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Acts of God and ManRuminations on Risk and Insurance$
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Michael Powers

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231153676

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231153676.001.0001

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… And the Lawyerly

… And the Lawyerly

Liability and Government Compensation

(p.158) 10 … And the Lawyerly
Acts of God and Man

Michael R. Powers

Columbia University Press

Liability insurance premiums in the United States are extremely costly for many commercial policyholders, and at times, availability crises have arisen in lines such as pollution liability, general liability, and medical malpractice. Even personal lines policyholders have been adversely affected by the high cost of private passenger automobile liability insurance. This chapter addresses several important aspects of a liability system. First, it considers the loss event itself and how one can assign responsibility equitably for damages arising from two or more distinct sources. Next, it discusses the concept of no-fault automobile insurance—one mechanism a society can use to reduce the costs of its liability system. Finally, it suggests various ethical criteria for determining the ultimate financial responsibility of government as the “insurer of last resort.”

Keywords:   liability insurance, insurance premiums, insurance policy, liability system, no-fault automobile insurance, government liability

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