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The book examines how the absence of insurance in the past led to some special maritime liability law principles such as 'general average' (i.e., losses or expenses shared by all the parties to a maritime adventure) and the limitation of shipowners' liability. In the absence of insurance, these principles served the function of insurance mostly for shipowners. As commercial marine insurance is now widely available, these principles have lost their justification and may in fact interfere with the most important goal of liability law i.e., deterrence from negligence. The work thus recommends their abolition. It further argues that when insurance is easily available and affordable to the both parties to a liability claim, the main goal of liability law should be deterrence as opposed to compensation. This is exactly the case with the maritime cargo liability claims where both cargo owners and shipowners are invariably insured. As a result, the sole focus of cargo liability law should be and to a great extent, is deterrence. On the other hand in the vessel-source oil pollution liability setting, pollution victims are not usually insured. Therefore oil pollution liability law has to cater both for compensation and deterrence, the two traditional goals of liability law. The final question the work addresses is whether the deterrent effect of liability law is affected by the availability of liability insurance. Contrary to the popular belief the work attempts to prove that the presence of liability insurance is not necessarily a hindrance but can be a complementary force towards the realization of deterrent goal of liability law.
Statistics published by the U. S. Department of Commerce (1980) indicate that in 1977 we spent 8. 1% of our gross national product (GNP) on life, health, property-casualty, and other forms of insurance. An additional 5. 7% was used to pay the Social Security tax, which is another form of insurance premium, for a total of 14. 8% of the GNP. Although insurance had its historical origin in marine insurance, it has now developed into one of the major industries of the American economy and extends into many areas of economic activity. One area where growth has been particularly strong is the medical sector. Health insurance is a major institution in all industrialized countries. It became a government responsibility in 1883 when Bismarck intro- duced a compulsory program of health insurance for industrial workers in Germany. Programs for workers in various industrial and income categories soon followed in other European countries-Austria (1888), Hungary (1891), Norway (1909), Servia (1910), Great Britain (1911), and Russia and Romania (1912) (Rubinow, 1913:250). Programs in these countries were extended in subsequent years, and other countries in Europe followed with their own programs. Consequently, today most industrial countries have universal or near-universal health insurance coverage. In the United States the issue of national health insurance has been seriously debated since just prior to World War I, and polling data since the 1930s show that a substantial majority of the public has been supportive of such a program (Erskine, 1975).
Are extreme weather events becoming more common? How do extreme weather events impact society? These are critical questions that must be examined as we confront the possibility that the world will experience a change in climate over the next century. Much of the research in climatology over the past decade has focused on potential changes in long- term averages of temperature, precipitation and other factors. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that changes in average values will be accompanied by changes in extreme events. Furthermore, extreme weather events will impact society to a greater extent as people around the world continue to locate in more hazard-prone areas such as coastal zones. This book represents a major step forwards in developing a comprehensive set of information about changes in extreme events by providing a review of the problems in data availability, quality and analysis that make deriving a clear picture of world-wide changes in extreme events so difficult. Audience: The book is intended for policy-makers, professionals, graduate students and others interested in learning how extreme weather events have changed, and how they impact society both now and in the future.