n SA Mercantile Law Journal = SA Tydskrif vir Handelsreg - The bloody-handed, homicidal beneficiary and the materialisation of the life insurance risk : : case comment

Volume 21, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1015-0099
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2185



It is trite that insurance law is, generally speaking, nothing more than instances of the application of general principles of the law of obligations in a particular context. Thus, the general principles of the law of contract govern, or should govern, insurance contracts too. The general principles of the law of delict govern, or should govern, pre-contractual misrepresentation, including the duty of disclosure, in the case of insurance contracts too. And the general principles of the law of the law of unjustified enrichment should govern appropriate insurance situations such as the return of the insurance premium and subrogation too.

The notion of risk is one particularly associated with and is indeed an essential feature of the insurance contract. But even the operation of risk in the insurance situation should be governed by general principles where appropriate. That was nicely illustrated by the recent decision of the Cape High Court in (2008 JDR 0726 (C)), the facts of which were by no means novel, but the decision in which provides an opportune moment to reflect once again on the governing general principles.

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