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Personal Insurance.

Personal Insurance

J.J. Launie, George E. Rejda, and Donald R. Oakes (Insurance Insitute of America, 1987).

This book is designed for a specific audience and mission. It serves as the text for the second course in the Insurance Institute of America's (IIA) three course Program in General Insurance. It will be used primarily by insurance company employees in their efforts to learn about the industry's products, and will enable them to comprehend the concerns and jargon of the underwriters. Those who succeed in these courses may continue on to the more rigorous CPCU program or other specialized courses. Stimulating this learning process can be of great value to the companies, and therefore the quality of this and the other textbooks in the program is of considerable importance.

The IIA serves the property and liability segment of the industry, and this orientation is reflected in the book's contents. A total of six chapters are devoted to homeowner and personal auto insurance, while life and health insurance are each covered in a single chapter. The four remaining chapters provide an overview of personal loss exposures, discussion of other personal property and liability coverages, and a summary of government insurance programs.

Given their audience and mission, the authors have striven to keep the text concise. Individual chapter introductions are brief, and the prose is always direct and precise. Chapters are neatly outlined, and frequent use is made of lists conducive to students' test preparation. Each major policy contract is divided into its insuring agreements, coverages, conditions, and exclusions, and common endorsements are also analyzed. This broad task could not have been done better within a 320 page book, and IIA students should be well prepared for their exams.

Complimenting the authors on their ability to package an enormous amount of material into 320 pages is not tantamount to an unqualified endorsement of the text. Despite the price paid in lengthening the book slightly, some additional material should be included to make the subject clearer and more enjoyable. For example, there is almost no consumer-oriented information on pricing. The reader receives the impression that most companies price products using standard ISO methods and that little would be gained by shopping around for a policy. Moreover, the attention to brevity leads to occasional omissions. Terms such as "bailee" and "net amount at risk" are used without any definition. The auto insurance chapter contains the phrase "Other Than Collision Loss" from the new Personal Auto Policy forms, but fails to mention the connection to "Comprehensive" coverage still found in many policy contracts.

Other textbooks use anecdotes at the beginning or ending of chapters to raise controversial, topical material to complement the drier aspects of insurance policy analysis. The readability of this book could be substantially improved by such anecdotes, referring to the difficult issues of state challenges to auto rate classification schemes, the AIDS crisis, and so on. Even on an introductory level, students should be altered to the complex, dynamic problems of the industry, and should not be led to believe that all companies, agents, or policies are alike. One chapter, Automobile Insurance and Society, addresses these needs to an extent, but a slightly longer book with a somewhat more topical approach would be a more stimulating experience for the readers.

In summary, the text fulfills its role adequately, and compacts an abundance of information into a relatively short volume. The book's clarity and readability could be significantly enhanced by brief consideration of the insurance consumer's viewpoint and by discussions of controversial current issues in personal insurance.

Reviewed by Donald H. Fehrs, Ph.D., CPCU, Assistant Professor of Finance, University of Notre Dame
COPYRIGHT 1989 American Risk and Insurance Association, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Fehrs, Donald H.
Publication:Journal of Risk and Insurance
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 1, 1989
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