subrogate against its own insureds Copyright © 2008 Pearson Addison-Wesley. All rights reserved.
Principle of Utmost Good FaithA higher degree of honesty is imposed on both parties to an insurance contract than is imposed on parties to other contracts Supported by three legal doctrines: Representations are statements made by the applicant for insurance A contract is voidable if the representation is material, false, and relied on by the insurer An innocent misrepresentation of a material fact, if relied on by the insurer, makes the contract voidable Copyright © 2008 Pearson Addison-Wesley. All rights reserved.
Principle of Utmost Good FaithA concealment is intentional failure of the applicant for insurance to reveal a material fact to the insurer A warranty is a statement that becomes part of the insurance contract and is guaranteed by the maker to be true in all respects Statements made by applicants are considered representations, not warranties Copyright © 2008 Pearson Addison-Wesley. All rights reserved.
Requirements of an Insurance ContractTo be legally enforceable, an insurance contract must meet four requirements: Offer and acceptance of the terms of the contract Consideration – the values that each party exchange Legally competent parties, with legal capacity to enter into a binding contract The contract must exist for a legal purpose Copyright © 2008 Pearson Addison-Wesley. All rights reserved.
Distinct Legal Characteristics of Insurance ContractsTransparency Master 1.2 Distinct Legal Characteristics of Insurance Contracts Aleatory: values exchanged are not equal Unilateral: only the insurer makes a legally enforceable promise Conditional: policyowner must comply with all policy provisions to collect for a covered loss Personal: property insurance policy cannot be validly assigned to another party without the insurer's consent Contract of adhesion: since the insured must accept the entire contract as it is written, any ambiguities are construed against the insurer Copyright © 2008 Pearson Addison-Wesley. All rights reserved.
Law and the Insurance AgentAn agent is someone who has the authority to act on behalf of a principal (the insurer) Several laws govern the actions of agents and their relationship to insureds There is no presumption of an agency relationship An agent must be authorized to represent the principal Authority is either express, implied, or apparent Knowledge of the agent is presumed to be knowledge of the principal with respect to matters within the scope of the agency relationship Copyright © 2008 Pearson Addison-Wesley. All rights reserved.
Law and the Insurance AgentWaiver is defined as the voluntary relinquishment of a known legal right Estoppel occurs when a representation of fact made by one person to another person is reasonably relied on by that person to such an extent that it would be inequitable to allow the first person to deny the truth of the representation Copyright © 2008 Pearson Addison-Wesley. All rights reserved.
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