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Is the Market Classification of Risk Always Efficient? - Evidence from German Third Party Motor Insurance

  • Reimund Schwarze

    ()

    (Department of Energy, Transportation, Environment, German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) Berlin)

  • Thomas Wein

    ()

    (Institute of Economics, University of Lüneburg)

The efficiency of market-determined risk classification in automobile insurance is a lasting matter of controversy. It can be traced back to the 1950s (Muir, 1957) and received broad economic attention in the 1980s when spiralling car insurance premiums in the US were blamed on tariff regulations prohibiting the use of sex, age and location as risk characteristics (Blackmon/ Zeckhauser 1991, Cummins/ Tennyson 1992, Harrington/ Doerpinghaus 1993). In a mirroring move the EU saw a heated political and legal debate on the use of special tariffs for foreigners, in the 1980s, which resulted in a legal ban of ‘discriminatory’ tariffs for mandatory insurance schemes in many European countries. The latest blow against risk classification in car insurance comes with the EU Employment and Social Affairs’ draft directive on gender equality which proposes to prohibit gender specific calculation of all private insurance products, including non-mandatory branches such as life, private health or comprehensive car insurance.

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Paper provided by University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics in its series Working Paper Series in Economics with number 3.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:lue:wpaper:3
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  1. Hoy, Michael, 1982. "Categorizing Risks in the Insurance Industry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(2), pages 321-36, May.
  2. Joachim Wagner, 2005. "Nascent and infant entrepreneurs in Germany. Evidence from the Regional Entrepreneurship Monitor (REM)," Labor and Demography 0504010, EconWPA.
  3. Luigi Buzzacchi & Tommaso Valletti, 2005. "Strategic Price Discrimination in Compulsory Insurance Markets," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance Theory, Springer, vol. 30(1), pages 71-97, June.
  4. Bond, Eric W & Crocker, Keith J, 1991. "Smoking, Skydiving, and Knitting: The Endogenous Categorization of Risks in Insurance Markets with Asymmetric Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(1), pages 177-200, February.
  5. Blackmon, B Glenn, Jr & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1991. "Mispriced Equity: Regulated Rates for Auto Insurance in Massachusetts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 65-69, May.
  6. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1976. "Equilibrium in Competitive Insurance Markets: An Essay on the Economics of Imperfect Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 630-49, November.
  7. Hoy, Michael, 1988. "Risk Management and the Value of Symmetric Information in Insurance Markets," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 55(219), pages 355-64, August.
  8. J. David Cummins & Sharon Tennyson, 1992. "Controlling Automobile Insurance Costs," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 95-115, Spring.
  9. Wilson, Charles, 1977. "A model of insurance markets with incomplete information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 167-207, December.
  10. Lückgen, Ingo & Oberschachtsiek, Dirk & Sternberg, Rolf & Wagner, Joachim, 2004. "Nascent Entrepreneurs in German Regions: Evidence from the Regional Entrepreneurship Monitor (REM)," IZA Discussion Papers 1394, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Crocker, Keith J & Snow, Arthur, 1986. "The Efficiency Effects of Categorical Discrimination in the Insurance Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(2), pages 321-44, April.
  12. 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.
  13. Michael Hoy, 1984. "The Impact of Imperfectly Categorizing Risks on Income Inequality and Social Welfare," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 17(3), pages 557-68, August.
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