Date of this Version
NEBRASKA LAW REVIEW-VOL. 56, NO. 3 (1977), pp. 445-564
Insurance regulation in this country, as with the law generally, is more the accretion of specific responses to immediately perceived problems than the product of ordered efforts to achieve fundamental objectives. Governmental concern with the insurance device has grown slowly, without the guidance of integrated theory, and with few decisive junctures to punctuate the otherwise incremental patterns of development. Occasionally, however, events do occur which offer the prospect that a rationally derived agenda of goals might be coupled with at least a fleeting consensus to produce a significant departure from the course suggested by the regulatory system's existing objectives and existing clientele groups. To some, the civil disturbances which racked Newark and Detroit in the summer of 1967 appeared to present such an opportunity. Many of the riot victims were uninsured or underinsured, and the specter of additional riots of unknowable frequency and dimension threatened to precipitate a mass exodus of property insurers from central city areas. With the possibility that crisis might impose what mature reflection would suggest, a special presidential panel was convened. Its recommendations for "Meeting the Insurance Crisis of our Cities" -- essentially, provision of federal reinsurance of the riot hazard to those insurers who participate in approved state efforts to guarantee adequate property insurance markets in urban centers-soon found substantial embodiment in the Urban Property Insurance Protection and Reinsurance Act of 1968. In the opinion of at least one influential observer, the new law was "the most significant insurance legislation adopted in this century."