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Breed discrimination by insurance companies is on the rise in the United States. Insurers are refusing to write homeowners’ policies for people who own breeds that the insurance industry considers to be dangerous. Their decisions are based solely on the breed of the animal, not the individual characteristics of the particular dog. Dog bites are certainly a public health concern. However, the insurance industry’s approach to the problem is based on faulty assumptions and improper use of dog-bite statistics. The insurance industry has prejudged entire breeds of dogs as being “too risky,” instead of taking a more reasonable dog-by-dog approach to risk assessment.


This essay was originally published in the Connecticut Insurance Law Journal (Vol. ll, No. l, 2004–2005). The views expressed in this essay are the author’s own.