Here’s an interesting story today about the Massachusetts Attorney General challenging the rate increases that have been approved for the state’s homeowners’ insurer of last resort, the FAIR plan. The problem is one that is riling coastal homeowners’ insurance markets up and down the eastern seaboard, namely the rate increases being imposed by insurers –

One of the problems that insurers, and insurance law, have to confront is the distortion in behavior, economic and otherwise, that insurance can create. Insurance coverage law deals with this problem in a number of ways, such as by means of the known loss doctrine, which – although the specifics of its application vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction – essentially holds that a person cannot insure against an expected, existing or highly probable loss. As such, it prevents an insured company or individual from insuring against something the company or the person intends to do and knows is likely to cause harm. One can think of the known loss doctrine in this context as protecting against people undertaking harmful activities that they would not otherwise have done if they did not think they could insure themselves against the consequences.
We can also understand the various treatments given by the courts of different states to the question of whether a punitive damages award against an insured is insurable as being part of the same thought process. . . .

Continue Reading Economic and Behavioral Distortions, and How Insurance and ERISA Law Cope With Them