Research Publications

Public Attitude Monitor 2010, Texting While Driving

Almost one-in-five drivers in the United States (18 percent) reported texting while driving in the last 30 days according to a new survey from the Insurance Research Council (IRC). Younger drivers were much more likely than older drivers to say that they were texting while driving. Forty-one percent of drivers age 25 to 39, compared to only 5 percent of drivers 55 and older, reported texting while driving. Thirty-one percent of drivers age 16 to 24 said they had texted while driving in the last 30 days.

State Beach and Windstorm Plans, October 2010

A new study from the Insurance Research Council (IRC) describes how the role of beach and windstorm plans in some states has changed from serving as a market of last resort, to providing unintentional incentives for economic development in areas vulnerable to severe wind damage. The report explains how state-run plans interact with voluntary homeowners insurance markets and describes how each of the five state beach and windstorm plans (Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas) and two statewide plans (Louisiana and Florida) would weather a hurricane catastrophe. The study reviews each plan’s growth in insured exposure from a theoretical perspective. Individual state case studies analyze each plan's origin, operational framework, and financial structure, along with overall residual market health in each state.

Public Attitude Monitor 2010: First-Party Bad-Faith Legislation

New public opinion survey findings from the Insurance Research Council (IRC) indicate that a majority of Americans believe that adopting new laws allowing people to sue their own auto insurance company for punitive damages, in addition to receiving benefits for their insured claim losses, is not a good idea. Twenty-six percent of those surveyed said that allowing such lawsuits was a poor idea, and 31 percent said it was only a fair idea.

Hospital Cost Shifting and Auto Injury Insurance Claims

According to a new study from the Insurance Research Council, low reimbursements from public health insurance programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, have prompted hospitals to shift costs to automobile insurance companies—raising auto injury claim costs and forcing auto insurers to more closely scrutinize and negotiate hospital bills prior to payment.

Public Attitude Monitor 2009, Insurance Satisfaction and Shopping

An overwhelming majority of consumers with auto and homeowners insurance are satisfied with their insurance companies, according to a new public opinion study by the Insurance Research Council (IRC). Ninety-one percent of respondents with auto insurance said that they were either very satisfied (61 percent) or fairly satisfied (30 percent) with their current auto insurer. Eighty-nine percent of homeowners said that they were either very satisfied (56 percent) or fairly satisfied (33 percent) with their homeowners insurance company.

Public Attitude Monitor 2009, Consumers Response to the Economic Downturn

A new study by the Insurance Research Council (IRC) finds that many Americans have taken steps to reduce personal insurance costs in response to the economic downturn, but that maintaining essential auto and homeowners coverage remains a priority for the vast majority of consumers. Twenty-eight percent of those with auto insurance coverage surveyed for the study reported shopping for lower rates when they normally would not have done so. Among those with auto or homeowners insurance, 15 percent said they had increased their insurance deductibles or reduced the amount of coverage in order to reduce premium costs.

Vehicle Characteristics and Auto Injury Claims

A new study by the Insurance Research Council (IRC) details the steady incorporation of front and side airbag systems in motor vehicles and documents the beneficial impact of this trend on auto injury insurance claim costs. The study examined the type of passenger restraint system found in insured vehicles in a sample of 2007 closed auto injury insurance claims and looked at differences in the extent of injuries and subsequent claim payments. The report found a rapid transition from seat belts only to front and side airbag systems as model years advanced within the sample of vehicles involved in 2007 personal injury protection (PIP) claims. Among vehicles from model year 1990, 80 percent had seat belts but no airbags, and 20 percent had front airbags. Among 1998 model year vehicles, all vehicles were equipped with airbags—89 percent had front airbags only and 11 percent also included side airbags. Among vehicles from model year 2007, 82 percent had front and side airbags.

Uninsured Motorists - 2008 Edition

Approximately one in six drivers across the United States may be driving uninsured by 2010, according to a recent study from Insurance Research Council (IRC). Although the estimated percentage of uninsured motorists decreased nationally, from 14.9 percent in 2003 to 13.8 percent in 2007, the recent economic downturn is expected to trigger a sharp rise in the uninsured motorist rate. The recently released study, Uninsured Motorists, 2008 Edition, estimates the percentage of uninsured drivers countrywide and by state for the period 2005 to 2007. The IRC estimates the uninsured driver population using a ratio of insurance claims made by individuals who were injured by uninsured drivers to claims made by individuals who were injured by insured drivers. The study contains recent statistics by state on uninsured motorists claim frequency, bodily injury liability claim frequency, and the ratio of uninsured motorists to bodily injury claim frequencies.