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Insurance is a cornerstone of effective risk transfer. It is often critical to the viability of commercial enterprises and transactions. However, insurance contracts and arrangements have become increasingly complex, and specialised knowledge is required to understand their operation and limitations. This subject will provide an in-depth understanding of liability insurance, which indemnifies insureds against liability to third parties, and comprises a large part of the insurance market. It will examine the roles and obligations of participants in the insurance industry, different types of liability insurance, key principles of the common law regarding insurance, and legislative intervention, especially the Insurance Contracts Act 1984 (Cth), including recent amendments to the Act. The lecturers are barristers specialising in insurance law, who for many years have represented and advised both Australian and overseas insurers.
Principal topics include:
- The structure and operation of contracts of liability insurance, and the main forms of liability insurance, including professional indemnity insurance public and products liability insurance, and directors’ and officers’ insurance
- The operation of the global insurance industry and the roles of various insurance industry participants, such as underwriters (including Lloyd's syndicates), excess insurers, co-insurers, reinsurers, captives, underwriting agents, claims officers, lawyers, insurance brokers and loss adjusters
- An overview of the legislative and regulatory framework for the Australian insurance industry
- The construction of insuring clauses and extensions
- The construction of exclusion clauses and conditions, including cross-liability, severability and non-imputation clauses
- The operation and effect of the Insurance Contracts Act 1984 (Cth) and its interplay with the laws of contract, equity and tort, on matters including:
- The duty of utmost good faith
- Misrepresentation and non-disclosure
- Notification of claims and circumstances
- Section 54 of the Insurance Contracts Act 1984 (Cth) and remedies for breach of insurance contracts
- Cancellation of insurance contracts
- Rights of third party beneficiaries
- Double insurance
- An analysis of issues requiring further legislative reform.
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed this subject will:
- Have advanced technical skills required to analyse liability insurance contracts, including insuring clauses, extensions, exclusions and conditions found in those contracts
- Have a sophisticated understanding of the key common law and equitable principles affecting liability insurance contracts, including subrogation, double insurance, waiver, estoppel and election
- Have specialised knowledge of various forms of liability insurance contracts such as professional indemnity insurance, public and products liability insurance, and directors’ and officers’ insurance
- Have specialised knowledge of the roles played by various insurance industry participants, such as underwriters (including Lloyd's syndicates), excess insurers, co-insurers, reinsurers, captives, underwriting agents, claims officers, lawyers, insurance brokers and loss adjusters
- Have a detailed understanding of the operation of the Insurance Contracts Act 1984 (Cth) and its interface with the common law and equity, in particular regarding the duty of utmost good faith, misrepresentation and non-disclosure, rights of third party beneficiaries, notification of claims and claim circumstances, and subrogation
- Be able to critically assess the effectiveness of the Insurance Contracts Act 1984 (Cth) and the common law, and to articulate arguments regarding the need for legislative reform for specialist audiences.
Last updated: 11 February 2021