BILA was formed on 25 February 1964 as the UK Chapter of AIDA (Association Internationale de Droit des Assurances – International Insurance Law Association), founded nearly four years earlier.
In 2014 BILA celebrated 50 years and a special event to mark this date took place on 15 May 2014 in London, UK.
Insurance broker Gordon Shaw and CII academic Professor Hugh Cockerell, essentially BILA’s co-founders, recognised the value of a national insurance law association to engage members drawn from the widest spectrum of those with an interest in insurance law in both domestic and international debate, study and collaboration.
From the outset BILA has welcomed distinguished members of the market, academia and the judiciary to serve as its most senior officers. Membership ran quickly into the hundreds to its current 704, including 94 corporate members and 249 individual members. In July 1964, the first BILA Bulletin (latterly the BILA Journal) was published.
Some early concerns remain familiar today: the work of the newly-formed Law Commission; regulation of intermediaries; the impact of insurance upon tort law; the importance of insurance being studied as a higher education subject. BILA thereafter sent representatives, as it has ever since, to participate in the quadrennial AIDA World Congresses and more regular AIDA Council and Working Party meetings.
Apart from its own extensive programme of lunchtime lectures and conferences, often staged in conjunction with other influential bodies, BILA has hosted other AIDA Chapter members among others at its own Colloquia, customarily held every two or three years. BILA’s study groups and responses to consulting papers have continued to play an important role, not least in the establishment of the first ever Insurance Ombudsman and the reform of Insurance Contract Law.