The Insurance Disputes Law Review: Spain

Overview

Spain is a civil law country. The sources of law are (1) legal and regulatory provisions, in which international conventions, EU Law and national laws are included; (2) custom; and (3) the general principles of law, such as good faith and common sense. Court decisions are not a source of law; they are only a means of interpretation or application of the law.

Therefore, most regulation is legislative.

Spanish insurance law is constantly undergoing a progressive process of renovation and adaptation to European Union law. Recently, for example, Spain adopted the Royal Decree Law 3/2020 of 4 February 2020 which incorporates Directive 2016/97 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 January 2016 on insurance distribution.

Some months before that and within the scope of prudential legislation and following the recommendations of the IMF and the ESRB (European Systemic Risk Board Recommendation), Spain also approved the creation of a Macroprudential Authority in order to improve the stability of the financial system by virtue of the Royal Decree 102/2019 of 1March 2019.

In terms of litigation, disputes arising from an insurance contract have been focused in various main areas: the distinction between limitative and delimitative clauses, in which the claims made and claims occurring clauses are included; mandatory civil liability insurance for vehicles; direct action against the insurer; and notices to insurers and duty to defend.

The legal framework

i Sources of insurance law and regulation

Spanish regulation in relation to insurance is very extensive, and not only because of national legislation, but also because the European Union provides abundant regulation for this field.

At the heart of this regulation is Law 50/1980 of 8 October on Insurance Contracts (LCS). Around the LCS, we find all kinds of regulations that complement and regulate specific aspects of insurance law, which include but are not limited to the following:

  1. vehicle and traffic insurance:
    • Royal Decree 1507/2008, of 12 September, approving the Regulation on compulsory insurance against civil liability in respect of the use of motor vehicles;
  2. boat and aviation insurance:
    • Law 14/2014 of 24 July, also known as the Spanish Shipping Act;
    • Royal Decree 1616/2011 of 14 November, regulating the insurance of owners of civil ships for maritime law claims
    • Royal Decree 607/1999 of 16 April, regarding compulsory insurance for recreational craft;
    • Regulation (EC) No. 785/2004 of 21 April on insurance requirements for air carriers and aircraft operators
    • Law 48/1960 of 21 July, also known as the Air Aviation Act (AAA); and
    • Royal Decree No. 37/2001of 19 January updating the indemnity amounts for the losses provided in the AAA;
  3. civil liability insurance for insolvency administrators:
    • Royal Decree 1333/2012 of 21 September regulating civil liability insurance and the equivalent guarantee for insolvency administrators; and
  4. accident insurance (life, health, death, etc.):
    • Law 20/2005 of 14 November, on the creation of the Register of Insurance Contracts for death cover.

Rules governing access to the market and insurance activities

Regarding the specific regulations for entering the insurance market and carrying out activities as an insurance or reinsurance entity, there have not been any substantial changes in the applicable regulations since 2015. Specifically, we would like to refer to two pieces of legislation: first, Law 20/2015 of 14 July on the management, supervision and solvency of insurance and reinsurance companies; and, second, Royal Decree 1060/2015 of 20 November on the management, supervision and solvency of insurance and reinsurance companies, which implements the above-mentioned Law.

Rules governing the mediation and distribution of insurance

In relation to the rules governing the mediation and distribution of insurance, however, we do have some significant changes to mention. On 6 February 2020, the sole repealing provision of Royal Decree Law 3/2020 of February 4 repealed Law 26/2006 of July 17 on private insurance and reinsurance mediation.

This derogation simplifies the regulation of private insurance and reinsurance intermediaries.

However, until the future Regulation implementing the Royal Decree Law 3/2020 is approved, Royal Decree 764/2010, of 11 June, and Resolution of 18 February 2011, of the Directorate General of Insurance and Pension Funds, on related matters, will remain in force.

Rules governing insurance contracts, in their various forms

As mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, the law on the main regulation of insurance contracts is contained in the LCS (Law 50/1980 of 8 October). This law consists of general provisions (e.g., definitions and obligations of the parties) and more specific regulations regarding insurance for damages and those related to persons.

ii Specific provisions on applicable law

Within the LCS, it is necessary to highlight Article 107 (on private international law) which regulates the determination of the applicable law. According to this Article, the Spanish law on insurance contracts will be applicable when:

  1. it relates to risks that are located in Spanish territory and the policyholder has his or her habitual residence in Spain, the place of domicile in the case of an individual, or the registered office or place of business and management in the case of an entity; and
  2. the contract is concluded in compliance with an insurance obligation imposed by Spanish law.

In the particular case of insurance contracts for large risks, the parties will be free to choose the applicable law. When neither of the above cases apply, the following rules shall apply to determine the law applicable to the damage insurance contract.

Where the insurance concerns risks located in Spanish territory and the policyholder does not have his or her habitual residence, registered office or place of business in Spain, the parties may choose between the application of Spanish law or the law of the state in which the policyholder has his or her residence, registered office or effective centre of management.

Where the policyholder is an entrepreneur or a professional and the contract covers risks relating to activities in different states of the European Economic Area, the parties may choose between the law of any state in which the risks are situated or the law of the state in which the policyholder has his or her residence, registered office or place of business and management.

When the cover for risks located on Spanish territory is limited to claims that may occur in a member state of the European Economic Area other than Spain, the parties may choose the law of that state.

iii Insurable risk

Despite the fact that Spanish regulations do not provide an express definition of the risks that are insurable and those that are not, there is a practical distinction between the two that proves their existence and allows the identification of certain features of non-insurable risks.

For a risk to be considered an insurable risk, it must meet the following requirements:

  1. uncertainty: If it is certain that the risk event will occur, it is no longer an insurable risk;
  2. possible: It is scientifically possible that the risk event could occur;
  3. future: It is a risk event to occur, not one that has occurred;
  4. concrete and with an economic content: When it can be analysed in a qualitative and quantitative way and its commercial value can be determined in this way;
  5. accidental: The risk event has to occur irrespective of the human willingness, namely if the risk is generated as a consequence of a human act or omission, the risk is not insurable. An exception to this rule is civil liability, in which, despite the intervention of the human hand, the person causing the risk has to answer to the victim; and
  6. licit: A risk that is against the law is non-insurable: for example, damage or losses suffered by the assured resulting from the commission of a criminal offense by the assured.

In general terms, we could define as non-insurable risk as any risk which, due to its characteristics, is abstract. In other words, we will be facing a non-insurable risk in those cases where it is not possible to calculate or estimate the possibilities of a future loss (i.e., the risk and insurance premium cannot be measured).

Examples are: acts of God, natural disasters, gambling (losses incurred in a game of chance), speculation, stock market investments, the purchase of shares and pandemics and epidemics, among others.

iv Fora and dispute resolution mechanisms

The LCS seeks to ensure the rights of persons who have suffered the incident for which the claim is initiated. To ensure this, the parties are given the freedom to choose the means of conflict resolution that they consider most appropriate (such as mediation, arbitration, conciliation), even though the most commonly chosen means are the courts.

Article 76 of the LCS recognises the direct action of offended third parties against the insurer, and Article 24 establishes who will be the competent judge to hear the matter.

Finally, for disputes exclusively related to valuation of assured object, Article 38 of the LCS states that both parties (i.e., insurer and insured) must reach an agreement; if this is not the case, both parties will appoint their own expert and if these experts do not reach an agreement, the parties shall appoint an umpire expert. To appoint an umpire expert, a claim may be filed in voluntary jurisdiction law or following the notary legislation. The opinion of the experts, unanimously or by majority, will be notified to the parties immediately, and will be binding on them unless it is challenged in court by one of the parties in a period of 30 days for the insurer and a period of 180 days for the assured.

For its part, Royal Decree 3/2020 in its Title 2, Section 4 (Articles 166–168) establishes conflict resolution mechanisms, such as the figure of the 'client's defender', who must attend to and resolve the complaints and claims submitted to him or her. The decision of the client's defender will not be an obstacle to apply for judicial protection, appeal or other mechanisms for conflict resolution but its dictamen might avoid unnecessary litigation.

The alternative procedures to pursue an insurance claim are:

  1. file a complaint with the insurance intermediary (broker or agent);
  2. file a written complaint or claim with the insurance company;
  3. raise the matter with the ombudsman for the insured (free complaint);
  4. file a complaint to the Directorate General of Insurance or the relevant autonomous body (commissioner for the defence of the client of the Directorate General of Insurance)
  5. raise the claims to consumer associations;
  6. use arbitration systems (out-of-court). The request for arbitration shall be submitted in writing to the consumer information offices in the community; and
  7. via the courts.

Recent cases

In the past 12 months, Spanish Courts have focused on six major insurance-related issues. These are as follows:

  1. exclusion from coverage: distinction between delimitative and limitative clauses;
  2. particular case: claims occurred and claims made;
  3. mandatory civil liability insurance for motor vehicles;
  4. direct action against the insurance company;
  5. duty to defend; and
  6. late notice.

i Exclusion from coverage: distinction between delimitative and limitative clauses

The first of the issues we would like to address is the always very controversial exemption or limitative clauses, which insurance companies include in their policies.

These clauses are usually invoked in disputes related to vehicle insurance policies or civil liability insurance, although they are not necessarily limited to these.

Limitative or exemption clauses are terms and conditions that exonerate the insurance company from having to pay the assured when the risk defined in the policy materialises. An example of limitative clause would be one that exonerates the insurance company from paying an indemnity when there is malice or gross negligence, but there are many other examples.

Compulsory civil liability policies for the driving of motor vehicles include as cases of exoneration (Supreme Court case law) the exclusive fault of the victim or force majeure beyond the driving or operation of the vehicle. More specifically, it includes cases such as driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or medicines or something apparently as innocent as giving in to sleep at the wheel. In this respect, Article 3 of the LCS establishes a dual requirement for the validity of these limitative clauses.

Section 3 of the Insurance Contracts Act reads as follows:

The general conditions, which under no circumstances may be detrimental to the insured, must be included by the insurer in the insurance proposal if there is one and necessarily in the contract policy or in a complementary document, which will be signed by the insured and to which a copy will be given. The general and specific conditions shall be drafted clearly and precisely. Special emphasis shall be placed on the clauses limiting the rights of the insured, which must be specifically accepted in writing.
The general conditions of the contract shall be subject to the supervision of the Public Administration under the terms provided for by law.
If the Supreme Court declares any of the clauses of the general conditions of a contract to be null and void, the competent public administration will oblige the insurers to modify the identical clauses contained in their policies.

Following judgment of the Supreme Court (Civil docket) No. 418/2019, of 15 July 2019, interpreting Article 3 of the LCS, we are going to analyse the double requirement for these exoneration clauses to be considered valid and applicable.

In the case before the Supreme Court, the person responsible for the traffic accident had taken out multi-risk insurance for his vehicle that covered, among other guarantees, compulsory and voluntary civil liability and damage to the insured vehicle. The insurance company rejected the claim for damage to the vehicle because it considered that coverage was excluded given that the driver was driving while intoxicated at the time of the accident.

The Supreme Court decided:

The appellant maintains that the clause according to which the insurer does not provide coverage in cases where the driver is under the influence of alcoholic beverages is restrictive of the rights of the insured and is therefore subject to the requirements and demands derived from Article 3 of the Insurance Contract Law, so that it must comply for its full validity with the double requirements established in Article 3 LCS. Consequently, the clause must be specially highlighted and specifically accepted in writing. In this case, it is not controversial that the policyholder did not even sign the specific and general conditions of the policy, so they could not be accepted.

We can, therefore, conclude that the insurer will be released from the obligation to pay compensation under a limitative clause only if the clause complies with the dual requirement of Article 3 of the LCS, which is specific to limitation clauses:

  1. to be especially prominent or highlighted in the contract; and
  2. it needs to be specifically accepted in writing by the assured.

In the case of the above-mentioned Supreme Court judgment, the dual requirement imposed by the Article 3 of the LCS was not fulfilled, because the terms and conditions were not signed by the insured. Therefore, the Supreme Court considered the clause null and void and recognised the obligation of the insurer to pay the assured the risk.

ii Particular case: claims occurred and claims made

In the area of claims occurring and claims made clauses, there have been also developments in Spanish case law. The Spanish Supreme Court has recently examined Article 73, Paragraph 2, of the Spanish Insurance Act with regards to the validity of the claims occurring and claims made clauses. This Article contains two subsections, one for claims occurring and one for claims made.

In the claims occurring clauses the coverage of the insurer is limited to insured incidents that occurred during the term of the policy when notice of the claim to the insurance has taken place within a period of time, which cannot be less than a year, from the termination of the contract or the coverage. In the claims made clauses, coverage is restricted to claims made during the term of the policy or a retroactive dated that cannot be less than a year.

The Spanish Supreme Court has clarified that a temporary delimitation clause does not need to meet the requirements of both subsections simultaneously and has established that each subsection regulates a different type of clause, with its own coverage requirements. These clauses, in any event, are considered to limit the rights of the assured and therefore must comply with the dual requirements of limiting clauses as established by the Supreme Court in its judgment No. 252/2018 of 26 April 2018.

iii Mandatory civil liability insurance for motor vehicles.

This second aspect that we have come to analyse is linked to insurance for driving motor vehicles. We are going to focus the debate on the claims produced in relation to these policies for moral damages directly derived from grossly negligent actions of the driver of the vehicle.

The European Union establishes a criterion of interpretation for these claims in Directive 2009/103/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 September 2009 relating to insurance against civil liability in respect of the use of motor vehicles, and to the enforcement of the obligation to insure against such liability, which repealed Directives 72/166/EEC, 84/5/EEC, 90/232/EEC, 2000/26/EC and 2005/14/EC.

Article 12.1 of the Directive stipulates that 'Without prejudice to the second subparagraph of Article 13.1, the insurance referred to in Article 3 shall cover liability for personal injuries to all passengers, other than the driver, arising out of the use of a vehicle.'

In other words, although the damage suffered by the driver is expressly excluded, damage suffered by members of his family would be included in the scope of compulsory insurance. However, this does not mean that European legislation requires the driver to be covered for moral damages arising from the accident for which he was responsible and as a result of the death of a family member occurs.

This aspect is also regulated in Spanish internal regulations, specifically in Article 5.1 of the Law on Civil Liability and Insurance in the Circulation of Motor Vehicles (LRCSCVM) which states as follows:

1. The compulsory subscription insurance coverage will not cover the damages caused by the injuries or death of the driver of the vehicle causing the accident.

Although the interpretation of this 2007 version of the article leaves no room for doubt, the interpretation of this article in its 1968 version was not as explicit, as shown by the Supreme Court's judgment (Civil docket), of 2 March 2020, No. 146/2020. The conclusion we wish to draw from this is that civil liability insurance derived from the circulation of motor vehicles does not cover the insured driver moral damage suffered as a consequence of the death of his or her relatives in a car accident caused by driver's own conduct.

Specifically, the debate resolved by the Supreme Court stems from the different interpretations of the Courts of Appeals that needed to be unified.

iv Direct action against the insurance company

The Supreme Court in its judgment No. 321/2019 of 5 June 2019 (Full Civil Chamber), which summarises all the elements of the direct action, has recently confirmed that the direct action against the insurance company (of Article 76 of the LCS) is an autonomous action and does not constitute a case of subrogation as the third party (the 'offended party') does not subrogate in the rights of the assured but has a right that by legal provision is independent to the one that the third party has against the assured who has caused the loss or damage. This direct action is not subsidiary to the action against the assured and is independent and autonomous.

In the direct action, the insurance company cannot raise against the offended third party the personal exceptions that may be raised against the assured (such as wilful misconduct) but may raise the objective exceptions (such as the delimitation of the risk, the extent of the cover, and others). However, the insurance company has a recourse action against the assured for the personal exceptions.

That said, the direct action against the insurance company makes the insurance company a guarantor of the obligation to indemnify but does not make it liable for the damage. For this reason, in order to analyse its autonomy, it is necessary to distinguish between its procedural autonomy, as it is not necessary to claim against the assured at the same time, and its accessory character in the sense that it may not prosper if it is not established first that the assured is liable. In other words, the insurance company may be liable by direct action against the offended third party but never beyond the limits of the liability of the assured. This means that the insurance company may allege against the offended party that the assured cannot be considered liable for the loss claimed, and in order for the action to succeed the offended party must prove and obtain a determination from the court that the assured has incurred in liability.

The Supreme Court, in the above-mentioned judgment, has also established that the connection between both the assured and insurance company is one of joint and several liability by which payment by one of the liable parties extinguishes the obligation with respect to the other.

The facts of the matter giving rise to the judgment were the following: the claimants sued the insurance company of a doctor of the public social security services. Prior to the civil proceedings against the insurance company, the claimants had commenced administrative proceedings against the doctor. The administrative proceedings had concluded that the doctor was liable and had established the extent of his liability. This decision against the doctor was not challenged by the claimants before the competent administrative courts. In the civil proceedings against the insurance company of the doctor, the Supreme Court determined that, based on the principles established above, the claimants could not claim, thorough the direct action against the insurance company, for a quantum in excess of the liability recognised in the administrative proceedings against the doctor.

v Duty to defend

The Spanish LCS establishes, in Article 74, the insurer's duty to defend any claim that is covered by a civil liability insurance. In such a case, and within the limits of the insurance contract, the insurer will take over the legal direction of the matter and appoint lawyer and procurator to defend the claim on behalf of the assured, in those cases in which the offended third party chooses to sue the assured or the assured jointly with the insurance company.

Litigation disputes arise when the assured appoints directly lawyer and procurator in civil liability insurance policies as this is only allowed in three situations: (1) if it is contemplated in the policy; (2) if there is a conflict (e.g., offended third party and assured are insured by the same company); and (3) when the insurance company acts passively and does not appoint lawyer and procurator. The latter is not a legal but a case law requirement.

The extent of the obligations of an insurance company in the two above-mentioned policies has been established by the Supreme Court (e.g., judgments dated 20 April 2000 and 31 January 2008) and is constantly object of litigation (e.g., judgment of the Court of Appeals of Barcelona, section 19, No. 55/2020 of 13 February 2020).

In those cases, it is necessary to distinguish between civil liability policies, as described above, and legal defence insurance contracts. In a legal defence insurance contract, the assured has the right to choose lawyer and procurator in the cases provided for in the policy (which are not necessarily insured). Therefore, Spanish Courts have had to distinguish between the obligation to defend the claim in a civil liability insurance contract and the obligations arising from a legal defence insurance contract.

Generally, a legal defence insurance contract is an independent insurance contract. If such contract is inserted in a civil liability policy, then, in order to be considered a legal defence policy or clause it will need to be contained in a separate chapter of the policy and give rise to its independent premium.

vi Late notice

Regulation of the late notice is found in Article 16 of the LCS:

The policyholder or the insured or the beneficiary must notify the insurer of the occurrence of the loss within a maximum period of seven days from the date on which he became aware of it, unless a longer period has been fixed in the policy. In the event of failure to do so, the insurer may claim the damages caused by the failure to declare.
This effect will not occur if it is proved that the insurer has had knowledge of the incident by another means.
The policyholder or the insured must also provide the insurer with all information about the circumstances and consequences of the incident. In the event of a breach of this duty, the loss of the right to compensation shall only occur in the event of malice or gross negligence.

In this case, the conflict does not arise from the possible discrepancy between, whether the policy was in force when the accident occurred or whether the case is not covered, such as in the case of the claims occurring or claims made clauses. When we talk about late notice, we refer to the case where the insured does not report the incident to the insurance company within the period agreed in the policy, or in its absence, within the seven days stipulated by law. In such a case, the insurer will be entitled to claim from the insured all damage incurred due to the late notice. The insurer is only exempt from compensation when the assured has engaged in wilful misconduct or gross negligence in giving late notice.

Although in other jurisdictions the late notice may be a focus of controversy and insurance claims, it should be noted that in Spain this is not the case, and it is very unusual to find legal disputes for this reason, and even less in the Supreme Court.

The international arena

In the area of claims for insurance contracts it is very common to find international elements, as we usually find them in commercial claims.

In any conflict with international elements, there are three aspects that one must know before initiating any claim, judicial or extrajudicial. These are: applicable law, competent jurisdiction and enforcement aspects.

i Applicable law

Knowing what legal regime is applicable to an insurance claim is essential to assess the claim properly. Regarding the applicable law, the first thing one must do is check whether there are any international regulations that are applicable and that govern the dispute. For example, if the subjects affected by the conflict are Spanish and French, the regulation that should be taken into account to determine the applicable law will be Regulation (EC) No. 593/2008, of 17 June (Rome I) on the law applicable to contractual obligations. In its Article 2, Rome I establishes its universal application.

Article 7 of Rome I, on the other hand, regulates the law applicable in insurance-related claims. This Article establishes that the parties will be free to choose the applicable law to the contract when the contract covers a large risk as defined in the relevant European Directive. In the absence of agreement between the parties, the insurance contract covering a large risk will be governed by the law of the country where the insurer has its habitual residence. If, however, it appears from the circumstances as a whole that the contract is more closely connected with another country, the law of that other country shall apply.

For insurance contracts not covering large risks, Article 7 limits the freedom of choice of the parties to the laws of the following Member States:

  1. where the risk is situated at the time of the contract;
  2. where the policyholder has his or her habitual residence;
  3. where the policyholder is nationalised in the case of life assurance;
  4. where the events occur in events occurring policies; and
  5. the Member State where the policyholder develops his professional activities if at least two of the covered risks relate to that professional activity.

If the parties do not choose any of the applicable laws, the law of the Member State in which the risk is located will be applicable.

In addition, in compulsory insurance, Article 4 of Rome I provides other alternatives and the prevalence of the law of the Member State that imposes the obligation to insure.

ii Competent jurisdiction

Another important question in litigation is to determine which are the relevant courts or tribunals to resolve any insurance dispute. A claim presented before a court that does not have jurisdiction over the matter may be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction following an application from the respondent and this could result in the claimant losing time and money and could also result in the claim being time barred.

To determine which court has jurisdiction, in Spain we must focus our attention on Articles 10 to 16 of Regulation (EC) No. 1215/2012, of 12 December (Brussels I) on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters, which are related to insurance contracts.

Following this Regulation, jurisdiction in insurance contracts will correspond to:

  1. the courts of the Member State in which the defendant is resident;
  2. the courts of the Member State where the claimant is resident, provided that the claimant is the insured, beneficiary or policyholder in dispute; and
  3. for co-insurers, the courts of the Member State in which proceedings are brought against the leading insurer shall have jurisdiction.

It must be noted that, even if the insurer is not domiciled in a Member State but has an agency or branch in one of those states, the claimant shall be deemed to be resident in that Member State.

In addition, the insurer may also be sued at the place where the harmful event occurred (for liability insurance or insurance relating to real estate property).

It should also be noted that the insurer's action may be only brought in the courts of the Member State in which the defendant is resident, whether that person is the policyholder, the insured or the beneficiary of the disputed policy.

When, however, an arbitration clause is validly incorporated to the insurance contract, the claim must be addressed to the chosen arbitration tribunal under its applicable arbitration rules. If, regardless of the arbitration clause, a claim is submitted before a Spanish court, the court can decline its jurisdiction for the claim, following an application made by the respondent.

iii Enforcement

With regard to enforcement, in cases where there is a foreign judgment or arbitral award that is to be enforced in Spain, the procedure to be followed will be regulated by the following provisions:

  1. in general, the Spanish Act 29/2015, for the International Judicial Cooperation in civil matters shall be followed;
  2. for the recognition and enforcement of judgments given by a court of an EU Member State, Brussels I Regulation on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters; and
  3. for arbitration awards, the New York Convention of 10 June 1958, on the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards, and the Spanish Law 60/2003 on Arbitration.

The foreign judgment or arbitration award procedure consists mainly of two stages. The first is the recognition or 'exequatur' of the judgment or arbitral award. Here, the Spanish Courts will ensure that the judgment or arbitration award to be recognised has been issued respecting public order provisions and other international regulations. The second stage consists in the enforcement of that decision, basically, obtaining a judicial payment order, seizure of assets and public sale of those assets. The competent court will be either the first instance courts or the mercantile courts, depending of the type of insurance contract, of the domicile of the party against which the recognition and enforcement is sought. Mercantile courts, for example, will be competent for marine insurance claims. Recognition and enforcement can be applied for jointly or separately but enforcement itself will not take place until the exequatur is obtained.

Trends and outlook

The most traditional insurances, such as home insurance, life insurance, car insurance or death insurance among others, are still very important today.

Within the analysis of these more traditional policies, we can highlight the news made public by the Insurance Compensation Consortium (CCS). According to this news, the number of claims has doubled compared to previous years. This increase in the accident rate in 2019 is largely due to the storms, depressions and floods suffered. Despite this statistical data being reported at a global level, it is worth highlighting in this chapter about Spain that many Spanish localities have been affected by flooding, thus increasing the accident rate.

In addition to this type of insurance, over the past few years we have observed an upward trend in insurance covering technological advances, such as those concerning cybersecurity, new means of urban transport and unmanned vehicles. We expect that the increasing reliance on new technologies (e.g., blockchain and artificial intelligence) will maintain the insurance market growth as the risks increase.

Furthermore, it is yet to be determined what impact covid-19 will have in insurance litigation disputes as the pandemic and lockdown has made changes in social and work habits.

For example, home assistance has approximately doubled, with all types of claims growing except for break-ins, which have decreased significantly, as well as emergency locksmithing. These factors are logically justified since people have been unable to leave their homes for approximately three months due to their mobility constraints.

Likewise, and as a result of the confinement at the beginning of 2020, it is not surprising that assistance for road accidents has decreased or that travel insurance contracts have decreased.

In addition, industry activity insurers might be facing claims for prime returns due to reduction of risks in large industry under the lockdown caused by covid-19.

On the other hand, it is important to highlight the fact that health insurance, following the trend of the last five years, maintains a growth trend and may be expected to grow even more with the pandemic.

Footnotes

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