The main terms of liability insurance and writing style

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Die Wirtschaftswelt rückt immer näher zusammen und Englisch ist die Lingua franca des heutigen Business. Auch Versicherungsvermittler stehen häufig vor der Herausforderung, Englisch sprechen zu müssen. Eine Serie von Beiträgen auf erläutert Grundbegriffe der Assekuranz in Fragen und Antworten auf Englisch. Der achteTeil beschäftigt sich mit der Haftpflichtversicherung.

Wer einem anderen aus Unachtsamkeit einen Schaden zufügt, haftet mit seinem ganzen Vermögen. Deshalb ist die private Haftpflichtversicherung eine der wichtigsten Versicherungspolicen, die die ganze Familie (PartnerIn und Kinder) schützt. Trotzdem liegt die Marktdurchdringungsrate/ Versicherungsdichte nur bei 83 Prozent aller Haushalte ( vom 16. August 2019: Deutschland im Versicherungs-Check).

Who are the three parties that may be involved in a liability claim?

 Three Party Triangle

What are the tasks of a liability insurer?

Liability insurance protects the insured against claims towards them by third parties. The insurer

  • compensates justified claims and
  • defends the insured against unjustified claims (insofar the insurers provide legal protection)

We distinguish between private/personal and commercial liability insurance (different insurable interests). How would you describe the insured risk under a private liability policy?

  • The insured is covered in their capacity as a private person plus
  • quantitative (moving into a larger flat) and qualitative changes (starting with a dangerous hobby) plus
  • new risks (limited), such as buying a dog, plus
  • family members (additional insureds)

Which liability cases should be discussed and clarified in advance?

  • Damage to borrowed things
  • Household effects during removal, e.g. help between friends
  • What if a child under seven years causes a damage?
  • Pure(ly) financial losses
  • Recourse of statutory social insurance carriers
  • ...

Regarding property damage to a third party: Is the compensation of the insurer based on the ’principle of indemnity’or on a ’new for old basis’?

Under liability policies material damage is compensated according to the principle of indemnity, that is current or present market value/cash value indemnification.


In case of a claim: What kinds of questions will the claims officer/loss adjuster additionally ask?

  • “Do you think you have done something wrong?“
  • “Do you think it was your sole responsibility? Or is anybody else partly to blame?“ (con’tributory negligence)
  • “Who has suffered damage?“
  • “Only material damage or also bodily injury?“
  • “What kind of injuries?“
  • “Have they already demanded compensation?“
  • ...

What types of liability insurance can you distinguish?


  • Personal liability
  • Property owners’ liability
  • Pet insurance, e.g. for a dog or horse owner
  • Motor third-party cover
  • Legal expenses

Commercial & Industrial

  • Employers’ liability (compulsory)
  • Public liability
  • Product liability
  • Product recall
  • Environmental impairment
  • Professional indemnity

What is an ’Environmental Impairment’ cover?

A liability policy that pays if the insured negligently causes environmental pollution.

How could you improve your writing style?

  • Think positive and phrase positively
  • Choose customer-oriented language
  • Use nouns only if necessary
  • ‘You‘ may be better than ‘we‘
  • ‘Active form‘ may be better than ‘passive form‘
  • Maximum 15 words per sentence



borrowed = geliehenen
principle of indemnity = Zeitwertbasis
new for old basis = Neuwertbasis
Professional indemnity = Berufshaftpflichtversicherung

The author

After many years working in the insurance business (mainly in the non-life sector) and being involved in various teaching activities and projects dealing with textbooks, Dieter Aigner has gathered additional experience as an English trainer on behalf of BWV Rhein-Main since 2009.

Dieter Aigner

Autor(en): Dieter Aigner

Zum Themenspecial "Versicherungsenglisch"


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