Insurance companies dont ask about gun ownership, U-M researcher asks why

ANN ARBOR—For every million scuba divers, 164 die during a dive each year. For every million gun owners or those with a gun in the home, a University of Michigan math professor estimates between 240 and 450 gun owners die from gunshot wounds each year. While insurance companies do ask whether their customers scuba dive, they don’t assess the risk of firearms in the home. Researcher Kristen Moore, an actuary who studies firearm ownership, suggests that insurance companies might benefit from studying the risk of gun ownership. What prompted you to study whether insurance companies assess the risk of owning firearms when underwriting insurance policies? Moore: I always felt frustrated and heartbroken when I read the headlines about gun violence. I’m a mom, and my kids are 11 and 9. Sandy Hook happened the year my son was a kindergartner, and that really impacted me. But separate from the emotion, there is an underlying actuarial question. There are about as many firearm deaths as there are auto fatalities each year in this country. If there is a death, injury or an accident, there may be an insurance claim. I started wondering, “Are insurers addressing this?” As far as I can tell, they’re not. What types of risk factors do insurance companies routinely consider? Moore: When you apply for homeowner’s insurance, they will ask whether you have a swimming pool, trampoline or an aggressive breed dog. If you apply for life insurance, the agent is going to ask whether you […]

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