England and Wales
The law governing insurance and reinsurance contracts in England & Wales (provisions for Scotland and Ireland should be considered separately) is to be found in large part in the ordinary principles of English contractual law, with certain additional common law and equity principles - as established by case law - applying more particularly to insurance and reinsurance contracts.
There are any number of important sources of insurance law to be found (in cases, books, articles, market documents, EU legislation etc) with only limited statutes of significance to insurance, but among these the Marine Insurance Act 1906 remains far and away the most important, applying also, despite its name, to non-marine and reinsurance business.
That Act heads the following list of the most important items of legislation, presently publicly available, which does not attempt to be comprehensive, omitting many provisions concerning, by way of example, the more detailed regulation of insurance and where in some classes insurance coverage is made compulsory.
While every effort has been made to identify and summarise these accurately, legislation is naturally always subject to change, and if to be relied upon should always be verified by reference to the website - www.legislation.gov.uk - and/or more specific legal advice. What follows is provided for convenience, guidance and general interest only.
- Marine Insurance Act 1906
The Marine Insurance Act 1906 (MIA) is the main piece of legislation governing marine insurance law. MIA is also applicable to non-marine contracts in a number of areas, in particularly in relation to the duty of good faith and insurance warranties.
Third Party (Rights Against Insurers) Act 1930
The Third Party (Rights Against Insurers) Act 1930 confers upon third parties the right to claim against an insolvent insured's insurers thereby removing insurance claims from pool of creditors. In effect, the third party is given the rights under the policy of the insolvent insured.
Third Party (Rights Against Insurers) Act 2010
The Third Party (Rights Against Insurers) Act 2010 updates the 1930 Act.
Financial Services and Markets Act 2000
The Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA) governs the regulation of all financial services in the United Kingdom. Both insurers and intermediaries are regulated in accordance with FSMA. Key provisions include the general prohibition against carrying on a regulated activity without permission, what financial services activities are required to be regulated, rules concerning financial promotions, the process for transferring insurance business, regulatory rule making powers and controlled functions in firms.
Lloyd's Act 1982
The Lloyd's Act established the Council of Lloyd's and sets out various powers and functions of the Council.
Life Assurance Act 1774
The Life Assurance Act 1744 (LAA) was enforced to tackle what was at the time widespread gambling on lives. The LLA now specifies that no insurance can be taken out on the life of a person without interest. Further it specifies that the name of the life assured should be included in the policy and that the insured should recover no more than the value of their interest. The LAA specifies that a policy where there is no interest is void.
Fires Prevention (Metropolis) Act 1774
The Fires Prevention (Metropolis) Act 1774 (FPMA) provides a statutory form of reinstatement. Where fraud or arson is suspected on the part of the insured, a person interested (for example a tenant of property destroyed by fire) can require the insurer to reinstate property regardless of whether the person is party to the insurance contract.
Consumer Insurance (Disclosure and Representations) Act 2012
The Consumer Insurance (Disclosure and Representations) Act 2012 introduces a consumer regime governing pre-contractual misrepresentations in insurance contracts. Took effect from 6 April 2013.
For more information regarding any of the above, contact:
Mr Tim Hardy
16 Chalcot Crescent
London NW1 8YD
Tel: +44 (0)20 7722 6981
Fax: +44 (0)20 7586 5736