Insurance Class Actions in the United States

Insurance Class Actions in the United States

Insurance Class Actions in the United States

Insurance Class Actions in the United States

Synopsis

Class actions, which are civil cases in which parties initiate a lawsuit on behalf of other plaintiffs not specifically named in the complaint, often make headlines and arouse policy debates. However, policymakers and the public know little about most class actions. This book presents the results of surveys of insurers and of state departments of insurance to learn more about class litigation against insurance companies.

Excerpt

Issues surrounding the use of the class action procedural device have received national attention of late, as exemplified by the debate over the passage of the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA) (Public Law 109-2). Class actions often make the headlines, especially when they result in settlements affecting millions of class members and requiring millions of dollars in restitution. But, in fact, little is known about the vast majority of class actions in this country because of a historic lack of both public and private data, often caused by shortcomings in court recordkeeping practices and by litigants’ reluctance to reveal what took place in many cases seeking class certification.

This monograph presents the results of a survey of insurance companies in the United States that sought detailed information about their class action experiences over a 10-year period. With these data, we are able to describe important characteristics of the litigation, including what types of classes are sought, where these cases are being filed, what allegations are made, how these cases are resolved, and how much time it takes to bring them to resolution.

This monograph should be of particular interest to those involved in class action litigation generally and to policymakers seeking to refine the effectiveness of this important procedural device.

The RAND Institute for Civil Justice is an independent research program within the RAND Corporation. The mission of the RAND Institute for Civil Justice (ICJ), a division of the RAND Corporation, is to improve private and public decisionmaking on civil legal issues by supplying policymakers and the public with the results of objective, empirically based, analytic research. The ICJ facilitates change in the civil justice system by analyzing trends and outcomes, identifying and evaluating policy options, and bringing together representatives of different interests to debate alternative solutions to policy problems. The Institute builds on a long tradition of RAND research characterized by an interdisciplinary, empirical approach to public policy issues and rigorous standards of quality, objectivity, and independence.

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