Research on Public Liability Insurance
|School||University of Foreign Trade and Economic|
|Keywords||Public Liability Insurance Insured Liability Coverage Medical Expenses Negligent tort Liability risks Liability Insurance Infringement Environmental liability insurance Contractual obligations|
Compared with western developed countries, public liability insurance in China is still on a much lower level of development. Moreover, the use of public liability insurance lags far behind the economic development in China. On the other hand, the steady and healthy development of China’s national economy calls for the protection and support provided by public liability insurance. Thus, thorough discussions and studies in this area have become one of the most urgent tasks to be conducted. This paper, which discusses the issue of public insurance, consists of five chapters.Chapter One presents a general introduction of public liability insurance, which focuses on the importance and historical development. The chapter begins with the clarification of the definition of public liability insurance, which constitutes the basis of the paper. Then, in the view of the characteristics of liability risks, the significance of public liability insurance is discussed below: (a) liability losses, which might result in a huge award, are virtually unlimited, (b) claims against insureds might incur high legal expenses and substantial input of time and efforts, (c) the full potential exposure cannot be measured accurately. The historical development is discussed at the end of the chapter. The prominence of positive aspects of public liability is given on both theoretical and historical basis.Chapter Two discusses the legal basis of public liability insurance, which covers the insured’s civil liabilities. With regard to their close relation, this chapter presents a detailed analysis on the legal definition of negligent torts and the significant modifications of negligence laws in recent years. Although the authorities are still split on the issue that whether contract liabilities could be covered under liability policies, the fact is that insurers have long included some types of contracts under the protection of liability policies to serve the demand of the public. The chapter also implies that public liability insurance are built on the legal basis, which could be found in the discussions contained in the following chapters.Chapter Three analyzes the coverage and payment of claims. Public liability insurance covers the insured’s direct liability, contingent liability, contract liability and medical payments. Although medical payments insurance is not a logical part of liability insurance, it is included because it frequently is included in liability policies. Note that medical payments are made separately. Public liability policies have two triggers, occurrence basis and claim-made basis. Occurrence policies are clear, while claim-made policies, which make the control and management of the risks easier and more efficient, involve extended report period.Policy limits represent the maximum sum that the insurer pays for the insured. Usually, liability policies include various limits. Due to the increasing awards of liability claims, insurers propose the structured payment to take the place of a lump-sum payment for high liability claim awards. A recent criticism of the present punitive system states that punitive damage should pay to the government, not the plaintiffs.<WP=5>Chapter Four gives its special concern on some issues frequently resulting in disputes. The definition of ’accident’ comes first. The traditional concept stressing that ’an accident’ must be accidental, which now has been replaced by an ’occurrence’ definition, hampers the further development of civil laws. An example is the wide use of the ’occurrence’ definition in the environmental liability policies.Another important issue involves intentional torts and intents to injure others. Intent to injure others means that the actor intends the consequences of his acts, or believes that they are substantially certain to follow. Public liability insurance covers intentional torts if the defendant could not anticipate the sequence of his acts. For that reason, it is important to judge whether an injury is an outcome that the person committing the act expects.