90461 - International Insurance and Documentary Credit Law

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Docente: Elena Orrù
  • Credits: 6
  • SSD: IUS/05
  • Language: English
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Law and Economics (cod. 9221)

Learning outcomes

The aim of the course is to introduce students to the law that governs insurance. Insurance law regulates many different aspects of the insurance activity. It regulates the business of insurance, the content of insurance policies and the handling of claims. Among all these aspects, a crucial element is the insurance contract. The course illustrates these aspects with a special focus on the European legal framework. At the end of the course, students know the basic principles of insurance and insurance law, they are able to interpret insurance contracts and understand the impact of the European insurance regulation on national insurance contract law.

Course contents

The International Insurance and Documentary Credit Law course will provide students with an introduction to the regime of insurance contracts also with a practical approach.

Insurance law will be also addressed paying particular attention to the issues related to insurance coverages with reference to international sales and carriage contracts and documentary credit, with a specific focus on the latter.

In particular, the course will cover the following topics, taking into consideration also other (compulsory or optional) teachings provided by the same Course:

  1. Basic concepts in insurance law and practice
  2. The regulation of insurance markets
  3. The main principles (risk, insurable interest, good faith, proximate cause) and the parties to the contract
  4. International sales contracts
  5. International carriage contracts
  6. Transport insurance (in particular, marine insurance, P&I covers)
  7. Payment methods in international contracts
  8. Focus on documentary credit

Students will benefit from the exam of case studies, to be discussed together during classes, and particular attention will be given to international standard forms and clauses and internationally recognized practices, where the case.


Students can prepare for the exam on Prof. Orrù’s presentations and the materials uploaded on the course’s website on https://virtuale.unibo.it.

Further useful material for preparing the exam or deepening specific topics that could be of interest for the students, could be suggested during the classes also through notices published on the above-mentioned platform, which will be used also for communications addressed to all the students.

Students are therefore kindly invited to enroll in the course's website on 'Virtuale'. For this purpose, students have to log in the University website with their own personal institutional credentials and scroll the menu 'Online services' in the header of Unibo home page, above the website logo. The Unibo website provides students with instructions and tutorials for using the 'Virtuale' platform and other useful services.

The following books and materials, available at the Unibo libraries and/or as ebooks in the Unibo depository, are suggested for those interested in deepening the topics discussed during the classes, with the recommendation of paying attention that some of them mainly deal with English domestic laws:

  • John Birds and Norma J. Hird, Bird’s Modern Insurance Law, 6th edn, Thomson, 2005
  • Robert H. Jerry, Douglas Richmond, Understanding insurance law, 6th ed., Carolina Academic press, 2018, ch.s 1, 4, 5 and 6.
  • Julian Burling, Kevin Lazarus (ed.s), Research handbook on international insurance law and regulation, Elgar, 2011
  • John Lowry, Philip Rawlings and Robert Merkin, Insurance law. Doctrines and principles, 3rd edn, Hart, 2011
  • Attila Fenyves and others (eds), Compulsory liability insurance from a European perspective, 2016, e-book
  • Özlem Gürses, Marine Insurance Law, 2nd edn, Routledge, 2017
  • Guillermo C. JIMENEZ, ICC guide to export/import. Global standards for international trade, ICC, 5th edn, 2018, ch. 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16
  • Incoterms 2010, ICC rules for the use of domestic and international trade terms
  • Incoterms 2020, ICC rules for the use of domestic and international trade terms
  • UCP 600 and eUCP, version 2.0.

Teaching methods

The course is held in English in the second semester, IV cycle, and consists of lectures performed with power point presentations with a dynamic approach, aimed at soliciting the discussion among the students and a critical approach to the topics discussed, also through the exam of case-law, standard contracts and clauses and international practices.

Students will be involved in the analysis and solution of case studies in order to improve the comprehension of the course's contents and their learning.

Attention will be paid also to the necessary link of the insurance contract to the other different contracts and legal relationships involved.

Workshops concerning specific topics and involving the participation of experts could be organized: students will be informed about them during the course and also through notices published on the professor's website.

Assessment methods

Assessment methods for students having regularly attended classes:

Students having attended at least 50% of classes could benefit from the following assessment method: a short paper on a topic to be agreed together with Prof. Orrù during classes and to be presented during one of the final classes. The paper has to be submitted to Prof. Orrù within the first date scheduled for the exam.

The assessment will concern both the presentation (30% of the score) and the paper (70% of the score), in particular the student’s ability to examine the given topic, highlighting the main issues, also through the available bibliographic and case-law resources, provided that in order to pass the exam a sufficient knowledge and comprehension of the topics discussed in the presentation and in the paper and adequate language skills are needed. The assessment will be, in particular based on the following criteria:

- basic analysis of the subject-matter and the issues there implied, without the capacity of autonomously identifying and deepening all of them; an acceptable, but very short blbliography; basic yet appropriate language: 18-19/30;

- ability to identify the main issues involved in the subject-matter; ability to autonomously address their analysis, still developed at a rather basic level; quite well developed bibliography; use of appropriate language: 20-24/30;

- comprehensive analysis of the subject-matter, based on an appropriate bibliography; ability to autonomously identify and critically analyse the issues involved in the subject-matter, use of specific terminology: 25-29/30;

- extensive analysis of the subject-matter, based on a very accurate bibliograhy; ability to reason autonomously and critically identify and analyse the related issues, make connections between the topics, also with regard to the other content examined during the classes, ability to master the specific terminology and ability to present the arguments: 30-30 Hons/30.

The score will be out of 30/30, with honours for the best students. The minimum score for passing the exam is 18/30. The student can refuse the mark, but s/he will have to sit for the normal exam (see the para. below).

Assessment method for students that did not regularly attend classes:

The other students will be assessed by a 45-minute multiple-choice exam. The exam will consist of 31 questions, based on Prof. Orrù’s presentations and materials that will be uploaded on the 'Virtuale' platform and recommended on its forum. Each question will have 3 possible answers, only one of which is correct. Each right answer will give one point, so that it will be possible to get the maximum score of 30 with honours, whereas each wrong answer will give no penalty. The score will be out of 30/30, with honours for the best students. The minimum score for passing the exam is therefore 18/30.

During the exam the use of aids, such as textbooks, notes, computer devices, is not allowed.

Exams could be held in presence or on-line or both, depending on and in compliance with applicable regulations and safety protocols.

Teaching tools

Power point presentations and teaching materials, which will be uploaded on the 'Virtuale' platform, multimedia tools for interactive and dynamic teaching, books and papers meant to deepen some topics of the course.

Further technological materials, deemed useful to teaching purposes, could be used.

Disabled Students or with specific learning disabilities (SLD) needing compensatory tools, may inform the professors about their needs in order to be addressed to the School’s specific Services and agree on suitable measures.

Office hours

See the website of Elena Orrù


Reduced inequalities Partnerships for the goals

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.