Thursday, July 03, 2003

And now, a case study of market incentives at work in a truly unregulated marketplace:

Insurance is a funny thing here. There are several Bulgarian insurance companies here, that will take your money (cash only, in advance) and give you some documents with stamps on them. There are few insurance companies that will actually reimburse you for damage or theft to the car they insure.

Thus, Sofia has the Thieves Guild, er, the Bulgarian Mafia, who have set up their own legitimate insurance company; it works like this:

You give them money, they give your car a flashy sticker, which shows that you are protected under their insurance. Your car is rarely stolen, apparently, and they send people to 'investigate' any theft of their protected car. They also get your car back (or a car that looks very similar to your car) with a considerable success rate. I know a couple people who have got their car back (or, a car very much like the car that was officially theirs) after a theft.

A novel concept, that works well for Bulgaria. Less paperwork, I hear, also.

Of course, we really ought to note that there's a precedent of sorts in the property insurance operations of such American entrepreneurs as John Gotti.

via Daniel "Daniel Boone really is my name. Blame my parents." Boone.


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