Insurance Contracts Act Handbook

2 mins Chern Tan

The sector's most trusted guide to Australia's Insurance Contracts Act 1984.

MinterEllison has released the 10th edition of its market-leading Insurance Contracts Act Handbook - a reliable and trusted reference in the insurance sector for 26 years.

Offering a practical overview of Australia's Insurance Contracts Act 1984, the Handbook captures all amendments to the Act as well as commentary on important case law developments over the past two years.

It aims to highlight and simplify the developments through a concise summary of case facts and principles, as well as outline the practical implications of the Act for those in the sector.

Since its first publication in 1992, more than 26,000 copies have been distributed, attesting to its popularity.

The Honourable Justice Beazley AO, President of the Court of Appeal, Supreme Court of New South Wales has referred to the Handbook as "an essential tool for mainstream industry participants".

During 2016 and 2017 the market saw a raft of developments which impact key sections of the Act. The Handbook is designed to help you:

  • keep pace with the legislative and case law developments
  • navigate your day to day work, whether drafting a new policy and endorsements or assessing a claim.

The 10th Edition of the Insurance Contracts Act Handbook is now available to order in both hard copy and digital formats.

The digital Handbook is an online subscription available on a MinterEllison hosted (secure) platform where you can digitally search and annotate (and save your annotations), access publicly available case law via hyperlinks and view content on your mobile or tablet device.

Please direct any enquiries to [email protected]

Order a copy


What are the new developments in the 10th Edition? Navigation Show below Hide below

The latest edition of the Handbook contains new case law updates from 2016 and 2017, including the following developments:

  • There are clarifications as to how the controversial section 54 of the Act operates.
    • First, the Federal Court (in Watkins Syndicate v Pantaenius Australia) confirms that we need to look at the “essential character” of the Policy to determine what are the “inherent limitations in the claim” referred to by the High Court in Maxwell v Highway Hauliers, so that section 54(1) won’t apply in the insured’s favour. 
    • Second, there are cases which illustrate how sections 54(2) and (3) operate, which are important to note given the gradual widening of section 54(1). Given section 54 has very broad application, it is important to understand where the Courts are going with possible limitations to it.
  • The NSW Court of Appeal (in Lambert Leasing v QBE) clarifies that section 45 applies to strike down other insurance clauses only in the limited circumstance where both policies that cover the claim were entered into by the insured, in the sense that the insured was a contracting party to both. This will have implications particularly for the construction industry where parties usually have overlapping insurances.
  • Further cases on non-disclosure (section 21) and fraud (section 56).

What is the cost of the Handbook? Navigation Show below Hide below

The Handbook is available to purchase in two formats:

  • a hardcopy, printed version for $75 (exclusive of GST and postage); and
  • a digital, online version for $75 (exclusive of GST)

Is it relevant to my role? Navigation Show below Hide below

The Handbook is relevant to anyone who deals with insurance law in Australia, including in-house legal staff, underwriters, claims handling staff, brokers, insurance managers, judges and barristers.

What is the digital edition of the Handbook? Navigation Show below Hide below

The 10th edition of the Handbook has for the first time become available in a digital (online) format. This has been driven by demand and feedback from our valued clients.

The digital Handbook is an online subscription available on a MinterEllison hosted (secure) platform called 'HighQ'. A digital subscription to the Handbook lets you digitally search and annotate your copy (and save your annotations for later), access publicly available case law via hyperlinks, and view content on your mobile or tablet device. This is designed to help you use the Handbook in the ways you like to: frequently, spontaneously and as a trusted personal resource. 

Can I download or print from the digital Handbook? Navigation Show below Hide below

Unfortunately, for security reasons the digital Handbook is unable to be downloaded or printed. It is available at all times via our MinterEllison hosted (secure) platform 'HighQ'

Can I access the digital Handbook without Wi-Fi? Navigation Show below Hide below

The digital Handbook is a subscription service hosted on an online platform, so an internet connection is required to access it on your desktop. The digital Handbook can be accessed at any time via your mobile or tablet using 4G.

I am having issues logging into the digital Handbook site. Is support available? Navigation Show below Hide below

Yes, we have IT support who can provide technical assistance during business hours (their details are provided below). We also have a comprehensive user guide document that is accessible with the digital Handbook. To access it, click the "Resources" tab at the top of the ICA home page.


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