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Where's The Insurance In Mass Tort Litigation?, Tom Baker Jul 2023

Where's The Insurance In Mass Tort Litigation?, Tom Baker

Articles

This article reports and explains four key findings about the difference between the role of insurance in mass tort litigation and the role of insurance in ordinary tort and corporate governance litigation as reported in earlier research: (1) outside of the insolvency context, mass tort plaintiff lawyers do not build their litigation and settlement strategy around defendants’ liability insurance; (2) mass tort defendants typically retain control over their defense, even when they recover under insurance policies that assign the insurer control over their defense; (3) mass tort defendants typically use their own funds to settle claims, obtaining indemnification from their …


Insurance And Enterprise: Cyber Insurance For Ransomware, Tom Baker, Anja Shortland Dec 2022

Insurance And Enterprise: Cyber Insurance For Ransomware, Tom Baker, Anja Shortland

All Faculty Scholarship

Selling insurance gives insurers an incentive to manage insured risks. The “insurance as governance” literature demonstrates that insurers often make insurance conditional on ex ante risk reduction or mitigation. But insurance governs in support of enterprise, not security for its own sake. Tight underwriting inhibits enterprise – not only for insured businesses but also the business of insurance. This paper highlights ex post loss reduction as a form of insurance-based governance. Drawing on interviews with industry insiders, we explore how insurers addressed the evolving problems of moral hazard, uncertainty, and correlated losses since the 1990s. We find that cyber insurance …


How A Pandemic Plus Recession Foretell The Post-Job Based Horizon Of Health Insurance, Allison K. Hoffman Jun 2022

How A Pandemic Plus Recession Foretell The Post-Job Based Horizon Of Health Insurance, Allison K. Hoffman

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For many years, the health insurance that people received through their jobs was considered the gold standard, so much so that it came to be called “Cadillac coverage.” Just as Cadillac has lost its sheen, so has job-based health insurance coverage in many cases. This decline predated the COVID-19 pandemic, yet it has been, and will continue to be, hastened by it. The changes to job-based coverage have prompted people to ask: what’s next? This Article suggests that the lessons from the pandemic could offer an opportunity fundamentally to rethink the way to pay for healthcare in the United States, …


What History Can Tell Us About The Future Of Insurance And Litigation After Covid-19, Kenneth S. Abraham, Tom Baker Apr 2022

What History Can Tell Us About The Future Of Insurance And Litigation After Covid-19, Kenneth S. Abraham, Tom Baker

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This Article, written for the annual Clifford Symposium on Tort Law and Social Policy, chronicles a series of developments in American history that profoundly influenced the course of insurance and insurance law, in order to predict the post-COVID-19 future of these fields. In each instance, there was a direct and decided cause-and-effect relationship between these developments and subsequent change in the world of insurance and insurance law. As important as the influence of COVID-19 is at present and probably will be in the future, in our view the COVID-19 pandemic will not be as significant an influence on insurance and …


Nonparty Interests In Contract Law, Omri Ben-Shahar, David A. Hoffman, Cathy Hwang Feb 2022

Nonparty Interests In Contract Law, Omri Ben-Shahar, David A. Hoffman, Cathy Hwang

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Contract law has one overarching goal: to advance the legitimate interests of the contracting parties. For the most part, scholars, judges, and parties embrace this party primacy norm, recognizing only a few exceptions, such as mandatory rules that bar enforcement of agreements that harm others. This Article describes a distinct species of previously unnoticed contract law rules that advance nonparty interests, which it calls “nonparty defaults."

In doing so, this Article makes three contributions to the contract law literature. First, it identifies nonparty defaults as a judicial technique. It shows how courts deviate from the party primary norm with surprising …


Third Party Moral Hazard And The Problem Of Insurance Externalities, Gideon Parchomovsky, Peter Siegelman Jan 2022

Third Party Moral Hazard And The Problem Of Insurance Externalities, Gideon Parchomovsky, Peter Siegelman

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Insurance can lead to loss or claim-creation not just by insureds themselves, but also by uninsured third parties. These externalities—which we term “third party moral hazard”—arise because insurance creates opportunities both to extract rents and to recover for otherwise unrecoverable losses. Using examples from health, automobile, kidnap, and liability insurance, we demonstrate that the phenomenon is widespread and important, and that the downsides of insurance are greater than previously believed. We explain the economic, social and psychological reasons for this phenomenon, and propose policy responses. Contract-based methods that are traditionally used to control first-party moral hazard can be welfare-reducing in …


A Public Option For Employer Health Plans, Allison K. Hoffman, Howell E. Jackson, Amy Monahan Feb 2021

A Public Option For Employer Health Plans, Allison K. Hoffman, Howell E. Jackson, Amy Monahan

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Following the 2020 presidential election, health care reform discussions have centered on two competing proposals: Medicare for All and an individual public option (“Medicare for all who want it”). Interestingly, these two proposals take starkly different approaches to employer-provided health coverage, long the bedrock of the U.S. health care system and the stumbling block to many prior reform efforts. Medicare for All abolishes employer-provided coverage, while an individual public option leaves it untouched.

This Article proposes a novel solution that finds a middle ground between these two extremes: an employer public option. In contrast to the more familiar public option …


The Irony Of Health Care’S Public Option, Allison K. Hoffman Jan 2021

The Irony Of Health Care’S Public Option, Allison K. Hoffman

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The idea of a public health insurance option is at least a half century old, but has not yet had its day in the limelight. This chapter explains why if that moment ever comes, health care’s public option will fall short of expectations that it will provide a differentiated, meaningful alternative to private health insurance and will spur health insurance competition.

Health care’s public option bubbled up in its best-known form in California in the early 2000s and got increasing mainstream attention in the lead up to the 2010 health reform, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The …


Uncertainty > Risk: Lessons For Legal Thought From The Insurance Runoff Market, Tom Baker Jan 2021

Uncertainty > Risk: Lessons For Legal Thought From The Insurance Runoff Market, Tom Baker

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Insurance ideas inform legal thought: from tort law, to health law and financial services regulation, to theories of distributive justice. Within that thought, insurance is conceived as an ideal type in which insurers distribute determinable risks through contracts that fix the parties’ obligations in advance. This ideal type has normative appeal, among other reasons because it explains how tort law might achieve in practice the objectives of tort theory. This ideal type also supports a restrictive vision of liability-based regulation that opposes expansions and supports cutbacks, on the grounds that uncertainty poses an existential threat to insurance markets.

Prior work …


The Paradox Of Insurance, Gideon Parchomovsky, Peter Siegelman Mar 2020

The Paradox Of Insurance, Gideon Parchomovsky, Peter Siegelman

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In this Article, we uncover a paradoxical phenomenon that has hitherto largely escaped the attention of legal scholars and economists, yet it has far-reaching implications for insurance law: loss-creation by uninsured parties caused by the presence of insurance. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, we show that insurance can create significant negative externalities by inducing third parties to engage in antisocial, illegal and unethical activities in order to extract money from insureds or insurers. Moreover, as the amount and scope of insurance grows, so does its distortionary effect on third parties. We term this phenomenon the paradox of insurance. The risk …


Private Equity Value Creation In Finance: Evidence From Life Insurance, Divya Kirti, Natasha Sarin Feb 2020

Private Equity Value Creation In Finance: Evidence From Life Insurance, Divya Kirti, Natasha Sarin

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This paper studies how private equity buyouts create value in the insurance industry, where decentralized regulation creates opportunities for aggressive tax and capital management. Using novel data on 57 large private equity deals in the insurance industry, we show that buyouts create value by decreasing insurers' tax liabilities; and by reaching-for-yield: PE firms tilt their subsidiaries' bond portfolios toward junk bonds while avoiding corresponding capital charges. Previous work on affiliated or "shadow" reinsurance and capital management misses the important role that private equity buyouts play as recent drivers of these phenomenon. The trend we document is of growing importance in …


Choice Architecture For Healthier Insurance Choices: Ordering And Partitioning Can Improve Decisions, Benedict G.C. Dellaert, Eric J. Johnson, Tom Baker Jul 2019

Choice Architecture For Healthier Insurance Choices: Ordering And Partitioning Can Improve Decisions, Benedict G.C. Dellaert, Eric J. Johnson, Tom Baker

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Health insurance decisions are a challenge for many consumers and influence welfare, health outcomes, and longevity. Two choice architecture tools are examined that can improve these decisions: informed ordering of options (from best to worst) and choice set partitioning. It is hypothesized that these tools can improve choices by changing: (1) decision focus: the options in a set on which consumers focus their attention, and (2) decision strategy: how consumers integrate the different attributes that make up the options. The first experiment focuses on the mediating role of the hypothesized decision processes on consumer decision outcomes. The outcome results are …


Health Care's Market Bureaucracy, Allison K. Hoffman Jan 2019

Health Care's Market Bureaucracy, Allison K. Hoffman

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The last several decades of health law and policy have been built on a foundation of economic theory. This theory supported the proliferation of market-based policies that promised maximum efficiency and minimal bureaucracy. Neither of these promises has been realized. A mounting body of empirical research discussed in this Article makes clear that leading market-based policies are not efficient — they fail to capture what people want. Even more, this Article describes how the struggle to bolster these policies — through constant regulatory, technocratic tinkering that aims to improve the market and the decision-making of consumers in it — has …


Back To The Future Of Cyber Insurance, Tom Baker Jan 2019

Back To The Future Of Cyber Insurance, Tom Baker

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Written for an insurance trade publication, this brief essay identifies five ways that insurers manage uncertainty in selling cyber insurance: (1) providing valuable services beyond risk transfer; (2) contract design, (3) rapid iteration of pricing and forms, (4) limits management and reinsurance, and (5) claims disputing. Cyber insurers provide easy-to-price loss prevention and mitigation services so that the value proposition includes more than the (difficult to price) risk transfer. Cyber insurers design their contracts to include narrowly defined categories of coverage, typically with separate limits and with claims-made coverage for liability risks, and traditional insurers design their contracts to limit …


How Liability Insurers Protect Patients And Improve Safety, Tom Baker, Charles Silver Jan 2019

How Liability Insurers Protect Patients And Improve Safety, Tom Baker, Charles Silver

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Forty years after the publication of the first systematic study of adverse medical events, there is greater access to information about adverse medical events and increasingly widespread acceptance of the view that patient safety requires more than vigilance by well-intentioned medical professionals. In this essay, we describe some of the ways that medical liability insurance organizations contributed to this transformation, and we catalog the roles that those organizations play in promoting patient safety today. Whether liability insurance in fact discourages providers from improving safety or encourages them to protect patients from avoidable harms is an empirical question that a survey …


Chapter: “Health Law And Ethics”, Allison K. Hoffman, I. Glenn Cohen, William M. Sage Jan 2019

Chapter: “Health Law And Ethics”, Allison K. Hoffman, I. Glenn Cohen, William M. Sage

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Law and ethics are both essential attributes of a high-functioning health care system and powerful explainers of why the existing system is so difficult to improve. U.S. health law is not seamless; rather, it derives from multiple sources and is based on various theories that may be in tension with one another. There are state laws and federal laws, laws setting standards and laws providing funding, laws reinforcing professional prerogatives, laws furthering social goals, and laws promoting market competition. Complying with law is important, but health professionals also should understand that the legal and ethical constraints under which health systems …


Regulating Robo Advice Across The Financial Services Industry, Tom Baker, Benedict G. C. Dellaert Jan 2018

Regulating Robo Advice Across The Financial Services Industry, Tom Baker, Benedict G. C. Dellaert

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Automated financial product advisors – “robo advisors” – are emerging across the financial services industry, helping consumers choose investments, banking products, and insurance policies. Robo advisors have the potential to lower the cost and increase the quality and transparency of financial advice for consumers. But they also pose significant new challenges for regulators who are accustomed to assessing human intermediaries. A well-designed robo advisor will be honest and competent, and it will recommend only suitable products. Because humans design and implement robo advisors, however, honesty, competence, and suitability cannot simply be assumed. Moreover, robo advisors pose new scale risks that …


In Defense Of The Restatement Of Liability Insurance Law, Tom Baker, Kyle D. Logue Jan 2017

In Defense Of The Restatement Of Liability Insurance Law, Tom Baker, Kyle D. Logue

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For most non-contractual legal claims for damages that are brought against individuals or firms, there is some form of liability insurance coverage. The Restatement of the Law Liability Insurance is the American Law Institute’s first effort to “restate” the common law governing such liability insurance policies, and we are the reporters. In a recent essay funded by the insurance industry, Yale Law Professor George Priest launched a strident critique of the Restatement project, arguing that the rules adopted in the Restatement:

(a) are radically contrary to existing case law,

(b) have a naïve “pro-policyholder” bias that ignores basic economic insights …


Mutually Assured Protection Among Large U.S. Law Firms, Tom Baker, Rick Swedloff Jan 2017

Mutually Assured Protection Among Large U.S. Law Firms, Tom Baker, Rick Swedloff

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Top law firms are notoriously competitive, fighting for prime clients and matters. But some of the most elite firms are also deeply cooperative, willingly sharing key details about their finances and strategy with their rivals. More surprisingly, they pay handsomely to do so. Nearly half of the AmLaw 100 and 200 belong to mutual insurance organizations that require member firms to provide capital; partner time; and important information about their governance, balance sheets, risk management, strategic plans, and malpractice liability. To answer why these firms do so when there are commercial insurers willing to provide coverage with fewer burdens, we …


From The Technical To The Personal: Teaching And Learning Health Insurance Regulation And Reform, Allison K. Hoffman, Whitney A. Brown, Lindsay Cutler Jan 2017

From The Technical To The Personal: Teaching And Learning Health Insurance Regulation And Reform, Allison K. Hoffman, Whitney A. Brown, Lindsay Cutler

All Faculty Scholarship

In the Fall of 2016, I taught Health Law and Policy for the fourth consecutive semester. Over time, one thing has become increasingly clear: the aspect of this course that I work with most closely as a scholar—the regulation of health care financing and insurance, including the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)—is also the material that I find the most challenging to teach. Every time I reflect on teaching this material, and hear from students about how they learn this material, the thing that stands out is how critical it is that my students understand the profound impact …


Reimagining The Risk Of Long-Term Care, Allison K. Hoffman Jan 2016

Reimagining The Risk Of Long-Term Care, Allison K. Hoffman

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U.S. law and policy on long-term care fail to address the insecurity American families face due to prolonged illness and disability — a problem that grows more serious as the population ages and rates of disability rise. This Article argues that, even worse, we have focused on only part of the problem. It illuminates two ways that prolonged disability or illness can create insecurity. The first arises from the risk of becoming disabled or sick and needing long-term care, which could be called “care-recipient” risk. The second arises out of the risk of becoming responsible for someone else’s care, which …


Medicare Secondary Payer And Settlement Delay, Eric Helland, Jonathan Klick Jul 2015

Medicare Secondary Payer And Settlement Delay, Eric Helland, Jonathan Klick

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The Medicare Secondary Payer Act of 1980 and its subsequent amendments require that insurers and self-insured companies report settlements, awards, and judgments that involve a Medicare beneficiary to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The parties then may be required to compensate CMS for its conditional payments. In a simple settlement model, this makes settlement less likely. Also, the reporting delays and uncertainty regarding the size of these conditional payments are likely to further frustrate the settlement process. We provide results, using data from a large insurer, showing that, on average, implementation of the MSP reporting amendments led to …


Compensating The Victims Of Japan’S 3-11 Fukushima Disaster, Eric A. Feldman Jan 2015

Compensating The Victims Of Japan’S 3-11 Fukushima Disaster, Eric A. Feldman

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Japan’s March 2011 triple disaster—first a large earthquake, followed by a massive tsunami and a nuclear meltdown—caused a devastating loss of life, damaged and destroyed property, and left hundreds of thousands of people homeless, hurt, and in need. This article looks at the effort to address the financial needs of the victims of the 3/11 disaster by examining the role of public and private actors in providing compensation, describing the types of groups and individuals for whom compensation is available, and analyzing the range of institutions through which compensation has been allocated. The story is in some ways cause for …


Mandatory Rules And Default Rules In Insurance Contracts, Tom Baker, Kyle D. Logue Jan 2015

Mandatory Rules And Default Rules In Insurance Contracts, Tom Baker, Kyle D. Logue

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The economic analysis of contract law can be organized around two general questions: (1) what are the efficient or welfare-maximizing substantive rules of contract law; and (2) once those rules have been identified, when if ever should they be made mandatory and when should they be merely “default rules” that the parties can contract around if they wish? Much of contract theory over the past twenty years has been devoted to developing answers to those two questions. The same two questions can be posed with respect to the rules of insurance law. Although previous scholars have examined particular substantive doctrines …


Liability Insurer Data As A Window On Lawyers’ Professional Liability, Tom Baker, Rick Swedloff Jan 2015

Liability Insurer Data As A Window On Lawyers’ Professional Liability, Tom Baker, Rick Swedloff

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Using the best publicly available data on lawyers’ liability claims and insurance – from the largest insurer of large law firms in the U.S., the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Professional Liability, and a summary of large claims from a leading insurance broker–this article reports the frequency of lawyers’ liability claims, the distribution and cost of claims by type of practice, the disposition of claims, and lawyers liability insurance premiums from the early 1980s to 2013. Notable findings include remarkable stability over thirty years in the distribution of claims by area of practice among both small and large firms, …


The Reverberating Risk Of Long-Term Care, Allison K. Hoffman Jan 2015

The Reverberating Risk Of Long-Term Care, Allison K. Hoffman

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The Fiftieth Anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid offers an opportunity to reflect on how American social policy has conceived of the problem of long-term care. In this essay, based on a longer forthcoming article, I argue that current policies adopt too narrow a conception of long-term care risk, by focusing on the effect of serious illness and disability on people who need care and not on the friends and family who often provide it. I propose a more complete view of long-term care risk that acknowledges how illness and disability reverberates through communities, posing insecurity for people beyond those in …


Behavioral Economics And Insurance Law: The Importance Of Equilibrium Analysis, Tom Baker, Peter Siegelman Jan 2014

Behavioral Economics And Insurance Law: The Importance Of Equilibrium Analysis, Tom Baker, Peter Siegelman

All Faculty Scholarship

Because choosing insurance requires consumers to assess risks and probabilities, the demand for insurance has proven to be fertile ground for identifying deviations from rational behavior. Consumers often shun the insurance against large losses that they rationally should want (e.g., floods); and they are attracted to insurance against small losses (extended warranties, low deductibles) that no rational individual should purchase. But the welfare consequences of behavioral anomalies in insurance are complex, because consumers’ irrational behavior takes place in a market profoundly shaped by informational asymmetries. Under some conditions, deviations from rational behavior may actually generate insurance market equilibria that produce …


Money, Sex, And Religion--The Supreme Court's Aca Sequel, George J. Annas, Theodore Ruger, Jennifer Prah Ruger Jan 2014

Money, Sex, And Religion--The Supreme Court's Aca Sequel, George J. Annas, Theodore Ruger, Jennifer Prah Ruger

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The Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case is in many ways a sequel to the Court's 2012 decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The majority decision, written by Justice Samuel Alito, is a setback for both the ACA's foundational goal of access to universal health care and for women's health care specifically. The Court's ruling can be viewed as a direct consequence of our fragmented health care system, in which fundamental duties are incrementally delegated and imposed on a range of public and private actors. Our incremental, fragmented, and incomplete health insurance system means …


Health Care Spending And Financial Security After The Affordable Care Act, Allison K. Hoffman Jan 2014

Health Care Spending And Financial Security After The Affordable Care Act, Allison K. Hoffman

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Health insurance has fallen notoriously short of protecting Americans from financial insecurity caused by health care spending. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) attempted to ameliorate this shortcoming by regulating health insurance. The ACA offers a new policy vision of how health insurance will (and perhaps should) serve to promote financial security in the face of health care spending. Yet, the ACA’s policy vision applies differently among insured, based on the type of insurance they have, resulting in inconsistent types and levels of financial protection among Americans.

To examine this picture of inconsistent financial protection, this Article offers …


Can Consumers Make Affordable Care Affordable? The Value Of Choice Architecture, Eric J. Johnson, Ran Hassin, Tom Baker, Allison T. Bajger, Galen Treuer Jul 2013

Can Consumers Make Affordable Care Affordable? The Value Of Choice Architecture, Eric J. Johnson, Ran Hassin, Tom Baker, Allison T. Bajger, Galen Treuer

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Starting this October, tens of millions will be choosing health coverage on a state or federal health insurance exchange as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. We examine how well people make these choices, how well they think they do, and what can be done to improve these choices. We conducted 6 experiments asking people to choose the most cost-effective policy using websites modeled on current exchanges. Our results suggest there is significant room for improvement. Without interventions, respondents perform at near chance levels and show a significant bias, overweighting out-of-pocket expenses and deductibles. Financial incentives do …