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Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Empirical research

Law and Society

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The Shifting Terrain Of Risk And Uncertainty On The Liability Insurance Field, Tom Baker Feb 2011

The Shifting Terrain Of Risk And Uncertainty On The Liability Insurance Field, Tom Baker

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Recent sociological and historical work suggests that insurance risks often are not reliably calculable, except in hindsight. Insurance is “an uncertain business,” characterized by competition for premiums that pushes insurers into the unknown. This essay takes some preliminary steps that extend this insight into the liability insurance field. The essay first provides a simple quantitative comparison of U.S. property and liability insurance premiums over the last sixty years, setting the stage to make three points: (1) liability insurance premiums have grown at a similar rate as property insurance premiums and GDP over this period, providing yet another piece of ...