The law of insurance contractsi n the People's Republic of China. Comparative analysis of policyholders' rights
The implementation of China's economic reforms, beginning in the early 80's, and the formal establishment of a "Socialist Market Economy" in the following decade, stimulated substantial changes and improvements in the Insurance Laws and Regulations of the People's Republic of China (hereafter: PRC). The need for a modern and sophisticated legal framework aimed at regulating rights and remedies arising out of insurance contracts, as well as the insurance business in general, became clear and compelling as soon as the Communist State began its slow but inexorable retreat and it ceased to take care of every aspect of the life of the Chinese People. In the new socialist market context, the insurance contract is predestined to become the most important legal and economic tool available to those individuals who are not willing and/or able to bear the entirety of the risks associated with the implementation of the modern economic reforms. Against such backdrop, this paper is aimed at exploring the history of insurance in China as well as the framework of insurance laws and regulation enacted in the PRC during the recent years. In particular, the focus of this essay will be upon the legal principles and rules that currently govern insurance contracts and the relationship thereby established between the insurance company and the insured. Hence, the analysis of the legal protection of policyholders' rights and interests in China will center around the rules of insurance contracts interpretation, integration and performance at present in force. In light of the international nature of the contract of insurance, this paper will also offer a comparison of different approaches to policyholders' protection adopted in various legal systems belonging to both the common law and the civil law tradition.
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