Friday, April 08, 2005

"Ban the deed, not the breed."

As some of you might have heard, pit bulls are banned in Ontario, Canada. I am sure some of the states in US have the same law. Yes, pit bulls can be quite vicious and I partially agree with the ban. However I think that it is the owner of a vicious pit bull who should be "banned", i.e. heavily fined in case of an accident. This would not prevent the accidents from happening, but put a heavy liability on the owner in case they do happen, which would discourage people from having pit bulls or encourage them to have "leash all the time" policy with their dogs.

Another incentive for them would be denial of insurance coverage by PC/Life insurance carriers. This article is a clear example of this. Apparently Dobermans are deemed dangeous dogs as well, something that I did not know.

This practice of insurance companies is quite understandable. It is in fact risk they are trying to minimize and one in 10 (a number pulled out of a hat) doberman/pit bull owners are "risky policyholders". This is known as breed profiling and in my view is similar to racism. Next thing you know I will have higher life insurance premiums because I am Russian and all Russians are drunks.

While actuaries are doing their job, pooling the risky people together and trying to minimize the cumulative risk of the "portfolio", sometimes they refuse to "think outside the box". They rely heavily on mortality tables, contingency databases and other "hard" data, that they sometimes oversee the real-life facts. The 70 year old grandmother, who you denied insurance, has had dobermans for her whole life, she also runs the "underground" Doberman Training Facility in her basement for the dobermans of her friends. Her dogs are highly trained and completely peaceful. Shouldn't this be taken into consideration???