II. Theories of the Crisis

Three theories are popularly advanced to explain the insurance crisis. The first holds that the crisis is a contrived one, brought about by collusion among insurers looking for legislation to help them boost profits. The second theory suggests that the crisis is temporary, the result of what is known as the "underwriting cycle". The third argues that America is suffering from a massive surge in tort litigation. This newfound determination of Americans to take every claim to court is supported, so this third argument goes, by "liberal" juries all too eager to make large damage awards against impersonal manufacturers and their insurance policies, in order to assist the visibly injured plaintiff seated before them.

This section will briefly examine the legitimacy of each of these theories, and suggest a fourth possibility that has been little discussed in the popular media or the political arena – that the products liability insurance crisis is the natural result of an effort by a large segment of the legal community, including much of the judiciary, to change the underlying purpose of the tort system.