Personal Bias in Automobile Claims Settlement
Despite the importance of claims handling practices to consumers and insurers, relatively little research has been done in this area. Our purpose here is to consider one aspect of automobile bodily injury liability claims management: the assignment of fault across parties as judged by the insured defendant's claims adjuster. Because legal fault assessment directly affects whether a defendant is held liable, and if so, for how much, this aspect of claims management is significant. We use accident data from the 1997 Insurance Research Council Closed Claim Survey to test for relationships between fault assessment and gender, age, and state comparative negligence rules. Controlling for actual fault, we find a greater assessment of fault against female, young, and elderly drivers. The results of the study are of interest to insurers seeking to provide better customer service, to consumer advocacy groups interested in claims settlement practices, and to insurance regulators. Copyright 2003 The Journal of Risk and Insurance.
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Volume (Year): 70 (2003)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
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