At its heart insurance is simply the transfer of risk for a premium.
An insurance policy is a contract of indemnity which means an obligation by a person (indemnitor) to provide compensation for a particular loss suffered by another person (indemnitee). Indemnities form the basis of many insurance contracts; for example, a car owner may purchase different kinds of insurance as an indemnity for various kinds of loss arising from operation of the car, such as damage to the car itself or medical expenses following an accident. In an agency context, a principal may be obligated to indemnify their agent for liabilities incurred while carrying out responsibilities under the relationship. While the events giving rise to an indemnity may be specified by contract, the actions that must be taken to compensate the injured party are largely unpredictable and the maximum compensation is often expressly limited. The question is, how does the academic definition of insurance translate into the real world?