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Contract of Personal Accident and Health Insurance
and practices of other times. Court records of forty or fifty years
ago are still available, still cited in cases of far different char-
acter, still used to suggest an attitude and a practice that no
longer exist and still influence judicial minds against really
meritorious defenses.
Development of the Accident Policy
Insurance men first guessed, then studied and finally learned
in the hard school of experience how to put the business on a
sound footing and to alter its whole theory and practice. Knowl-
edge of costs was gained, methods of underwriting selection were
devised, the way was charted and confidence replaced fear.
Policies generally were cleared of the old exceptions and few now
remain that attempt to exclude anything that may be fairly and
reasonably regarded as an injury and its cause an accident. The
standard accident policy of today usually aims to furnish effec-
tive accident insurance, the most of it possible at the least pos-
sible cost and under terms and conditions as fair to the insured
as can be devised with reasonable precaution against fraud and
imposition. The companies today are criticized chiefly for over-
extending the policy coverage, for giving too much for too little,
for too greatly risking their resources in what is by some termed
a mad scramble for business, by others regarded as healthy com-
petition and by still others as the natural growth of the spirit of
service in a business only lately out of its swaddling clothes and
a bit overcome with youthful enthusiasm. It is true that some
policies still are issued that contain rather numerous restrictions,
and others that limit their coverage to special or particular
hazards, but they are exceptional and do not represent common
Thus, in studying the accident policy of today, it must be borne
in mind that evolutionary experimental developments, the court
records of the past, the judicial decisions even under policies of
a different sort, the legal interpretations of words and phrases,
still have an important part in influencing the drafting of the
contract. While it may seem a simple matter for one to say
plainly and in few words exactly what one means, those same
words may be susceptible of surprisingly different understanding
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