INTRODUCTION

Insurance

By redistributing risks among a large number of people, an insurance contract helps to mitigate losses from accidents insured by an individual. In return for a specified payment of premium, the insurer undertakes to pay the insured or his beneficiary a specified amount of money (i.e. sum insured / limit of liability) should the insured suffer a loss through the occurrence of an event (insured peril) covered by the insurance contract. By pooling both the financial contributions and the risks of a large number of policyholders, the insurer is able to absorb losses better than the uninsured individual. Insurers may offer insurance to any individual who is able to pay, or they may contract with members of a group (e.g. employees of a firm) to offer special rates for group insurance. Marine insurance, covering ships and voyages, is the oldest form of insurance. Fire insurance arose in the 17th century, and other forms of property insurance became common with the spread of industrialisation in the 19th century. It is now possible to insure almost any kind of property, including homes, businesses, motor vehicles, and goods in transit.