Insurance, Contract, and the Doctrine of Reasonable Expectations

37 Pages Posted: 20 Jul 2012

See all articles by Robert H. Jerry

Robert H. Jerry

University of Florida - Levin College of Law

Date Written: 1998


This article examines the connections between the doctrine of reasonable expectations and the law of contract. Judge Robert Keeton, in his 1970 two-part article published in the Harvard Law Review, urged that protecting the insured's reasonable expectations is a better justification for results in many reported cases than the rationales offered by judges. It can be claimed that insurance law's efforts to explain outcomes that contradict the plain language of contractual text are appropriately viewed as a subset of a larger effort to rationalize contact law with the challenges presented by the widespread use of standardized forms in consumer transactions. When viewed from this perspective, Judge Keeton's 1970 article was important not only for what it said about the contours of insurance law but also for what it suggested about the stance insurance law should take in an ongoing debate of contract law.

Keywords: insurance law, contracts, doctrine of reasonable expectations, standardized forms, contract interpretation

JEL Classification: K00, K39

Suggested Citation

Jerry, Robert H., Insurance, Contract, and the Doctrine of Reasonable Expectations (1998). Connecticut Insurance Law Journal, Vol. 5, No. 1, 1998, Available at SSRN:

Robert H. Jerry (Contact Author)

University of Florida - Levin College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 117625
Gainesville, FL 32611-7625
United States
352 273 0603 (Phone)
352 392 8727 (Fax)


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