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The University of Southampton

LAWS6099 Insurance Law

Module Overview

Insurance is a crucial factor in nearly every commercial transaction and in many situations we encounter as private individuals. The commercial insurance industry in the UK, with its centre at Lloyd’s of London, is of global importance. Through this course, you will learn to interpret large and complex commercial insurance policies as well as better to understand your own motor insurance or home insurance policy. Insurance law has ancient roots and contains features that may seem surprising for a modern lawyer, or indeed to non-lawyers. The law is currently undergoing reform and it is therefore a dynamic period and an exciting time to study insurance law. The ongoing project of the Law Commissions, which has already resulted in significant legislative changes, will be a dominant feature of the course and emphasis will be not only on what the law is, but also on what it ought to be, with inspiration derived from other jurisdictions.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• to set out and discuss the main principles of Insurance Law and the commercial and regulatory policies and values which underpin it; • to deal with legal principles applicable to insurance contracts, deriving particularly from statutes and case law; • to practice legal analysis and problem solving at an advanced level in a commercial law subject; • to consider the social role played by insurance in managing large scale risks, addressing individual moral hazard, securing successful risk management and reduction and introduce the concepts of law and economics used to discuss these phenomena.

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, including: a. nature of insurance; b. role and function of brokers; c. insurable interest; d. utmost good faith; e. construction and terms; f. paying claims; g. consumer insurance; h. forms of insurance.
  • the main commercial and regulatory policies and values underpinning Insurance Law;
  • the existing areas of debate about what the law is and what it ought to be, both in UK and internationally;
  • the social role played by insurance and the main concepts used in discussing and defining that role.
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;
  • deal with legal problems whether on a factual basis (legal problem) or by reference to the analysis of existing legal provisions and their application (legal essays);
  • identify key legal and policy issues in their commercial and regulatory 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:

  • identify and locate relevant legal materials, including statutes, case law, standard form insurance contracts and commentary;
  • ability to identify, analyse and prioritise legal information and authority;
  • think critically in relation to policy issues;
  • express thoughts in a concise and clear manner in writing;
  • plan and manage your studying;
  • synthesise information in a concise and professionally written report;
  • manage time and work within appropriate word limits;
  • identify legal issues on a factual basis (legal problem) and describe the law applicable to them;
  • offer advice on existing legal provisions and controversial legal issues (legal essays).


Introduction – nature of insurance; life, property, liability insurance Introduction to Law Commission project Brokers – commercial market Brokers – consumer market Insurable interest Utmost good faith – a look back Duty of disclosure Fraudulent claims Construction and terms Paying claims Consumer insurance Property insurance Liability insurance Motor insurance Reinsurance – types of cover Reinsurance – clauses Insurers’ insolvency - direct action Subrogation

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching will be by one two hour seminar per week. Seminars 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 Seminars will alternate between a formal lecture structure and an interactive tutorial structure in odd and even weeks. A formative written assignment, to be submitted in the first term, will provide the opportunity to develop skills needed for the summative assignment.

Independent Study260
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

Law Commission materials.

Clarke. Law of Insurance Contracts. 

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





MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4000 words) 40%
Examination  (3 hours) 60%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4000 words) 40%
Examination  (3 hours) 60%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2.5 hours) 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:


Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase the mandatory/additional reading text as appropriate.

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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