Insurance Law


In this course, students will gain an understanding of the basics of insurance: what it is for and how it works. Students will be able to identify insurance needs and they will know how to go to market and satisfy such needs. Students will be able to interpret and find their way around an insurance contract. When given the facts of a hypothetical legal problem relating to insurance, students will be able to solve it.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

María del Val Bolívar Oñoro, VÍTOR BOAVENTURA XAVIER, Margarida Lima Rego


Weekly - 2

Total - 24

Teaching language



Not applicable.


* BASEDOW, Jürgen/ BIRDS, John/ CLARKE, Malcolm/ COUSY, Hermann/ HEISS, Helmut/ LOACKER, Leander (eds.): Principles of European Insurance Contract Law (PEICL), 2nd Expanded Edition, Verlag Dr. Otto Schmidt, Cologne 2016.

BAKER, Tom: Insurance law and policy: cases, materials and problems, 3rd Edition, Wolters Kluwer, Austin, Texas 2013.

BIRDS, John: Birds modern insurance law, 10th Edition, Sweet & Maxwell, London 2016.

BURLING, Julian/ LAZARUS, Kevin (eds.): Research handbook on international insurance law and regulation, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham and Northampton, Massachusetts 2011.

CLARKE, Malcolm: The law of liability insurance, 2nd Edition, Rutledge, New York 2017.

CLARKE, Malcolm: Policies and perceptions of insurance law in the twenty-first century, Oxford University Press, Oxford 2005.

JERRY II, Robert H./ RICHMOND, Douglas R.: Understanding insurance law, 4th Edition, LexisNexis, Danvers 2007.

LOWRY, John/ RAWLINGS, Philip/ MERKIN, Rob: Insurance law doctrines and principles, 3rd Edition, Hart Publishing, Oxford and Portland, Oregon 2011.

MARANO, Pierpaolo/ SIRI, Michele: Insurance regulation in the European Union. Solvency II and beyond, Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, Switzerland 2017.

MERKIN, Rob/ STEELE, Jenny: Insurance and the law of obligations, Oxford University Press, Oxford 2013.

PAOLINI, Adolfo/ NAMBISAN, Deepak: Directors and officers liability insurance, 2nd Edition, Rutledge, New York 2016.

REGO, Margarida Lima: Discrimination bans and insurance law in M. L. Rego/ B. Kuschke (eds.), Insurance and human rights, AIDA Europe Research Series on Insurance Law and Regulation 5 (forthcoming, Springer 2021).

REGO, Margarida Lima: Chapter 41, Portugal, in International insurance law and regulation, Center for International Legal Studies, Thomson Reuters Westlaw 2019, pp. 555-593.

REGO, Margarida Lima: Product oversight and customer demands and needs: contract law implications in Proceedings of the 19th Annual Conference of the Insurance Law Association of Serbia. Insurance Law and Practice, Challenges, New Technologies and Corporate Governance, AIDA Serbia / German Foundation for International Legal Co-Operation (IRZ) 2018, pp. 218-231.

REGO, Margarida Lima/ CARVALHO, Joana Campos: Insurance in today¿s sharing economy: new challenges ahead or a return to the origins of insurance? in P. Marano/ K. Noussia (eds.), InsurTech: a legal and regulatory view, AIDA Europe Research Series on Insurance Law and Regulation 1, Springer 2020, pp. 27-47.


* Principles of European Insurance Contract Law (PEICL).

Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

Directive (EU) 2016/97 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 January 2016 on insurance distribution (Insurance Distribution Directive).

Directive 2009/138/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2009 on the taking-up and pursuit of the business of Insurance and Reinsurance (Solvency II Directive).

Directive 2004/113/EC of the Council of 13 December 2004 implementing the principle of equal treatment between men and women in the access to and supply of goods and services (Gender Discrimination Directive).


European Court of Justice:

Rodrigues de Andrade, C-514/16, EU:C:2017:908.

Vnuk, C-162/13, EU:C:2014:2146.

Ambrósio Lavrador, C-409/09, EU:C:2011:371.

Test-Achats, C-236/09, EU:C:2011:100.

Teaching method

A team-based learning approach will be followed. Students must prepare for each class and will be called upon to carry out individual and group problem-solving exercises.

Evaluation method

All students will be evaluated by means of an anonymous final written exam (3 hours). During the semester, students will have the opportunity to be continuously evaluated by taking an active part in the classroom. Students will be evaluated for their individual and group performance by the professor and by their peers. The final grade will be: a) the grade obtained in the final exam, for students who do not obtain a continuous evaluation grade; and, for students who do, b) the higher of: (i) the grade obtained in the final exam; and (ii) an average of the final exam and the continuous evaluation grades.

Subject matter

1. Introduction. The basics of insurance: what it is for and how it works. Origins of insurance. The socio-economic relevance of insurance. Insuring: to compel or not to compel. Fundamentals of insurance.

2. Designing, concluding, interpreting and finding one s way around an insurance contract. 

The insurance contract: a legal product, with legal effects. Essential elements: the insurable risk and the insurable interest. Contracting parties and other persons of relevance. Designing insurance: product oversight and governance requirements. Offering insurance: the demands-and needs test. Concluding an insurance contract: what to tell, when to tell. Freedom of contract: mass insurance and large risks insurance. Fairness and equality in insurance.

Drafting and interpreting an insurance contract: uniform terms, standard terms. What to look for when analyzing an insurance policy: time and space; coverage types, limits and exclusions; risk-sharing mechanisms.

3. Loss has occurred: is it covered?

Notice of circumstances and insured events. Who may claim under an insurance contract? Mitigation. Performance, late performance and non-performance. Loss adjustment: what to pay, when to pay. Who bears the loss? Indemnity insurance and the indemnity principle, overinsurance and underinsurance. Multiple and double insurance. Rights of recourse and subrogation. 

Insurance litigation: regular courts and alternative dispute resolution. Enforcement procedures by the contracting parties and by third-party creditors.

4. Identifying and satisfying insurance needs.

Direct insurance, coinsurance, reinsurance. Individual and group insurance. Classes of insurance. A special focus on liability insurance. Insurance as guarantee. Identifying insurance needs: an insurance due diligence. The distribution of insurance: insurers and insurance intermediaries and their roles. Satisfying insurance needs: insurance programs. Distributors? disclosure and information duties. Conflicts of interests. Distance selling, electronic commerce.