Assigned Risk

What is 'Assigned Risk'

A risk that an insurance company is required to provide coverage for by state insurance law. An assigned risk is typically a risk that may be difficult to find coverage for in the general marketplace. Regulators deal with assigned risks by requiring insurers to pool together to provide coverage.

BREAKING DOWN 'Assigned Risk'

In most cases, insurance companies choose who they underwrite insurance policies for. This choice is based on the risk profile of the insured, including the likelihood that a claim that results in a loss will be made. The insurer will price the cost of the policy it underwrites according to the potential severity of any losses. If a potential insured is deemed too risky, the insurer may not underwrite a new policy.

State insurance regulators recognize that insurers only want to underwrite policies that will be profitable, but also recognize that it is in the interest of the government that coverage be extended to groups that need protection but may not be able to obtain it in the general insurance market. To do this the regulator will require insurance companies that provide a particular line of insurance, such as workers’ compensation or automotive insurance, to participate in a state-sponsored plan that provides coverage.

For example, motorists are required to carry insurance with them in order to legally operate an automobile. The insurance is designed to cover claims made against the driver. In most cases, the driver’s record is in good shape, and insurers are likely to provide coverage. Some drivers, however, have poor driving records and may not be able to obtain coverage because they present too much of a risk. Insurance regulators will require insurance companies to pool together and accept the assigned risk, even if the insurers don’t want to provide a commercial policy. This allows the state to protect drivers who are able to purchase commercial policies and who may be involved in an accident with a risky driver.