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The Liability Insurance Market

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  • Ralph A. Winter

Abstract

This paper offers an overview of the U.S. liability insurance market and the link between its performance and developments in tort law. Over the last few decades, the dominant feature of the insurance market has been the insurance cycle: intermittent periods of rapidly rising premiums and cutbacks on the availability of coverage. The insurance cycle appears to be increasing in amplitude and, since the 1960s, has been concentrated increasingly in liability lines. The dynamic behavior of the insurance market can be fully explained in a model that emphasizes uncertainty and informational asymmetries, as outlined in this paper. I conclude the paper with a discussion of some policy implications as well as the impact of liability insurance on the incentive role, as opposed to the insurance role, of the tort system.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.5.3.115
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 5 (1991)
Issue (Month): 3 (Summer)
Pages: 115-136

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:5:y:1991:i:3:p:115-36

Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.5.3.115
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Cited by:
  1. Mason, Robin, 2004. "Dividends, safety and liquidation when liabilities are long-term and stochastic," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(6), pages 1179-1210, December.
  2. Posey, Lisa L. & Tennyson, Sharon, 1998. "The coexistence of distribution systems under price search: Theory and some evidence from insurance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 95-115, March.
  3. Allen N. Berger & J. David Cummins & Mary A. Weiss, 1995. "The coexistence of multiple distribution systems for financial services: the case of property-liability insurance," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 95-22, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. Beatty, Anne & Gron, Anne & Jorgensen, Bjorn, 2005. "Corporate risk management: evidence from product liability," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 152-178, April.
  5. Harrington, Scott E. & Danzon, Patricia M. & Epstein, Andrew J., 2008. ""Crises" in medical malpractice insurance: Evidence of excessive price-cutting in the preceding soft market," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 157-169, January.
  6. Doherty, Neil A. & Kartasheva, Anastasia V. & Phillips, Richard D., 2012. "Information effect of entry into credit ratings market: The case of insurers' ratings," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(2), pages 308-330.
  7. Trebilcock, Michael & Winter, Ralph A., 1997. "The economics of nuclear accident law," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 215-243, June.
  8. Richard Brophy, 2012. "Development of insurance regulation in Ireland," Journal of Financial Regulation and Compliance, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 20(3), pages 248-263, July.
  9. Ligon, James A. & Cather, David A., 1997. "The informational value of insurance purchases: Evidence from the property-liability insurance market," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(7), pages 989-1016, July.
  10. Howard Kunreuther & Erwann Michel-Kerjan, 2004. "Dealing with Extreme Events: Challenges for Terrorism Risk Coverage in the United States," Working Papers hal-00242930, HAL.
  11. M. Martin Boyer, 2003. "Directors' and Officers' Insurance and Shareholders' Protection," CIRANO Working Papers 2003s-64, CIRANO.
  12. Winter, Ralph A., 2006. "Liability insurance, joint tortfeasors and limited wealth," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 1-14, March.

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