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The University of Southampton

LAWS3148 Insurance 1: Introduction to Insurance Contract Law

Module Overview

Insurance underpins much of economic activity. However, it also has a significant social function. In this module you will consider both the technical commercial law issues within insurance contract law and the social implications of organised risk pooling. The module therefore builds on general contract law, but provides a range of interesting political and social problems in which to debate. Insurance law has ancient roots- many of the principles pre-date those in general contract law- but it has survived largely unchanged for centuries. This is likely to change considerably in the near future as the Law Commission continues its extensive project to reform insurance contract law and as insurance law has to adapt to modern circumstances. This module will consider in detail the changes introduced by the Insurance Act 2015. The module will include study of • Nature of insurance • The making of insurance contracts • Role and function of brokers • Insurable interest • Utmost good faith • Construction and terms • Paying claims • Principles of consumer insurance • Comparative outlook

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• Discuss in depth the main principles of insurance contract law and the commercial and regulatory policies and values which underpin it. • Deal with the particular legal principles applicable to insurance contracts, deriving particularly from statutes and case law. • Discuss the interrelationship between tort law and insurance contract law. • Analyse and solve a specific type of contract law problems at an advanced level.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • the main principles which govern insurance law
  • the main commercial and regulatory policies and values underpinning insurance contract law.
  • the existing areas of debate about what the law is and what it ought to be, both in UK and internationally
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • analyse relevant legal materials, including international conventions, statutes, case law and standard form insurance contracts.
  • identify key legal and policy issues in their commercial contexts.
  • apply insurance contract law principles, with appropriate legal authorities, in the solution of complex practical problems
  • draft legal advice based upon such problems
  • critically appraise and offer solutions in existing areas of debate in UK and international insurance law.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • display clarity and objectivity in written discussion while demonstrating an appreciation of academic integrity
  • think critically in relation to policy issues
  • plan and manage your studying


This module focuses on the contractual principles used in the insurance market, and applied in the courts. • Introduction – nature of insurance; life, property, liability insurance • Making insurance contracts • Role of brokers – commercial market; Role of brokers – consumer market • Insurable interest • Utmost good faith; Duty of disclosure • Construction and terms - warranties

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include Teaching will be by two x 1-hour lectures per week and fortnightly tutorials. Tutorials will develop: 1. the structure of the subject and the presently applicable principles and policies 2. the major controversies and problems existing in relation to the interpretation of the legal provisions 3. draft legal instruments which are expected to change the law applicable 4. your skills in oral communication

Follow-up work12
Wider reading or practice15
Completion of assessment task48
Preparation for scheduled sessions48
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Lowry, Rawlins & Merkin (2011). Insurance Law: Doctrines and Principles. 

Law Commission.





MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


One copy of set textbook: Lowry, Rawlins & Merkin, Insurance Law: Doctrines and Principles (Hart, 3rd ed, 2011)

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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