As everyone knows, contracts of insurance are often called “insurance policies.” On and off, over many years, I have wondered why, but have been too lazy to try and find out.  This project has given me what I tentatively think may be the answer.  It’s definitional. In Volume II of Samuel Johnson’s A DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE at p. 1477, there is a definition of “policy,” and it contains three alternatives. Only one of them is possibly applicable. Definition #2 reads this way: “Art, prudence; management of affairs; stratagem.” [Spelling Updated]  Surely having insurance is a prudent management of one’s affairs, so–perhaps–the contract which constituted exactly that ended up being called a “policy.”  In these days and times, it is relatively common to use a noun into a very, for some purposes. Long ago we might see verbs being converted into closely related nouns.

Michael Sean Quinn, PhD, JD, CPCU, Etc

Michael Sean Quinn, PhD, JD, CPCU, Etc. (530)

One of Texas's leading insurance scholars, Michael Sean Quinn is a past chair of the Insurance Section of the State Bar of Texas and has a broad legal practice.

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