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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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References

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  1. Thaler, Richard H, 1988. "Anomalies: The Winner's Curse," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 191-202, Winter.
  2. Auerbach, Alan J, 1983. "Taxation, Corporate Financial Policy and the Cost of Capital," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 905-40, September.
  3. William B. Fairley, 1979. "Investment Income and Profit Margins in Property-Liability Insurance: Theory and Empirical Results," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 192-210, Spring.
  4. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicolás S., 1945-, 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Working papers 1523-84., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  5. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicholas S., 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 187-221, June.
  6. Trebilcock, Michael J, 1988. "The Role of Insurance Considerations in the Choice of Efficient Civil Liability Rules," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(2), pages 243-65, Fall.
  7. Stewart C. Myers & Nicholas S. Majluf, 1984. "Corporate Financing and Investment Decisions When Firms Have InformationThat Investors Do Not Have," NBER Working Papers 1396, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Mayers, David & Smith, Clifford W, Jr, 1981. "Contractual Provisions, Organizational Structure, and Conflict Control in Insurance Markets," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(3), pages 407-34, July.
  9. Gur Huberman & David Mayers & Clifford W. Smith Jr., 1983. "Optimal Insurance Policy Indemnity Schedules," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 415-426, Autumn.
  10. Akerlof, George A, 1970. "The Market for 'Lemons': Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500, August.
  11. Raymond D. Hill, 1979. "Profit Regulation in Property-Liability Insurance," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 172-191, Spring.
  12. Steven Shavell, 1982. "On Liability and Insurance," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(1), pages 120-132, Spring.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.).
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Ronnie J. Phillips & David Nickerson, 2011. "Underwriting in Property-Casualty Insurance Markets: Regulation, Risk and Volatility," NFI Working Papers 2011-WP-19, Indiana State University, Scott College of Business, Networks Financial Institute.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Boyer, Martin, 2014. "Directors’ and officers’ insurance and shareholder protection," Journal of Financial Perspectives, EY Global FS Institute, vol. 2(1), pages 107-128.
  12. 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.
  13. Howard Kunreuther & Erwann Michel-Kerjan, 2004. "Dealing with Extreme Events: Challenges for Terrorism Risk Coverage in the United States," Working Papers hal-00242930, HAL.

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