SOCIAL EFFECTS



Insurance can have various effects on society through the way that it changes who bears the cost of losses and damage. On one hand it can increase fraud; on the other it can help societies and individuals prepare for catastrophes and mitigate the effects of catastrophes on both households and societies.

Insurance can influence the probability of losses through moral hazard, insurance fraud, and preventive steps by the insurance company. Insurance scholars have typically used morale hazard to refer to the increased loss due to unintentional carelessness and moral hazard to refer to increased risk due to intentional carelessness or indifference.

Insurers attempt to address carelessness through inspections, policy provisions requiring certain types of maintenance, and possible discounts for loss mitigation efforts. 

While in theory insurers could encourage investment in loss reduction, some commentators have argued that in practice insurers had historically not aggressively pursued loss control measures – particularly to prevent disaster losses such as hurricanes—because of concerns over rate reductions and legal battles. 

However, since about 1996 insurers have begun to take a more active role in loss mitigation, such as through building codes.

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