Tom Baker, a preeminent scholar in insurance law, explores insurance, risk, and responsibility using methods and perspectives drawn from economics, sociology, psychology, and history. He is coauthor with Sean Griffith of Ensuring Corporate Misconduct (Chicago 2010), which examines relationships among liability insurance, corporate governance, and securities litigation. His latest article, “Do You Want Insurance with that? Protecting Consumers from Add-On Insurance Products,” employs behavioral economic analysis to support a more assertive approach to regulating such insurance products as collision damage waivers, extended warranties, and credit life insurance. His current research examines legal malpractice law in action and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
He is the Reporter for the American Law Institute’s Principles of Liability Insurance Project, a member of the Sloan/Sage Working Group on Behavioral Economics and Retail Financial Services, and the co-director of the Health Insurance Exchange Research Group of Penn’s Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics. In August 2013 he received the Robert B. McKay award, a lifetime scholarly achievement award given by the Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section of the American Bar Association.
- liability and insurance
- insurance regulation
- risk management
- health insurance
- financial services regulation
Financial “robo advice”—an automated service that ranks or matches consumers to financial products—has gained significant attention in the investment industry and on the Hill, but there has not yet been a consensus on how to regulate these new services. Robo advisors often are on par with and can exceed the standards of human advisors, but they don’t fit into the category of fiduciary, and therefore won’t be held to the same regulatory standard that human advisors are. Nonetheless, they are subject to systemic risks and the potential for abuses that can hurt consumers. Professors Tom Baker and Benedict Dellaert offer a regulatory trajectory to follow as the technology of robo advisors continues to develop and expand.
The success of the new health insurance exchanges will depend greatly on the quality of the enrollment decisions that consumers make. Choosing the wrong insurance product can translate into billions of dollars in wasteful spending at the national level. Faculty at the University of Pennsylvania have contributed to several studies outlining important ways that the exchanges can be made to work better for consumers—and for the larger economy.