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Insurance Contracts

Chapter II

INSURANCE CONTRACTS

Section 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS ON INSURANCE CONTRACTS

Article 12.- Insurance contracts

1. An insurance contract is the agreement reached between the insurance buyer and an insurance enterprise whereby the insurance buyer shall have to pay premiums while the insurance enterprise shall have to pay insurance money to the beneficiary or the indemnity to the insured upon the occurrence of the insured event.

2. Types of insurance contract shall include:

a) Person insurance contracts;

b) Property insurance contracts;

c) Civil liability insurance contracts.

3. Maritime insurance contracts shall comply with the provisions of the Maritime Code; for matters not prescribed by the Maritime Code, the provisions of this Law shall apply.

4. Matters relating to insurance contracts, which are not prescribed in this Chapter, shall comply with the provisions of the Civil Code and other relevant law provisions.

Article 13.- Contents of insurance contracts

1. An insurance contract must contain the following details:

a) Names and addresses of the insurance enterprise, the insurance buyer, the insured or the beneficiary;

b) The object of insurance;

c) The sum insured, the value of the insured property for property insurance;

d) The insurance scope, insurance conditions, insurance terms;

e) Terms on exclusion of insurance liability;

f) Insurance duration;

g) Premium rate, mode of premium payment;

h) Time limit and mode of paying insurance money or indemnity;

i) Provisions on settlement of disputes;

k) Day, month and year of concluding the contract.

2. Apart from the contents specified in Clause 1 of this Article, an insurance contract may also contain other details mutually agreed upon by the parties concerned.

Article 14.- Forms of insurance contract

The insurance contracts must be made in writing.

The evidence of conclusion of insurance contracts shall be the insurance certificates, insurance applications, telegrams, telexes, faxes and other forms prescribed by law.

Article 15.- The time when the insurance liability arises

The insurance liability arises when the insurance contracts are concluded or when there appears evidence that the insurance enterprises have accepted the insurance and the insurance buyers have paid the premiums, except otherwise agreed upon in the insurance contracts.

Article 16.- Provisions on exclusion of insurance liability

1. The provisions on exclusion of insurance liability shall stipulate cases where insurance enterprises shall not have to pay indemnities or insurance money when the insured events occur.

2. The provisions on exclusion of insurance liability must be clearly stated in the insurance contracts. The insurance enterprises shall have to clearly explain them to the insurance buyers when the contracts are made.

3. The provisions on exclusion of insurance liability shall not apply in the following cases:

a) The insurance buyers breach laws unintentionally;

b) The insurance buyers have plausible reasons for the late notification of the occurrence of the insured events to the insurance enterprises.

Article 17.- Rights and obligations of insurance enterprises

1. An insurance enterprise shall have the following rights:

a) To collect premiums as agreed upon in the insurance contract;

b) To request the insurance buyer to fully and honestly supply information relating to the conclusion and performance of the insurance contract;

c) To unilaterally suspend the performance of the insurance contract according to the provisions in Clause 2 of Article 19, Clause 2 of Article 20, Clause 2 of Article 35 and Clause 3 of Article 50, of this Law;

d) To decline to pay the insurance money to the beneficiary or to pay indemnity to the insured for cases outside the scope of insurance liability or cases of exclusion of insurance liability as agreed upon in the insurance contract;

e) To request the insurance buyer to take measures to prevent or limit losses according to the provisions of this Law and other relevant law provisions;

f) To request the third party to refund the insurance money which the insurance enterprise has indemnified the insured for the losses caused by the third party to the property and civil liability;

g) Other rights prescribed by law.

2. An insurance enterprise shall have the following obligations:

a) To explain to the insurance buyer the insurance conditions and provisions; the rights and obligations of the insurance buyers;

b) To issue to the insurance buyer the insurance certificate, the insurance policy immediately after the conclusion of the insurance contract;

c) To pay insurance money to the beneficiary in time or the indemnity to the insured when the insured event occurs;

d) To explain in writing the reasons for declining to pay the insurance money or the indemnity;

e) To coordinate with the insurance buyer in settling the third party’s claim for compensation for the losses which fall under the insured liability when the insured event occurs;

f) Other obligations prescribed by law.

Article 18.- Rights and obligations of the insurance buyers

1. An insurance buyer shall have the following rights:

a) To choose one from among the insurance enterprises operating in Vietnam for the purchase of insurance;

b) To request the insurance enterprise to explain the insurance conditions and terms and issue the insurance certificate or insurance policy;

c) To unilaterally suspend the performance of the insurance contract under the provisions in Clause 3 of Article 19 and Clause 1 of Article 20 of this Law;

d) To request the insurance enterprise to pay the insurance money to the beneficiary or the indemnity to the insured as agreed upon in the insurance contract when the insured event occurs;

e) To transfer the insurance contract as agreed upon in the insurance contract or under the provisions of law;

f) Other rights prescribed by law.

2. An insurance buyer shall have the following obligations:

a) To pay premiums fully, according to time limits and mode agreed upon in the insurance contract;

b) To declare fully and honestly all details relating to the insurance contract at the request of the insurance enterprise;

c) To notify cases where risks may increase or the insurance enterprise’s additional liability may arise in the course of performing the insurance contract to the insurance enterprise at the latter’s request;

d) To notify the insurance enterprise of the occurrence of the insured event as agreed upon in the insurance contract;

e) To apply measures to prevent or limit losses according to the provisions of this Law and other relevant law provisions;

f) Other obligations prescribed by law.

Article 19.- Responsibility to supply information

1. When entering into insurance contracts, the insurance enterprises have the responsibility to fully supply information on the insurance contracts, explain insurance conditions and terms to the insurance buyers; the insurance buyers have the responsibility to fully supply information on the objects of insurance to the insurance enterprises. The parties shall be accountable for the accuracy and truthfulness of such information. The insurance enterprises shall have to keep confidential the information supplied by the insurance buyers.

2. Insurance enterprises may unilaterally suspend the performance of insurance contracts and collect the premiums to the time of suspending the performance of the insurance contracts when the insurance buyers commit one of the following acts:

a) Intentionally supplying untruthful information with a view to entering into insurance contracts in order to be paid with the insurance money or the indemnities;

b) Failing to fulfill the obligations to supply information to the insurance enterprises as provided for at Point c, Clause 2, Article 18 of this Law.

3. Where insurance enterprises intentionally supply untruthful information with a view to entering into insurance contracts, the insurance buyers may unilaterally suspend the performance of the insurance contracts; such insurance enterprises shall have to pay compensation for the damage caused to the insurance buyers due to the supply of untruthful information.

Article 20.- Changes in degrees of insured risks

1. When there appear changes in the factors used as basis for premium calculation, thus leading to the reduction in the insured risks, the insurance buyers may request the insurance enterprises to reduce the premiums for the remaining periods of the insurance contracts. Where the insurance enterprises refuse to reduce the premiums, the insurance buyers may unilaterally suspend the performance of the insurance contracts but have to immediately notify such in writing to the insurance enterprises.

2. When there appear changes in the factors used as basis for premium calculation, thus leading to the increase in the insured risks, the insurance enterprises may recalculate the premium for the remaining periods of the insurance contracts. Where the insurance buyers refuse to accept the premium increase, the insurance enterprises may unilaterally suspend the performance of the insurance contracts, but shall have to immediately notify such in writing to the insurance buyers.

Article 21.- Interpretation of insurance contracts

Where an insurance contract contains ambiguous clauses, such clauses shall be interpreted in favor of the insurance buyer.

Article 22.- Null and void insurance contracts

1. An insurance contract shall become null and void in the following cases:

a) The insurance buyer has no interests which can be insured;

b) The object of insurance no longer exists at the time of entering into the insurance contract;

c) The insurance buyer, at the time of entering into the insurance contract, knows the insured event has already occurred;

d) The insurance buyer or the insurance enterprise commits acts of deception when entering into the insurance contract;

e) Other cases prescribed by law.

2. The handling of null and void insurance contracts shall comply with the provisions of the Civil Code and other relevant law provisions.

Article 23.- Termination of insurance contracts

Apart from cases of contract termination under the provisions of the Civil Code, an insurance contract shall also be terminated in the following circumstances:

1. The insurance buyer no longer has the interests which can be insured;

2. The insurance buyer fails to fully pay the premium or fails to pay the premium within the time limit agreed upon in the insurance contract, except otherwise agreed upon by the parties;

3. The insurance buyer fails to fully pay the premium during the extended time limit for premium payment as agreed upon in the insurance contract.

Article 24.- Legal consequences of the termination of insurance contracts

1. In cases where an insurance contract is terminated under the provisions in Clause 1, Article 23 of this Law, the insurance enterprise shall have to refund the premium to the insurance buyer corresponding to the remaining period of the insurance contract for which the insurance buyer has paid the premium, after subtracting the reasonable expenses related to the insurance contract.

2. Where an insurance contract is terminated under the provisions in Clause 2, Article 23 of this Law, the insurance buyer shall still have to fully pay the premium to the time of terminating the insurance contract. This provision shall not apply to person insurance contracts.

3. Where an insurance contract is terminated under the provisions in Clause 3, Article 23 of this Law, the insurance enterprise shall still have to indemnify the insured when the insured event occurs within the premium paying time limit; the insurance buyer shall still have to pay the premium to the end of the extension period as agreed upon in the insurance contract. This provision shall not apply to person insurance contracts.

4. The legal consequences of the termination of insurance contracts in other cases shall comply with the provisions of the Civil Code and other relevant law provisions.

Article 25.- Amending and supplementing insurance contracts

1. The insurance buyer and the insurance enterprise may agree to amend and/or supplement the premium, the insurance conditions and terms, except otherwise provided for by law.

2. All amendments and supplements to insurance contracts must be made in writing.

Article 26.- Assignment of insurance contracts

1. The insurance buyer may assign the insurance contract as agreed upon in the insurance contract.

2. The assignment of an insurance contract shall be valid only when the insurance buyer notify the assignment in writing to the insurance enterprise and the insurance enterprise accepts such assignment in writing, except where the assignment is effected according to international practices.

Article 27.- Liability in case of reinsurance

1. The insurance enterprises shall be responsible only to the insurance buyers under the insurance contracts, including cases of reinsurance of the insured liabilities.

2. The reinsurance enterprises must not demand the insurance buyers pay the premiums directly to them, except otherwise agreed upon in the insurance contracts.

3. The insurance buyers must not demand the reinsurance enterprises pay the insurance money or indemnities to them, except otherwise agreed upon in the insurance contracts.

Article 28.- Time limit for claiming insurance money or indemnities

1. The time limit for claiming the insurance money or indemnity under insurance contracts shall be one year from the date the insured event occurs. The time when the force majeure event or other objective obstacle occurs shall not be counted into the time limit for claiming the insurance money or indemnities.

2. Where the insurance buyers can prove that they do not know the time when the insured events occur, the time limit prescribed in Clause 1 of this Article shall be counted from the date the insurance buyers know the occurrence of such insured events.

3. Where the third party demands the insurance buyer compensate for damage covered by the insurance as agreed upon in the insurance contract, the time limit prescribed in Clause 1 of this Article shall be counted from the date the third party so demands.

Article 29.- The time limit for payment of insurance money or indemnities

Upon the occurrence of insured events, insurance enterprises shall have to pay the insurance money or indemnities within the time limit already agreed upon in the insurance contracts. In case of the absence of the agreement on such time limit, the insurance enterprises shall have to pay the insurance money or indemnities within 15 days from the date of receiving complete and valid dossiers claiming insurance money or indemnities.

Article 30.- Statute of limitations for instituting a lawsuit

The statute of limitations for instituting a lawsuit about an insurance contract shall be three years from the time the dispute arises.

Section 2. PERSON INSURANCE CONTRACTS

Article 31.- Objects of person insurance contracts

1. The objects of person insurance contracts shall be the human age, life, health and accidents.

2. The insurance buyers may only buy insurance for the following persons:

a) The insurance buyers themselves;

b) Their spouses, children and/or parents;

c) Their blood brothers and sisters; person with ties of fostering and financial support;

d) Other persons, if the insurance buyers have the interests that can be insured.

Article 32.- Sums of insurance money

Sums of insurance money or modes of determining the sums of insurance money shall be agreed upon by the insurance buyers and the insurance enterprises in the insurance contracts.

Article 33.- Bases for paying insurance money for human accidents, health

1. In human accident insurance, the insurance enterprises shall have to pay the insurance money to the beneficiaries within the limit of the insurance money amount, depending on the actual infirmity suffered by the insured and the mutual agreement in the insurance contracts.

2. In human health insurance, the insurance enterprises shall have to pay the insurance money to the insured within the limit of the insurance money amount, depending on the expenses for medical examination and treatment, health restoration for the insured as a result of illness or accident and on the mutual agreement in the insurance contracts.

Article 34.- Disclosure of age in life insurance

1. The insurance buyers shall be obliged to disclose the accurate ages of the insured at the time of entering into insurance contracts for use as basis for calculating the insurance premiums.

2. Where the insurance buyers disclose inaccurate ages of the insured while the latter’s accurate ages are not included in the insurable age groups, the insurance enterprises may cancel the insurance contracts and refund the already paid insurance premium amounts to the insurance buyers after subtracting relevant reasonable expenses. Where the insurance contracts have taken effect for more than two years, the insurance enterprises shall have to return to the insurance buyers the reimbursed values of the insurance contracts.

3. Where the insurance buyers disclose inaccurate ages of the insured, thus reducing the payable insurance premium amounts, but the accurate ages of the insured persons remain to be in the insurable age groups, the insurance enterprises shall have the right:

a) To request the insurance buyers to pay additional insurance premiums corresponding to the insurance money amounts already agreed upon in the contracts;

b) To reduce the insurance money amounts already agreed in the insurance contract corresponding to the already paid amount of insurance premiums.

4. Where the insurance buyers disclose inaccurate ages of the insured, thus leading to the increase in the payable insurance premium amounts, but the accurate ages of the insured persons remain to be in the insurable age groups, the insurance enterprises shall have to refund to the insurance buyers the overpaid insurance premium amounts or increase the insurance money amounts already agreed upon in the insurance contracts corresponding to the paid insurance premium amount.

Article 35.- Payment of life insurance premiums

1. The insurance buyers may pay the insurance premiums in lump sum or in installments according to the time limit and mode agreed upon in the insurance contracts.

2. Where the insurance premiums are paid in installments and the insurance buyers have already paid the premiums in one or several installments but cannot further pay the insurance premiums in subsequent installments, the insurance enterprises may, within 60 days after the extension of the time limit for premium payment, unilaterally suspend the performance of the contracts, the insurance buyers shall have no right to reclaim the already paid insurance premium amount if the duration for which the insurance premiums have already been paid is under two years, except otherwise agreed upon by the parties.

3. Where the insurance buyers have already paid the insurance premiums for two years or more while the insurance enterprises unilaterally suspend the performance of the contracts as provided for in Clause 2 of this Article, the insurance enterprises shall have to refund to the insurance buyers the returned values of the insurance contracts, except otherwise agreed upon by the parties.

4. The parties may agree to restore the effect of insurance contracts already unilaterally suspended from their performance as provided for in Clause 2 of this Article within two years from the date the contracts are suspended and the insurance buyers have already paid the outstanding insurance premium amounts.

Article 36.- Not entitled to initiate lawsuits to demand the insurance premium payment

In person insurance, if the insurance buyers have not paid or have inadequately paid the insurance premiums, the insurance enterprises are not allowed to initiate lawsuits, demanding the insurance buyers to pay insurance premiums.

Article 37.- Not entitled to demand refund by the third party

Where the insured dies, gets disable or sick as a direct or indirect result of the third party’s acts, the insurance enterprises shall still be obliged to repay the insurance money amount but have no right to demand the third party refund the money amount already paid to the beneficiary. The third party shall have to indemnify the insured according to the provisions of law.

Article 38.- Entering into person insurance contracts for case of death

1. When the insurance buyers enter into person insurance contracts for case of other persons’ death, they must get the latter’s written consents clearly inscribing the insurance money amount and the beneficiary thereof.

All cases of change of the beneficiary must be agreed upon in writing by the insurance buyers.

2. Person insurance contracts for the death of the following persons must not be entered into:

a) Persons under 18 years of age, except where it is agreed in writing by the fathers, mothers or guardians of such persons;

b) Persons suffering from mental diseases.

Article 39.- Cases of non-payment of insurance money

1. Insurance enterprises shall not have to pay the insurance money in the following cases:

a) The insured dies of suicide within two years counting from the date the first sum of insurance premium is paid or from the date the insurance contract continues to be effective;

b) The insured dies or suffers from infirmity due to the intentional fault of the insurance buyer or the intentional fault of the beneficiary;

c) The insured dies due to the execution of death sentence.

2. Where one or several beneficiaries intentionally cause death or infirmity to the insured, the insurance enterprise shall still have to pay the insurance money to other beneficiaries as agreed upon in the insurance contract.

3. For cases prescribed in Clause 1 of this Article, the insurance enterprises shall have to return to the insurance buyers the value of the insurance contracts or the entire paid premium amounts after subtracting the relevant reasonable expenses; if the insurance buyers die, the returned amount shall be handled according to the legislation on inheritance.

Section 3. PROPERTY INSURANCE CONTRACTS

Article 40.- Subjects of property insurance contracts

Subjects of property insurance contracts shall include tangible objects, currency, papers which can be valued in money and property rights

Article 41.- Insurance money amounts

The insurance money amount is the sum requested by the insurance buyer to be insured for such property.

Article 42.- Over-value property insurance contracts

1. Over-value property insurance contracts mean contracts in which the insured sums are higher than the market prices of the insured property at the time of entering into contracts. The insurance enterprises and the insurance buyers must not enter over-value property insurance contracts.

2. Where an over-value property insurance contract is concluded due to unintentional faults of the insurance buyer, the insurance enterprise shall have to return to the insurance buyer the already paid insurance premium amount corresponding to the insured sum in excess of the market price of the insured property, after subtracting relevant reasonable expenses. In cases where the insured event occurs, the insurance enterprise shall only have to pay indemnities for the damage not exceeding the market price of the insured property.

Article 43.- Under-value property insurance contracts

1. The under-value property insurance contracts mean contracts in which the insured sums are lower that the market prices of the insured property at the time of concluding the contracts.

2. Where an under-value property insurance contract is concluded, the insurance enterprise shall have to pay the indemnities according to the proportion between the insured sum and the market price of the insured property at the time of concluding the contract.

Article 44.- Coincident insurance contracts

1. A coincident insurance contract is the case where the insurance buyer concludes insurance contracts with two or more insurance enterprises to insure the same objects, with the same insurance conditions and insured event.

2. Where parties enter into a coincident insurance contract, when the insured event occurs, each insurance enterprise shall only have to make indemnity according to the proportion of the insured sum agreed upon against the total insured sums of all contracts concluded by the insurance buyer. The total sum of indemnities of the insurance enterprises shall not exceed the value of actual damage caused to the property.

Article 45.- Damage due to natural tear and wear or inherent nature of the property

Insurance enterprises shall not bear responsibility in cases where the insured property are damaged due to natural tear and wear or their inherent nature, except otherwise agreed upon in the insurance contracts.

Article 46.- Bases for indemnity

1. The indemnity amounts which the insurance enterprises have to pay to the insured shall be determined on the basis of the market prices of the insured property at the time when and the place where the damage is caused and the actual damage extent, except otherwise agreed upon in the insurance contracts. The expenses for determining the market prices and damage extent shall be borne by the insurance enterprises.

2. The indemnity amounts to be paid by the insurance enterprises to the insured shall not exceed the insured sums, except otherwise agreed upon in the insurance contracts.

3. Apart from the indemnity sums, the insurance enterprises shall also have to pay to the insured necessary and reasonable expenses for the loss prevention and limitation as well as arising expenses incurred by the insured to follow the instructions of the insurance enterprises.

Article 47.- Forms of indemnity

1. The insurance buyers and the insurance enterprises may agree on one of the following indemnity forms:

a) Repairing the damaged property;

b) Replacing the damaged property with other property;

c) Paying indemnity money.

2. Where the insurance enterprises and the insurance buyers cannot reach agreement on indemnity forms, the compensation shall be made in money.

3. Where the indemnity is made according to the provisions at Points b and c, Clause 1 of this Article, the insurance enterprises may recover the damaged property after they are replaced or fully compensated at the market prices.

Article 48.- Expertise of damage

1. Upon the occurrence of the insured events, the insurance enterprises or persons authorized by the insurance enterprises shall carry out the expertise in order to determine the cause and extent of the damage. The expenses for expertise of damage shall be borne by the insurance enterprises.

2. Where the parties cannot reach agreement on the cause and extent of the damage, they can invite independent experts, except otherwise agreed upon in the insurance contracts. Where the parties cannot reach agreement on inviting independent experts, one of the parties may request the court in the locality where the damage is caused or where the insured resides to designate the independent experts. The conclusions made by the independent experts shall be binding on all parties.

Article 49.- Responsibility to transfer the right to request refunds

1. Where the third party is at fault in causing damage to the insured and the insurance enterprise has already paid the indemnity money to the insured, the insured shall have to transfer the right to request the third party to refund the indemnity sum he/she has received to the insurance enterprise.

2. Where the insured refuses to transfer such right to the insurance enterprise, fail to reserve or give up the right to request the third party to indemnify, the insurance enterprise may deduct the indemnity sum depending on the degree of fault committed by the insured.

3. The insurance enterprises must not request fathers, mothers, spouses, offspring, siblings of the insured to refund the sums they have paid to the insured, except where these persons intentionally cause the damage.

Article 50.- Regulations on safety

1. The insured must abide by the regulations on fire prevention and fighting, on labor safety, labor hygiene and other relevant law provisions in order to ensure safety for the insurance objects.

2. The insurance enterprises may inspect the conditions to ensure safety for insurance objects or propose, request the insured to apply measures to prevent and limit risks.

3. Where the insured fails to take measures to ensure safety for the insurance objects, the insurance enterprises may set a time limit for the insured to apply such measures; if past such time limit the safety measures are not applied, the insurance enterprises may raise the insurance premiums or unilaterally suspend the performance of the insurance contracts.

4. The insurance enterprises may apply preventive measures to ensure safety for insurance objects when so agreed by the insurance buyers or competent State bodies.

Article 51.- Not to abandon insured property

In cases where damage is caused, the insured must not abandon the insured property, except otherwise provided for by law or agreed upon by the parties.

Section 4. CIVIL LIABILITY INSURANCE CONTRACTS

Article 52.- Subject of civil liability insurance contracts

Subject of civil liability insurance contracts shall be the insured’s civil liability toward the third party as prescribed by law.

Article 53.- Responsibility of insurance enterprises

1. The insurance enterprises’ responsibility shall arise only if the third party requests the insured to pay compensations for damage caused to the third party during the insurance time by such persons who are at fault.

2. The third party shall not be entitled to directly request the insurance enterprises to pay the indemnities, except otherwise provided for by law.

Article 54.- Insurance money amounts

The insurance money amounts mean the amounts of money the insurance enterprises shall have to pay to the insured as agreed upon in the insurance contracts.

Article 55.- Limits of insured liability

1. Within the limits of the insurance sums, the insurance enterprises shall have to pay the insured the amounts which, under the provisions of law, the insured has to indemnify the third party.

2. Apart from paying the indemnities as provided for in Clause 1 of this Article, the insurance enterprises shall also have to pay for expenses related to the settlement of disputes over the liability for the third party and the interests to be paid to the third party as the insured defer the payment of damages under the instructions of the insurance enterprises.

3. The total indemnities of the insurance enterprises prescribed in Clauses 1 and 2 of this Article shall not exceed the insurance sums, except otherwise agreed upon in the insurance contracts.

4. Where the insured have to pay deposits or collateral in order to have the property not kept in custody or to avoid lawsuits at courts, the insurance enterprises, at the request of the insured, shall have to provide guarantee or collateral within the limits of the insurance amounts.

Article 56.- Right to represent the insured

The insurance enterprises may represent the insurance buyers in negotiations with the third party on the levels of compensation for damage, except otherwise agreed upon in the insurance contracts.

Article 57.- Mode of indemnification

At the insured’s request, the insurance enterprises may pay indemnities directly to the insured or the victims being the third party.