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Risk, Insurance, Reinsurance Lexicon, 1993.

WITH THE CURRENT BURST of globalization in the insurance and risk management industries, it seems prophetic that as early as 1972, the authors of this French/English/American lexicon foresaw the need to assemble and publish the terms that would be so vital to the international insurance transactions of 1993. As with many innovative projects, the idea for the lexicon originally sprang from personal need. Author Jacques Lesobre writes that, in the 1960s, as an international insurance and reinsurance broker, he was often unable to perfectly understand some American technical terms. When he sought an international risk and insurance dictionary to help him untangle his confusion, he realized that there was none in existence. Mr. Lesobre and co-author Henri Sommer therefore set out to fill the void with their "own documentary evidence, built up and completed in the course of years of practical experience in insurance." The result is an extremely comprehensive reference volume of insurance, reinsurance and risk management terms that can benefit anyone involved in the industry.

The book, which contains over 6,200 terms and expressions and 2,080 abbreviations, is divided into four primary sections: terms translated from English/American into French; terms translated from French into English/American; English/American acronyms; and French acronyms. The authors point out that the translations of insurance terms do differ significantly in the United States versus the United Kingdom.

The authors take special pains not to distort the true meaning of phrases by translating each word for its own sake; rather they aim for the overall connotation. Additionally, they indicate primary, secondary and idiomatic meanings. Under the entry for risk for example, there are four main definitions and over 100 subentries for various types of risk, such as exotic and highly protected. Likewise, under "liability," there are two subheads -- one to indicate engagement and one for obligation -- as well as over 50 subentries for such types of liability as umbrella and retroactive. Particular abbreviations are used to explain the main area of applicability to a term, such as maritime, aviation or fire risk. Special consideration is also given to words that have been borrowed from one language and accepted or translated into another, such as the French term "bordereau," which has been adopted into English without translation.

The book has been out of print for seven years, so this newly updated third edition is worthy of attention. In these seven years, the insurance world has seen an eruption of growth in global transactions and communications -- such as cross-border insurance contracts in the European Community. Because disputes over the meaning of contractual clauses are likely to become more prevalent as global business increases, it is more important than ever to have clear translations and definitions of contractual clauses to avoid, for example, confusion over limits or exclusions in coverage. Risk managers, translators and insurers will benefit from the ability to clearly understand what contracts they are entering into.

The lexicon also includes technical tables for converting pounds per square inch to kilonewtons per square meter and Fahrenheit to Celsius. Finally, there is a comprehensive bibliography that lists relevant industry dictionaries, guides and publications by country of origin.

Certainly, the authors of this reference volume are not lacking in credentials. Jacques Lesobre, for the past 21 years insurance manager of the Matra Hachette Group in Paris, has over 34 years of experience in insurance, international broking and risk management. Henri Sommer, who was a risk manager for five years, has 34 years of professional experience both within insurance companies and in international broking and is president of the broking firm Polbrokers in Warsaw. In this third edition, the original two authors, Mr. Lesobre and Mr. Sommer, were joined by Frances J. Cave, who provided a British perspective. Ms. Cave has over 22 years of professional experience in the field of language and translation including insurance and risk management. She is currently account executive with the Gras Savoye Group.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Risk Management Society Publishing, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Kehl, Joyce L.
Publication:Risk Management
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 1, 1993
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