Hong Kong’s apology ordinance to protect insurance contracts

Recently passed legislation to safeguard parties from admission of liability that could void their cover

Hong Kong’s apology ordinance to protect insurance contracts

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

The Apology Ordinance, which was passed by Hong Kong Legislative Council in July and takes effect on December 1, can help protect parties’ insurance contracts, according to a legal expert.

The ordinance says that a party issuing an apology cannot be used as evidence of admission of fault against them in court, even if the apology states so. The ordinance will protect a party in case they wish to express their condolences or sympathy, despite genuinely believing that they were at fault for an incident. The apology can be verbal, written, or in conduct.

With the ordinance, Hong Kong will be the first territory in Asia-Pacific to have apology legislation. Australia, the United States, Canada, and Scotland also have similar laws.

According to a report by law news site Lexology, parties are traditionally advised to avoid making an admission of fault or liability as this might affect their insurance coverages, as most insurance policies have clauses prohibiting any admission of fault or liability.

However, the new ordinance will allow a party to issue an apology without it voiding any of their insurance contracts, even if the policy was signed before the ordinance takes effect.

“Section 10 of the ordinance expressly provides that an apology will not render any insurance cover void or otherwise affect the insurance cover under a contract of insurance or indemnity, regardless of whether the insurance was entered into before or after the commencement of the ordinance,” said Paul Kwan, a partner at law firm Deacons and the report’s author.

Related stories:
Hong Kong to fast-track online insurers’ registration
Hong Kong travel agency involved in bus crash accused of making false insurance statement
Hong Kong MTR fire victims rejected by insurer

Keep up with the latest news and events

Join our mailing list, it’s free!