Thirty years ago, a number of insurance companies got together in a room and agreed to create an insurance liability crisis in the United States. They would start raising rates, restricting coverage and canceling policies, largely for the purpose of coaxing state lawmakers into enacting so-called "tort reform." These are laws that make it difficult or impossible for injured Americans to file lawsuits and be properly compensated. Indeed, once this insurance "crisis" spread across America, insurers convinced lawmakers that the only way to bring insurance rates under control was to strip Americans of their legal rights. Evidence of this and other strategy meetings was discovered by over a dozen state attorneys general, who in 1988 filed class actions against these companies for violating antitrust laws.
Those class actions are over, having settled in the mid-1990s. But the days of backroom corporate strategy meetings aimed at limiting the legal rights of Americans, is clearly not. This was one of the startling findings of an extraordinary three-part New York Times series (here, here and here) about the spread of "forced arbitration" clauses and class action bans.