Reinsurance and the liability insurance crisis


Insurance-industry accounts of the liability insurance crisis of the mid-1980s often cite disruption of supply in reinsurance markets as an important contributing factor. Economic theories of the crisis have not explored this explanation for the severity of the crisis. This article investigates the extent to which events in reinsurance markets affected liability insurance market outcomes. It documents significant shocks to reinsurance supply in the early 1980s and finds evidence of subsequent disruptions to the price and availability of reinsurance. Regression analysis of liability insurance profitability over the time period supports the hypothesis that problems in reinsurance markets played an important role in the crisis.

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Berger, L.A., Cummins, J.D. & Tennyson, S. Reinsurance and the liability insurance crisis. J Risk Uncertainty 5, 253–272 (1992).

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Key words

  • reinsurance
  • liability insurance
  • liability crisis