Insurance-Good for Victims, Safety and Gun Owners

We have responsible ways to handle things which are dangerous but which are not made illegal because of their actual or assumed benefits to society. We look carefully at ways to contain the dangers and enjoy the benefits in almost every case. The exception is firearms, but we are just beginning to pull our heads out of the sand and examine this important subject.

First Principle — Mandatory No-Fault Insurance to Cover All Victims

One of the most powerful tools to facilitate a dangerous activity is insurance. Unfortunately, requiring insurance to cover gun violence has been looked at only as a way to penalize gun ownership or at least to transfer costs to gun owners. The result is calls for high limit liability insurance, usually with terms that make actual implementation unlikely. This blog argues that the tort/liability model is one of the least effective ways to increase safety and provide for victims. A No-Fault system similar to worker’s compensation or some motor vehicle insurance is much better. It needs to follow a gun that changes hands in a way to insure that all guns are covered.

Second Principle — Top Down Insurance Does Not Require Gun Registration or Owner Tracking

This blog also is advocating that insurance be required of gun manufacturers or anyone bringing a gun into the system in such a way that the insurer only relinquishes responsibility when another insurer (contracted by a new owner) takes it up. Insurance should remain in effect through any transfer legal or not. This would allow confidence that insurance was always in effect without tracking the gun owners. With a proper No-Fault system the victim would not have to even be told the name of the owner to collect compensation. All transactions by claimants or the government would be with the insurance companies.

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19 thoughts on “Insurance-Good for Victims, Safety and Gun Owners

  1. Thanks for the detailed explanation of principles in gun insurance. It was informative and I’ll keep them in mind. Insurance is truly a big help in times of need, it’s why it’s worthy to invest as early as possible.

  2. Everyone should have their choice whether to carry or not. You should also have the choice to get insurance on your fire arm. Insurance for fire can never be a bad thing.

    Ash

  3. Your website is unclear due to confusing use of terminology. In this post, you used the following mix of phrases: “to cover all victims” and “to cover gun violence” and “to insure that all guns are covered.” This sounds like it was written by a lobbyist rather than someone with experience in the insurance industry. Just some constructive feedback.

    Also, shouldn’t the goal be to punish the criminals who are committing violence? You are missing any solutions that would actually reduce crime.

  4. What a wonderful idea. Let’s price “gun violence” out of existence. Uh, why don’t you mandate that criminals carry insurance? There are about 100 million gunowners but only about 2 million criminals. Why dont you TAX criminals out of existence? Oh, that’s right, you believe in criminal rights in your socialist utopia. What BS.

  5. So, basically, your position is that a right clearly stated in the Bill of Rights is only a right if you can afford some arbitrarily set monthly or annual fee set by the government, a fee that is to cover the costs of crimes committed against you? Wow. Weird.
    Profoundly anti-poor, as well, considering they are the ones most likely to be victims of violence, and thus most likely to desire owning a gun for self-defense.

    • Well put.

      Mandating insurance on any-and-all firearms effectively places a “poll tax” on the exercise of a Constitutionally-protected fundamental civil right. Just as “poll taxes” were designed to make voting onerous and expensive, mandating an arbitrary level of insurance only ensures that people of limited means – who disproportionately are minorities and/or live in high-crime areas and thereby have a higher need for effective self- and home-defense – are “priced out” of the market. They have an enumerated right that they literally can’t afford to exercise.

      What this policy says is that if you can’t afford the insurance required to exercise your rights, then you don’t have those rights – i.e. some humans are more equal than others. Is that really the world we want?

  6. Question regarding your Second Principle: If “No-Fault” insurance is to always be in effect without tracking guns or gun owners, who’s going to be billed for it? And if the premiums increase or decrease based on the number and/or type(s) of gun(s) owned, how will the underwriting company know how much to charge an individual without knowing what gun(s) he/she owns?

    It seems to me, if you intend to bill/invoice gun owners for their insurance premiums, then you will have to know who they are, where they live, and what guns they own, which would “require gun registration [and] owner tracking.” I am very interested in your solution.

    • Yeah, I’m scratching my head over this, too. So, if Able is a law-abiding gun owner with insurance, and Bravo (who doesn’t own any guns) is mugged and shot by Criminal (using a stolen gun, and he is without insurance), who pays, who gets paid for, do Able’s rates go up or down, are the penalties for Criminal for not having insurance significantly worse than felony assault & battery, and how is the situation any different for anyone from current law?

  7. I’m trying to get my head around the word salad in your “first principle.”
    What the heck does “One of the most powerful tools to facilitate a dangerous activity is insurance” mean? It makes no sense to me at all.

  8. Next question: your “top down” model creates some odd incentives. The gun maker is the back-stop insurer, until the insurance is picked up by a new owner – which means there WILL be tracking of ownership to a particular gun, because the maker is incentivized to track legal ownership, in order to discharge liability. But if someone wants to buy from a friend w/o attached official recognition of the sale, in order to avoid possible government confiscation (not a paranoid dystopian fantasy, but a historical reality), then the first buyer is still on the hook for insuring a gun they don’t own.
    Secondly, if they report it stolen or lost, THEN who is on the hook for insurance payments?
    Thirdly, if the gun is sold to a police department or military unit, is the INDIVIDUAL it is assigned to responsible for the insurance, or the department / unit? If it’s not the individual, how exactly does this model encourage individual responsibility?

    • Thanks for some good questions!
      1. The government or the public only knows the what guns are covered by what insurers. After the first insurance is purchased further sales are not reported, but the first insurer doesn’t get off the hook until a new insurer takes over. The database is public but doesn’t know who has the guns. It just knows who is the insurer. Of course, insurers will require something (good credit, a contract, a bond, money put up or what ever the market determines) from owner to guarantee they won’t stay responsible.
      2. If the gun is lost or stolen the insurer stays responsible. They will have to treat such an event as a potential loss and will require insured owners to keep that from being likely. That’s a lot of the point. You could treat it as two levels of insurance one against loss or theft which pay by buying additional insurance to cover the lost gun for damage that it does. The original insurer could require payments from credit worthy customers or require enough up front to cover the risk.
      3. It doesn’t matter who pay for the insurance. If an organization covers guns for its employees, the organization will have the job of making sure that its employees don’t run too much of a risk. Cops who lose guns will probably lose jobs if they do it often enough.

      • Your first point is word-salad for “yes, the guns will be registered, and the government can get the list any time they want.” That database IS valuable, and it WILL get hacked, sold, bought, and abused. guaranteed. It also tells me you have far more trust in government that in the average people, in spite of massive current news showing the government is made of people with their own agendas that are NOT trustworthy. It effectively ends private sales as an anonymous transaction. So it also means you don’t get the concept of “rights” and “limited powers.”

        Your third point tells me you haven’t thought this out. It DOES make a difference who pays. The people paying have a very different incentive in the operation than those that don’t. If you don’t realize that, and that people will change their behavior accordingly, you have no business proposing laws. It’s human nature 101.

  9. All due respect, but your replies are pie in the sky college dorm room type ideas. They are completely unworkable in the real world and they reflect total lack of knowledge of insurance coverage law.

    • Please read the other postings on this blog. Insurance to protect victims has to be done right and it’s complex. It is, however, not outside the norms of insurance coverage in other areas. It can be legal and practical, but it would require a change in the culture to be adopted. Actually I did have a number of good ideas when I was living in a college dorm, but that was 50 years ago. My knowledge of insurance coverage law is not as thorough as the real experts, say Tom Baker, but it’s a lot better than the spokespersons for the industry trade groups.

      • I happen to like my culture fine the way it is. Perhaps you would point out what changes in YOUR culture you are willing to make in order to adapt to the reality that gun ownership is a right?

  10. gun insurance: a recipe for fraud and disaster. rife with moral hazard, adverse selection, and against longstanding legal principles that hold people accountable for murder. NYC no-fault system ranks 5th in terms of fraud and the Brooklyn DA thinks 35% of claims are fraudulent or overstated. People stage accidents to get paid.

    You cannot insure intentional acts. Or more precisely, you can but open yourself to rampant fraud. Want to kill your wife and get paid? no problem. Want to shield your assets when you shoot someone? no problem. There are good reasons life insurance does not cover murder, and homeowners does not cover arson.

    drug dealers either wont buy it at all and continue to shoot rivals over territory and money, or will buy insurance because it protects their assets and gives them access to a great attorney (hey, kill your rival AND get paid for it, that’s a neat scam).

    insurance for concealed carry holders IS available, but it only covers your legal bills if you are acquitted. The legal bills and repercussions (GZ trial cost 500k) are a pretty strong deterrent to a would-be shooter. But sure, lets make it cheaper to shoot someone by socializing the costs. When you reduce the cost of something, you get more of that thing.

    gun insurance is about the dumbest idea I have heard of since… well, I cannot thing of anything dumber than getting insurance for a deliberate act.

    • Anyone who reads this blog knows that insurance that pays for intentional or criminal acts is not only possible but common. It just pays to the victims and not to the wrongdoer. If you want to know how to have insurance that covers illegal guns in the hands of criminals read the “Top Down” postings. This blog is for serious discussion of the possibilities of insurance to protect shooting victims. I don’t expect commenters to agree with me or know everything, but do read first.

  11. I saw the Huffington Post article, and i had to respond to your legal drivel.

    You’re so wrong you don’t even know it. Gun ownership is a fundamental right, acknowledged as such by the Supreme Court. Requiring citizens to purchase an insurance policy prior to exercising a fundamental right has been ruled to be equivalent to a poll tax, and is hence unconstitutional.

    • Author doesn’t care. He probably owns stock in insurers pushing this crap and stock in GeoCorp and CCA for the anticipated profits from incarcerating people for being too poor to defend themselves.

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