UCONN Law School Hosts Workshop on Insurance and Policing

HARTFORD, CT: On April 8th, the Insurance Law Center and the Center on Community Safety, Policing, and Insurance held a closed-door symposium on Insurance and Policing at the University of Connecticut School of Law. The workshop welcomed legal academics, insurance practitioners, representatives of risk pools, and law enforcement officials for an open discussion on the influence of liability insurance on law enforcement policy.

“Most people don’t think about insurance as a way of effecting police reform. But there’s a growing body of research suggesting that insurance companies and risk pools might be one of the few mechanisms to make progress in policing right now,” Travis Pantin, Director of the Insurance Law Center, said.

The workshop was inspired by the work of Professor John Rappaport of the University of Chicago Law School, whose scholarship has suggested that insurance oversight and underwriting practices might be able to regulate police misconduct. Deborah Ramirez of Northeastern University Law School also attended the workshop, and shared her scholarship focusing on the possibility that individual liability for police officers—similar to the malpractice insurance that individual doctors must purchase—could help to regulate policing.

Ann Gergen, associate director of the Association of Governmental Risk Pools (AGRiP), attended the workshop and said, “This is an issue that risk pools around the country are very focused on right now. It was very insightful to spend an entire day with a roomful of smart people exploring such a complicated and important topic.”

Kiel Brennan-Marquez, director of CCSPI, noted how “gratifying it was to see our Centers’ overlapping efforts toward reform unfold in real-time. This was the beginning of a big-picture conversation about the role insurance can play in police reform, and we look forward to its continuation over the years.”

Participants spent the day on UCONN’s Hartford campus examining specific insurance mechanisms that influence police behavior, models of assessing liability and coverage for law enforcement, and strategies that would allow for more information-sharing among researchers, police departments, and insurers.

“The public is safest when they trust the police and institutions that support our criminal justice system, and the insurance industry can play an important role in building trust in our institutions,” said Ken Barone, Associate Director of the Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy. “I am confident that UConn Law School will continue to convene challenging conversations that lead to thoughtful reforms and policy solutions.”

“I congratulate Professors Brennan-Marquez and Pantin for organizing such an important and thought-provoking workshop,” Dean Eboni S. Nelson said. “The success of the workshop highlights the importance of engaging with stakeholders from different fields to identify sustainable solutions to advance police reform.”

“Questions like, ‘What do communities expect from our law enforcement professionals today?’ and ‘What role can and should the insurance/reinsurance community play in addressing such issues?’ come with no easy answers. But taking the opportunity to wrestle with those questions is an important step,” said Kevin Williams, Senior Vice President at Genesis Insurance. “I’m glad I was able to participate.”

This was the first in-person event co-hosted by the CCSPI and the ILC.

New Ideas in Insurance Returns for Second Round

New Ideas in Insurance: A Virtual ILC Speaker Series

Leading experts will present the latest and most compelling ideas in insurance during a series of online presentations sponsored by the Insurance Law Center at the University of Connecticut School of Law.

The 2022 New Ideas in Insurance series will begin on Jan. 20 with a lecture by Hannah Farber of Columbia University about how insurance shaped the founding of the United States. The weekly series will continue on Thursdays from 4 to 5 p.m. through April with presentations by scholars, lawyers and industry experts.

A session on Race and Insurance will be held March 31, featuring Connecticut Insurance Commissioner Andrew Mais, Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman, and My Chi To, executive deputy superintendent of insurance for the New York State Department of Financial Services. Other topics will include ransomware insurance, firearm safety, third party moral hazard, adverse selection and the transfer of financial risk from government and businesses onto individual households.

”We’re really thrilled with the intellectually diverse lineup of scholars and practitioners that will be presenting this year,” said Travis Pantin, director of the Insurance Law Center. “This is the second year that we’re doing this, and we’ve learned that organizing fully remote workshops is a great way to bring together the geographically dispersed community of insurance law scholars and practitioners. Our goal is to make this the place that insurance law nerds gather to discuss the most interesting academic ideas circulating today.”

“I’m really looking forward to this series, which promises to be very informative and thought-provoking,” Dean Eboni S. Nelson said. “I applaud Insurance Law Center Director Travis Pantin for building upon the excellence of the center by assembling such a stellar roster of participants who will present on timely and interesting topics.”

There is no charge for attendance, but advance registration is required. A full schedule and registration link are available at ilc.law.uconn.edu/new-ideas, along with recordings of presentations from 2021, the first year of the series.

The Insurance Law Center at the UConn School of Law, established in 1998 with an endowment from the insurance community, is an internationally renowned academic center for the study of law, insurance and risk.

Professor Peter Siegelman Explores Third-Party Moral Hazard

Moral hazard is one of the oldest ideas in insurance economics, and plays a central role in the
business of insurance. As has long been understood, it occurs because the transfer of risk from
the policyholder to the insurer leaves the former with a diminished incentive to prevent or avoid
bad outcomes. This insight profoundly shapes the design of insurance contracts; it has also
played a role in thousands of judicial and regulatory decisions in insurance law and has given
rise to a vast academic literature. But insurance does not just affect the behavior of the insured
policyholder: in many settings, it can influence others who are not parties to the insurance
contract. UConn Law Professor Peter Siegelman and Penn Law Professor Gideon Parchomovsky found that this problem requires careful scrutiny and innovative solutions.

Read the paper | Read a non-technical summary

Travis Pantin Named Director of Insurance Law Center

Travis Luis PantinTravis Luis Pantin has been named director of the Insurance Law Center at the UConn School of Law, also joining the faculty as an associate professor of law.

Pantin’s research concerns the doctrine, history and institutional practices of insurance. His forthcoming article, What Can’t Be Insured: The Policyholder’s Own Bad Acts, analyzes the insurance law principle that one cannot be indemnified against the results of one’s own moral turpitude. Pantin argues that insurance law articulates its own conception of individual responsibility that is distinct from but analogous to similar conceptions that courts use to assign legal liability in the tort or criminal law contexts.

After earning his BA from the University of Chicago, Pantin worked as a a macroeconomics and finance reporter in New York City and Abu Dhabi. More recently, he was an academic fellow at Columbia University Law School. He is a graduate of Yale Law School, where he was the articles editor for the Yale Law Journal.

UConn Law Students Help Keep Tabs on COVID-19 Litigation

The COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed a flood of lawsuits by businesses trying to force insurers to cover virus-related losses. Figuring out what that means to the insurance industry and their policyholders requires a massive data collection effort, which is now under way with the help of four UConn Law students.

The students gather information about state and federal court cases, turning lawsuits filed by a podiatry practice in Pennsylvania or a nightclub in California into data for the Covid Coverage Litigation Tracker. Professor Tom Baker at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School conceived and manages the tracker, which is co-sponsored by the Insurance Law Center at the UConn School of Law. His goal is to record the pandemic’s unique case law and provide the data that scholars, practitioners, and historians will need to analyze the litigation.

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