RICHMOND, VA--(Marketwired - Apr 25, 2014) - Insurance in the United States is big business: Insurance premiums (not counting health insurance) totaled $1.1 trillion in 2012. To protect themselves against large claims, many insurance companies have long bought insurance from other insurers to share their risks. In a new wrinkle, some life insurers have started setting up "captive" insurance companies to, in effect, buy insurance from themselves -- a practice that critics say makes these companies look healthier than they really are. The cover story in the latest issue of Econ Focus looks at these and other questions about the business of insurance.
Also in this issue:
- Why was Canada exempt from the financial crisis? As most of the financial world was engulfed by crisis in 2007 and 2008, Canada was a pillar of stability. In fact, Canada has tended to avoid financial crises altogether. Economists say its resilience comes from decisions made centuries ago that set the course for how its financial system evolved -- without crises and bailouts.
- Credit scores and the revolution in consumer debt. Since computerized credit scoring became widespread in the late 1980s and early 1990s, it has broadened the supply of consumer credit -- and may have helped to drive up the rate of personal bankruptcies.
- Interview with economist Mark Gertler of New York University on the roots of the financial crisis, collaborating with former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, and building up an economics department.
Econ Focus is the economics magazine of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. It covers economic issues affecting the Fifth Federal Reserve District (the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and most of West Virginia) and the nation.
For a free subscription to Econ Focus or for copies of the magazine, contact the Bank's Research Publications division at (800) 322-0565 or subscribe online. The articles are available online at http://www.richmondfed.org/publications/research/index.cfm.