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Contract of Personal Accident and Health Insurance
CONTRACT OF PERSONAL ACCIDENT AND HEALTH INSURANCE
13
in the mind of another who reads the words without knowledge
of the thought behind them. Or, mayhap, another may choose to
twist the words to his own advantage though fully conscious of
the policy draftsman's intent.
The chief problem in contract drafting, therefore, is to find
means of expressing surely the true intent of the contract. The
contract should mean what it is intended to mean and yet be
proof against distortion into an undertaking far more extended
than is contemplated by the insurer or paid for by the insured.
The perfect policy will be one that the insurer and the insured
will always read alike and as a final test will always be read the
same by the courts. There are no perfect policies. The approach
to perfection is a continuous one of approximation, characterized
by discovery and correction of faults or weaknesses, by changes
in the light of new decisions by the courts or new experience of
the business.
The evolution of the accident policy is marked also by ready
response to public need and by accommodation to changing con-
ditions of life. Its scope has been continuously extended by
removing restrictions and by adding new benefit provisions. To
the early provisions for quick death and total disability for a
limited period there were added provisions for loss of limb and
sight, double insurance against accidents of travel, partial dis-
ability, removal of the period limit for total disability, payment
for death or dismemberment occurring after long intervals of
time, with payment of disability benefit during those intervals.
Then there came a period of indulgence in the so-called "frills,"
providing extra payments for surgical operations, hospital con-
finement, nursing service, medical treatment of non-disabling
injuries, so-called identification, the extension of the double bene-
fit provision to include accidents not incident to travel but
selected for rarity. Then came the inclusion of a limited form
of travel insurance for the beneficiary and finally for the chil-
dren of the family. Ingenuity in the selection of window dress-
ing features, of which the premium costs were incalculable
separately and often assumed to be equally costless collectively,
somewhat replaced considerations of service value. Some of these
excrescences have been removed and probably the future wilI see
the accident policy restored fully to its normal functions.
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