Most academic and policy commentary represents adverse selection as a severe problem in insurance, which should always be deprecated, avoided or minimised. This book gives a contrary view. It details the exaggeration of adverse selection in insurers' rhetoric and insurance economics, and presents evidence that in many insurance markets, adverse selection is weaker than most commentators suggest. A novel arithmetical argument shows that from a public policy perspective, 'weak' adverse selection can be a good thing. This is because a degree of adverse selection is needed to maximise 'loss coverage', the expected fraction of the population's losses which is compensated by insurance. This book will be valuable for those interested in public policy arguments about insurance and discrimination: academics (in economics, law and social policy), policymakers, actuaries, underwriters, disability activists, geneticists and other medical professionals. 'Guy Thomas challenges the orthodox views held by the insurance industry, actuaries, and economists concerning the problem of adverse selection. He makes his case that a little adverse selection is actually a good thing in a sensible, pragmatic, and compelling manner. His critical insights about the debates on restricting risk classification in insurance should be essential reading for policy makers.' Michael Hoy, University of Guelph, Canada 'Despite dramatic warnings, insurance companies continue to prosper despite bans on gender rating, genetic testing, racial and other discriminations in setting policy terms. This thought-provoking book explains why. The author makes a convincing case for even tighter regulation of allowable risk classifications to enhance the welfare of society of a whole - especially timely now as 1-in-5 proposers for life insurance are not accepted at standard rates.' Shane Whelan, FFA, FSAI, Former Managing Editor of the British Actuarial Journal 'Actuaries traditionally see nothing but danger in adverse selection. Guy Thomas, an actuary himself, sees opportunity. Using the concept of loss coverage, Thomas challenges the conventional wisdom of how economists model insurance markets, much of which, he sets out to show, is more myth than reality. Lucidly written and sure to get the reader thinking afresh.' Angus Macdonald, Heriot Watt University, Scotland 'This is a serious book which challenges some of the conventional thinking of actuaries and economists about adverse selection in insurance, and does so with justification; they would do well to take the
The Adverse Selection Myth
Part I. Introduction: 1. The central ideas of this book; 2. Adverse selection: a history of exaggeration; Part II. Loss Coverage: 3. Introduction to loss coverage; 4. Basic mathematics of loss coverage; 5. Further mathematics of loss coverage; 6. Partial risk classification, separation and inclusivity; Part III. Further Aspects of Risk Classification: 7. A taxonomy of objections to risk classification; 8. Empirical evidence on adverse selection; 9. Myths of insurance rhetoric; 10. Myths of insurance economics; 11. Contexts where adverse selection may be stronger; 12. Risk classification and moral hazard; 13. Risk classification and big data; Part IV. Conclusion: 14. Summary and suggestions; Appendix A. Alternative demand functions; Appendix B. Multiple equilibria: a technical curiosity; References; Index.