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Insurance Issues - Riot - Part II

Insurance Issues - Riot - Part II
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The key to the definition of riot is that the elements of riot must occur at or about the same time

. It is not, for example, sufficient for the violence to have been perpetrated by differing individuals at differing places at differing times and the violence must be threatened in the course of fulfilling the combined intention of the rioters, not subsequent to the occurrence or in the course of escape.

Finally, the Public Order Act 1986 has abolished the common law offence of riot and replaced it with a statutory offence. The main difference between the common law offence and the statutory offence is that the number of persons who must be involved in the violence has been increased from three to 12. Should this new definition now be incorporated into insurance law? Certainly, the definition does seem to apply to marine insurance as specifically provided by section 10(2) of the Act. There is no reference to non-marine insurance, but it seemed reasonable to assume that if the court is to impute to the parties an intention to incorporate the criminal law definition of riot into the insurance contract then it should be the current definition and not one that has since been superseded.

It is interesting to note that under the Riot (Damages) Act 1886, compensation is payable by the police authority in respect of damage to certain property caused by persons riotously and tumultuously assembled. If an insurer is forced to pay out under a policy, it is entitled to subrogate the rights of the assured against the police authorities.

Insurance Issues - Riot - Part II

By: Willis J. Watson

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