Insurance Act 2015: A new regime for commercial and marine insurance law

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The fair presentation of commercial risks under the Insurance Act 2015

The fair presentation of commercial risks under the Insurance Act 2015

Peter MacDonald Eggers QC

2.1 Introduction

The Law Commission has long desired to reform the duty of utmost good faith borne by the parties to the contract of insurance. The attempts at law reform began in the 1950s and were followed by a review of the law in the 1980s. However, it was after the courts began in the late 1990s to express hostile views towards the draconian remedy of avoidance available to an insurer who had received less than a fair presentation of the risk that the Law Commission began its most determined effort to change the law. Those efforts were repaid by the passage of the Insurance Act 2015 (“the 2015 Act”) in February 2015. As far as the duty of utmost good faith is concerned, the 2015 Act applies to business (or non-consumer) insurance,2 and entered into force on 12th August 2016, applying to all contracts of insurance concluded on or after that date and to all variations to insurance contracts, where the variation was agreed on or after that date, even if the insurance contract was agreed earlier.3

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