Auto Insurance as a Social Contract: Solving Automobile Insurance Coverage Disputes Through a Public Regulatory Framework

38 Pages Posted: 6 Nov 2010 Last revised: 13 Apr 2011

See all articles by Erik S. Knutsen

Erik S. Knutsen

Queen's University Faculty of Law

Date Written: November 4, 2010

Abstract

Automobile insurance in Canada is a product with a decidedly public purpose, a social contract. The provincial governments are heavily involved in the creation, regulation, drafting, and operation of the automobile insurance regime in any particular province. This public flavour to Canadian automobile insurance necessarily should affect the way one assesses the availability of insurance coverage in accident situations involving injuries or death. Understanding the limits of automobile insurance coverage for injuries or death in any given accident situation in Canada should be an exercise of interpretation akin to discerning the meaning of a public regulatory instrument with a public purpose, like a statute. This article proposes a novel interpretive framework for Canadian automobile insurance coverage disputes, one which accounts for the public purpose of such insurance and which searches for the true intent behind the language in the coverage-granting instruments. The framework also prompts an assessment of coverage decision consequences in a public compensatory regime and, in instances of coverage ambiguity, solves those ambiguities through basic tools of consumer protection.

Keywords: insurance, automobile insurance, contract, civil litigation, tort, liability

Suggested Citation

Knutsen, Erik S., Auto Insurance as a Social Contract: Solving Automobile Insurance Coverage Disputes Through a Public Regulatory Framework (November 4, 2010). Alberta Law Review, Vol. 48, No. 3, 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1703195

Erik S. Knutsen (Contact Author)

Queen's University Faculty of Law ( email )

Macdonald Hall
128 Union Street
Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N6
Canada
613-533-6000 ext. 78360 (Phone)
613-533-6509 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://law.queensu.ca/facultyAndStaff/facultyProfiles/knutsen.html

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