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CHAPTER 11 The assured’s duty of utmost good faith and claims

Good Faith and Insurance Contracts

Page 323


The assured’s duty of utmost good faith and claims

The assured’s duty of utmost good faith and claims

11.01 The obligation of utmost good faith in respect of insurance contracts requires a higher standard of behaviour from the parties than is the case with other types of contract. It is not enough, when the parties are negotiating towards the insurance contract, for the assured to refrain from actively deceiving the insurer. At the pre-contractual stage, the non-consumer assured is subject to a positive duty1 to disclose circumstances material to the risk, which may result in the insurer declining the risk or imposing additional and more onerous terms than those originally proposed. The insurer is of course subject to a reciprocal duty, albeit that duty may be of limited significance by reason of the reforms introduced by the Insurance Act 2015. That said, by reason of section 13A of the Insurance Act 2015, the insurance contract is subject to an implied term that the insurer will pay claims within a reasonable time, the breach of which term may expose the insurer to a claim for damages by the assured.

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