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The Effects of Tort Reform on Medical Malpractice Insurers' Ultimate Losses

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  • Patricia Born
  • W. Kip Viscusi
  • Tom Baker

Abstract

Whereas the literature evaluating the effect of tort reforms has focused on the impact of reforms on insurers' reported incurred losses, this article examines the ultimate effects of reforms using the developed losses from a comprehensive sample of insurers writing medical malpractice insurance from 1984 to 2003. Noneconomic damages caps are particularly influential in reducing medical malpractice losses and increasing insurer profitability. The long-run effects of these reforms are greater than insurers' expected effects; for example, 5- and 7-year developed loss ratios are below the initially reported incurred loss ratios for those years following the enactment of noneconomic damages caps. Analyses of reported losses consequently understate the ultimate effects of tort reforms. The quantile regressions show that reforms have the greatest effects for the firms that are at the high end of the loss distribution. Copyright (c) The Journal of Risk and Insurance, 2009.

Suggested Citation

  • Patricia Born & W. Kip Viscusi & Tom Baker, 2009. "The Effects of Tort Reform on Medical Malpractice Insurers' Ultimate Losses," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 76(1), pages 197-219.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jrinsu:v:76:y:2009:i:1:p:197-219
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Viscusi, W. Kip & Zeckhauser, Richard J. & Born, Patricia & Blackmon, Glenn, 1993. "The Effect of 1980s Tort Reform Legislation on General Liability and Medical Malpractice Insurance," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 6(2), pages 165-186, April.
    2. Newey, Whitney & West, Kenneth, 2014. "A simple, positive semi-definite, heteroscedasticity and autocorrelation consistent covariance matrix," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 33(1), pages 125-132.
    3. Harrington, Scott E & Danzon, Patricia M, 1994. "Price Cutting in Liability Insurance Markets," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 67(4), pages 511-538, October.
    4. Koenker, Roger & Bassett, Gilbert, Jr, 1982. "Robust Tests for Heteroscedasticity Based on Regression Quantiles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 43-61, January.
    5. Viscusi, W Kip & Born, Patricia, 1995. "Medical Malpractice Insurance in the Wake of Liability Reform," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 463-490, June.
    6. Petroni, Kathy Ruby, 1992. "Optimistic reporting in the property- casualty insurance industry," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 485-508, December.
    7. Danzon, Patricia, 1984. "The Frequency and Severity of Medical Malpractice Claims," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 115-148, April.
    8. Koenker, Roger W & Bassett, Gilbert, Jr, 1978. "Regression Quantiles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 33-50, January.
    9. W. Kip Viscusi & Patricia H. Born, 2005. "Damages Caps, Insurability, and the Performance of Medical Malpractice Insurance," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 72(1), pages 23-43.
    10. Born, Patricia H, 2001. "Insurer Profitability in Different Regulatory and Legal Environments," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 19(3), pages 211-237, July.
    11. Joni Hersch & Jeffrey O'Connell & W. Kip Viscusi, 2007. "An Empirical Assessment of Early Offer Reform for Medical Malpractice," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(S2), pages 231-259, June.
    12. Joni Hersch & W. Kip Viscusi, 2004. "Punitive Damages: How Judges and Juries Perform," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(1), pages 1-36, January.
    13. 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.
    14. Frank A. Sloan & Lindsey M. Chepke, 2008. "Medical Malpractice," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262195720.
    15. repec:bin:bpeajo:v:29:y:1998:i:1998-3:p:55-105 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Christopher Carpenter, Sebastian Tello-Trillo, . "Do 'Cheeseburger Bills' Work? Effects of Tort Reform for Fast Food," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58(4).
    2. Altuntas, Muhammed & Berry-Stölzle, Thomas R. & Wende, Sabine, 2015. "Does one size fit all? Determinants of insurer capital structure around the globe," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 251-271.
    3. Nick Hanley & Bengt Kriström & Jason F. Shogren, 2009. "Coherent Arbitrariness: On Value Uncertainty for Environmental Goods," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 85(1), pages 41-50.
    4. Malani, Anup & Reif, Julian, 2015. "Interpreting pre-trends as anticipation: Impact on estimated treatment effects from tort reform," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 1-17.
    5. Patricia Born & Faith Roberts Neale, 2014. "The Differential Effects of Noneconomic Damage Cap Levels on Medical Malpractice Insurers," Risk Management and Insurance Review, American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 17(2), pages 163-181, September.
    6. Gomez, Fernando & Penalva, Jose, 2015. "Tort reform and the theory of coordinating tort and insurance," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 83-97.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

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

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