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The major additional costs to insurance companies, other than the payment of claims, are the costs of running a business: the administrative costs of hiring workers, administering accounts, and processing insurance claims. For most insurance companies, the insurance premiums coming in and the claims payments going out are much larger than the amounts earned by investing money or the administrative costs.

Thus, while factors like investment income earned on reserves, administrative costs, and groups with different risks complicate the overall picture, a fundamental law of insurance must hold true: The average person’s payments into insurance over time must cover 1) the average person’s claims, 2) the costs of running the company, and 3) leave room for the firm’s profits. This law can be boiled down to the idea that average premiums and average insurance payouts must be approximately equal.

Risk groups and actuarial fairness

Not all of those who purchase insurance face the same risks. Some people may be more likely, because of genetics or personal habits, to fall sick with certain diseases. Some people may live in an area where car theft or home robbery is more likely than others. Some drivers are safer than others. A risk group    can be defined as a group that shares roughly the same risks of an adverse event occurring.

Insurance companies often classify people into risk groups, and charge lower premiums to those with lower risks. If people are not separated into risk groups, then those with low-risk must pay for those with high risks. In the simple example of how car insurance works, given earlier, 60 drivers had very low damage of $100 each, 30 drivers had medium-sized accidents that cost $1,000 each, and 10 of the drivers had large accidents that cost $15,000. If all 100 of these drivers pay the same $1,860, then those with low damages are in effect paying for those with high damages.

If it is possible to classify drivers according to risk group, then each group can be charged according to its expected losses. For example, the insurance company might charge the 60 drivers who seem safest of all $100 apiece, which is the average value of the damages they cause. Then the intermediate group could pay $1,000 apiece and the high-cost group $15,000 each. When the level of insurance premiums that someone pays is equal to the amount that an average person in that risk group would collect in insurance payments, the level of insurance is said to be “actuarially fair.”

Classifying people into risk groups can be controversial. For example, if someone had a major automobile accident last year, should that person be classified as a high-risk driver who is likely to have similar accidents in the future, or as a low-risk driver who was just extremely unlucky? The driver is likely to claim to be low-risk, and thus someone who should be in a risk group with those who pay low insurance premiums in the future. The insurance company is likely to believe that, on average, having a major accident is a signal of being a high-risk driver, and thus try to charge this driver higher insurance premiums. The next two sections discuss the two major problems of imperfect information in insurance markets—called moral hazard and adverse selection. Both problems arise from attempts to categorize those purchasing insurance into risk groups.

Questions & Answers

what is demand
Yavara Reply
Explain economic growth with the use of ppf?
Michael Reply
what z the meaning of ppf
rivan
do u mean ppc
Nzenwata
Yes pls ppc
Michael
What are the positive effects on the economy to legalize drugs?
Richard Reply
wat factor give raise to monopoly
Ebenezer Reply
a product which is unique /it has very less substitutes in the market. so this product has no much competition .... for example , railways
mikey
its a monopoly
mikey
does monology has factors or it has merits n demerits
rivan
monopoly or oligopoly is just a type of market in which demand and supply is measured to meet public interests
mikey
economy is all about psychological behaviour of humans to each other and to environment economists role is to keep everything in equilibrium
mikey
please explain what is elasticity of supply
Austine Reply
is the responsiveness of quantity supplied of commodity to changes in its own price
rivan
what is the cause of a country's population
Destiny Reply
please it seems your question is not clear ,is it the cause of increase or decrease population in a country or what
okai
what is producer surplus
Destiny Reply
is the excess earns btn wat a producer was willing to charge for e commodity and wat actually receives after selling it
rivan
OK good
Destiny
yeap
Bright
what is supply curve
Destiny Reply
are curve that do not obey the law of supply eg aren't +ve
rivan
half of 1%
Destiny
as in what do u mean by that
rivan
it simply shows the quantity of goods that a film is willing to supply at each price of a commodity
Destiny
OK what is the law of supply as u said
Destiny
It is the indifference curve that indicates the aggregate responsiveness of supply to the price of a commodity, and sometimes its demand of that same commodity.
Gh
nice
Destiny
pls explain how indifference curve connects to the aggregate responsiveness of supply to the price of a commodity
JOSHUA
law of supply according to me states that wen thea z higher price of commodity, the higher will be the supply and lower the supply will be for a commodity other factors remain constant
rivan
Joshua be clear to your QN plizzz
rivan
pls read Gh's comment and break down for me
JOSHUA
may be he can explain more because am am also not getting what he was meaning in that statement
rivan
plizzz GH explain to us
rivan
When demand and supply intersection
Pronoy
then it z called what
rivan
can I learning what is meaning off economics
Jimcaale
can you tall me what is meaning
Jimcaale
good
abubakar
please oligopoly explan.......
Zahid
in oligopoly there is a competition between companies, becoz all those companies produce almost similar products in monopoly , product has no substitutes in the market for competition, so people have no choice to choose another similar product over this, becoz there is no similar product
mikey
oligopoly : mobile phone manufacturing companies have huge competition over one another
mikey
what is consumers surplus
Destiny Reply
is a difference btn consumers planned expenditure and actual experience on the commodity
rivan
OK good
Destiny
What exactly are factors that affects Demand and Supply?
Chandrapaul Reply
demand factors price o commodity size o population level o advertising season 4 commodity testes and preferences price o other related commodity level o consumers income government policy on taxation
rivan
supply factors general price level natural factor level o taxation technology political climate cost o production number o producers aggregate demand working conditions
rivan
yea___ Demographical psychographical geographical factors also account for determination of demand and supply
Gh
definition of economics
Emmanuel Reply
economics means to manage the limited resources one has in order to maximize satisfaction.
sekou
Economic is a science which study of human behavior as a relationship between and scare means which have alternative uses"
Jacob
phycology of world
mikey
what is price elasticity of supply
Destiny Reply
What is the law of demand and supply
Destiny
This is when there is a greater percentage change in the supply of commodities as per the percentage change in price. More producers tend to supply more when there is a higher change in the price of commodities and vice versa when price drops.
Gh
this seems to explain making decisions on the margins very clearly
JOSHUA Reply
what are the importance of studying Economics ?
Amoako Reply
Economization
Zeleman
to relate economic principles to the problems o development. exposes students to e future. acquire knowledge. etc ....
rivan
it teaches how to make choice and decisions in our homes and every across the nation
Destiny
what is price elasticity of supply
Destiny
five definition of economic s
Emmanuel
economics help to look at the behavior of financial market
okai
our choices work along side with with... limited resources
Nzenwata
economic help d government in d allocation of resources
Nzenwata
am lost abt that last statement
rivan
It helps us to understand how the economy works.
okai
factors of monopoly
Ebenezer
economics helps in the allocation of scarce resources
jasmine
equitable distribution of wealth
Nzenwata
what is monopoly
Baku Reply
is a structure where one seller of a commodity has no close substitute with very many buyers
rivan
tanx
Baku
a market structure where a particular good has no close substitutes
Koushik
examples railways
Shashank
is one man business where there is no competetor/competetion and vice versa
Destiny

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Source:  OpenStax, Principles of economics. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11613/1.11
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