Research group for Tort Law and Insurance Law
Doctoral project

Double insurance – responsibility and coordination

There are several non-life insurance products on the market, with diverse coverage. It is therefore not unusual that the insured has overlapping insurance contracts. But the insured shall not be compensated for his loss more than once. The question is therefore which insurance company he can claim compensation from, and how the loss shall be distributed among the insurance coverage. In her PhD project, Ingrid Marie Myklebust examines this.

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PhD student Ingrid Marie Myklebust does research on insurance contracts and when several insurances cover the same loss.
Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash

Main content

The Norwegian Insurance Contract Act section 6-3 gives those who have several insurances which covers «the same loss» right to choose which of the liable companies to claim compensation from, until they have received the compensation they altogether are entitled to. To avoid arbitrary results, the provision decides that the compensation thereafter is to be settled proportionally between the liable companies according to their responsibility. The two main research questions in Myklebusts project are 1) how one shall understand the criterion «the same loss» and 2) how the insurance contracts can be written to avoid double insurance without making unwanted lacunaes in the coverage.  

The first of these research questions is in other words what similarity between the insurance contracts is necessary regarding the rule in § 6-3. New insurance products, especially the house seller insurance, have made this question more pressing. To clarify the content of the criterion, Myklebust will amongst other analyse the concept of insurable interest. These general analyses will be tied to discussions of practical constellations of insurances, which illuminate different sides of the criterion «same loss». 

The other research question builds on the fact that double insurance often is economically inefficient, since it is paid for more coverage than can be made use of. One of the possible remedies to avoid double insurance, without making lacunaes, is clauses that make the coverage dependent upon what other coverage the insured has. Myklebust will analyse to what extent such clauses can be used to adapt the coverage, and how such clauses will influence on the distribution of the loss. This research question is closely linked to general questions regarding the link between solidarity and recourse, and when negative third-party effects limits the freedom of contract.