Main principles of Insurance:
- Utmost good faith
- Insurable Interest
- Proximate Cause
Utmost Good Faith (Uberrimae Fides)
As a client it is your duty to disclose all material facts to the risk being covered. A material fact is a fact which would influence the mind of a prudent underwriter in deciding whether to accept a risk for insurance and on what terms. The duty to disclose operates at the time of inception, at renewal and at any point mid term.
On the happening of an event insured against, the Insured will be placed in the same monetary position that he/she occupied immediately before the event taking place. In the event of a claim the insured must:
Prove that the event occurred
Prove that a monetary loss has occurred
Transfer any rights which he/she may have for recovery from another source to the Insurer, if he/she has been fully indemnified.
The right of an insurer which has paid a claim under a policy to step into the shoes of the insured so as to exercise in his name all rights he might have with regard to the recovery of the loss which was the subject of the relevant claim paid under the policy up to the amount of that paid claim. The insurer’s subrogation rights may be qualified in the policy.
In the context of insurance subrogation is a feature of the principle of indemnity and therefore only applies to contracts of indemnity so that it does not apply to life assurance or personal accident policies. It is intended to prevent an insured recovering more than the indemnity he receives under his insurance (where that represents the full amount of his loss) and enables his insurer to recover or reduce its loss.
The right of an insurer to call on other insurers similarly, but not necessarily equally, liable to the same insured to share the loss of an indemnity payment i.e. a travel policy may have overlapping cover with the contents section of a household policy. The principle of contribution allows the insured to make a claim against one insurer who then has the right to call on any other insurers liable for the loss to share the claim payment.
If an insured wishes to enforce a contract of insurance before the Courts he must have an insurable interest in the subject matter of the insurance, which is to say that he stands to benefit from its preservation and will suffer from its loss.
In non-marine insurances, the insured must have insurable interest when the policy is taken out and also at the date of loss giving rise to a claim under the policy.
An insurer will only be liable to pay a claim under an insurance contract if the loss that gives rise to the claim was proximately caused by an insured peril. This means that the loss must be directly attributed to an insured peril without any break in the chain of causation.