An indemnity policy constitutes a contractual agreement in terms of which the insurer indemnifies the insured in the event of a loss. The policy is neither intended to unjustifiably enrich nor undercompensate the insured. Its primary purpose is to restore the insured to their prior financial position subject to indemnity limits and avoid double indemnity.

A neat description of subrogation appears in a recent UK case:

‘The concept of subrogated rights is well known. If a party is insured against an insured risk, and that risk eventuates and causes loss, the insurer will make good to the insured party the loss suffered as a result of the occurrence of the

The principle is trite that an insurer who pays the insured’s loss so that the insured receives a full indemnity has the right to step into the insured’s shoes and bring an action against the person responsible for the insured’s loss.

Many policies also now provide for contractual subrogation even in circumstances where a complete