Ex Gratia Payment

Ex Gratia Payment
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Ex gratia payment this statement is used in the legal context very often. This payment is without commitment to liability or legal consequences. If something was done by grace or voluntarily, it means ex gratia. This is where the insurer pays the benefit, but there is no certainty as to liability for the damage.

When an Ex gratia payment is paid[edit]

Sometimes the insurer pays compensation even if it was not necessary. In this way he wants to improve his image and avoid publicizing the situation. Sometimes an ex gratia payment is paid when the insurance company knows that it is not responsible for the damage, but it is beneficial in terms of social or marketing considerations. Often the ex gratia payment is lower than the injured person wants. The amount is an advantageous solution for both parties. The injured person is compensated without trial in court, and the insurance company eliminates the risk of losing the case and does not suffer image losses.

Amount of payments[edit]

The recipient of the benefit ex gratia can only be someone who is included in the contract. Ex gratia benefit can be paid if the insurance contract is valid (even de facto already terminated) and the event that occurred is classified as an insurance accident. Payment ex gratia can not be arbitrary. There must be no discrimination against anyone. The benefit shall not be higher than that which the recipient would have been entitled to in a normal contract.


An example is the history of the United States. After the aircraft accident, the question of ex gratia payment was raised. Legal issues are related to the responsibility of the state for what happened to foreigners. In such a situation, it must be shown that, when nations do something, they do it out of a sense of duty and not just for political reasons.

"If nations publicly acknowledge that they act or refrain from acting in accordance with a requirement of law, they incrementally strengthen an existing legal norm or contribute to the creation of a new one requiring or prohibiting such conduct. If they act merely ex gratia without acknowledging legal compulsion, then the act is not evidence of consent to a legal requirement to act in the way selected and does not, therefore, raise the inference of consent to be bound by an existing or newly emerging customary legal norm." (Harold G. Maier, Ex Gratia Payments and the Iranian Airline Tragedy, 1989).

"I am sure, that the executive branch, through the President, announced that the United States was contemplating payment to the survivors of those killed in the crash on humanitarian grounds only, not out of a sense of legal obligation."(Harold G. Maier, Ex Gratia Payments and the Iranian Airline Tragedy, 1989).

Interesting fact[edit]

This example shows gender discrimination in the case of ex-gratia payments in India.

"Payment made by governments to relatives of the deceased are often made to the head of the household which, more often than not, excludes women. In India, after the tsunami, ex gratia payment for the loss of the children was given only to men unless the husband died in tsunami. This resulted in spending of money on alcohol and other things not related to family needs. In Batticaloa, the regional capital of eastern coastal area of Sri Lanka, the authorities recognised only male-headed households so women whose husbands had died could not claim the money. In Thailand, the government paid twice as much to the families for the funeral expenses of men than for those of women based on the assumption that men are heads of households (APWLD 2006) (Table 25.9)."(Elaine Enarson, P G Dhar Chakrabarti, Women, Gender and Disaster: Global Issues and Initiatives, 2009).

"The aim of this article is to analyse salient gender-based issues in a specific post-disaster context and to add to the discourse on gender and disaster writ large."(Luke Juran, The Gendered Nature of Disasters, 2012).


Author: Aleksandra Jasińska