Insurance Fraud in a Rothschild–Stiglitz World

26 Pages Posted: 28 May 2020

See all articles by M. Martin Boyer

M. Martin Boyer

HEC Montreal - Department of Finance

Richard Peter

University of Iowa

Date Written: March 2020


In this article, we model a competitive insurance market where policyholders privately have information about their probability of accident ex ante and know the state of the world ex post. We combine costly state verification without commitment and arguments from insurance contracting under adverse selection to characterize the resulting allocations. Insurance fraud convexifies the insurer's zero expected profit condition, which can lead to complete unraveling with low risks dropping out of the market. The standard case, however, involves rationing of low risks, which raises their probability of fraud and their success rate when committing it. As a result, adverse selection increases fraud in the economy. We also show that cross‐subsidization from low risks to high risks mitigates the fraud externality. Our results highlight that adverse selection and insurance fraud interact in nontrivial ways and have the potential to aggravate each other.

Suggested Citation

Boyer, M. Martin and Peter, Richard, Insurance Fraud in a Rothschild–Stiglitz World (March 2020). Journal of Risk and Insurance, Vol. 87, Issue 1, pp. 117-142, 2020, Available at SSRN: or

M. Martin Boyer (Contact Author)

HEC Montreal - Department of Finance ( email )

3000 Chemin de la Cote-Sainte-Catherine
Montreal, Quebec H3T 2A7

Richard Peter

University of Iowa ( email )

341 Schaeffer Hall
Iowa City, IA 52242-1097
United States

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