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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Ralph A. Winter, 1991. "The Liability Insurance Market," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(3), pages 115-136, Summer.
  • 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 listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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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, pages 1179-1210.
    2. Howard Kunreuther & Erwann Michel-Kerjan, 2004. "Dealing with Extreme Events: Challenges for Terrorism Risk Coverage in the United States," Working Papers hal-00242930, HAL.
    3. Boyer, Martin, 2014. "Directors’ and officers’ insurance and shareholder protection," Journal of Financial Perspectives, EY Global FS Institute, vol. 2(1), pages 107-128.
    4. Ning Wang & Yiling Deng, 2016. "Market responses to loss shocks and insurers' post-catastrophe performance in the US property-casualty insurance market," International Journal of Economics and Business Research, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 11(3), pages 231-246.
    5. 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.
    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. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. Matt Davison & Darrell Leadbetter & Bin Lu & Jane Voll, 2016. "Are Counterparty Arrangements in Reinsurance a Threat to Financial Stability?," Staff Working Papers 16-39, Bank of Canada.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    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. 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.
    14. Berger, Allen N & Cummins, J David & Weiss, Mary A, 1997. "The Coexistence of Multiple Distribution Systems for Financial Services: The Case of Property-Liability Insurance," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70(4), pages 515-546, October.
    15. 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.
    16. Dionne, Georges & Harrington, Scott, 2017. "Insurance and Insurance Markets," Working Papers 17-2, HEC Montreal, Canada Research Chair in Risk Management.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies
    • K13 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Tort Law and Product Liability; Forensic Economics

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