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Insurance Issues - Riot - Part I

Insurance Issues - Riot - Part I

Riot can be distinguished from the other excluded violent acts in that

, from a practical point of view, it is more frequently covered by ARPI policies, either in the main policy or by way of an extension. It also is limited to internal strife without any necessity for political overtones. It is for this reason, namely that it has less of the characteristics of war and perhaps a greater connection with other criminal offences, that such acts are, on occasions, covered by ARPI policies. Therefore, perhaps not surprisingly, underwriters have been more willing to cover riot, than civil commotion.

There is a good deal of similarity between riot and civil commotion, although perhaps not where civil commotion has been limited in the definition so that it must amount to a popular uprising. Riot, however, did have a specific criminal law definition as

- there must be at least three people;

- they must have a common purpose;

- they must have commenced the execution of that common purpose;

- they must have decided to help one another by violent means to fulfil that common purpose and indeed use force against anybody attempting to oppose them; and

- the violent means used by them must be sufficient to put fear in the heart of any ordinary person of reasonable courage.

This criminal definition has been held to apply to insurance (London and Lancashire Fire Insurance Co. v. Bolands [1924] AC 836), although the Pan American Case confirmed that, at least in US law, the criminal definition of riot will not be used in respect of insurance and the narrowest possible definition of the word will be applied by the court.

Insurance Issues - Riot - Part I

By: Willis J. Watson
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Insurance Issues - Riot - Part I