Haven't seen this new volume by Virginia lawprof Ken Abraham yet, but it looks to be of much interest:
From its beginning late in the nineteenth century, the availability of liability insurance led to the creation of new forms of liability, heavily influenced expansion of the liabilities that already existed, and continually promoted increases in the amount of money that was awarded in tort suits. A "liability-and-insurance spiral" emerged, in which the availability of liability insurance encouraged the imposition of more liability, and, in turn, the imposition of liability encouraged the further spread of insurance.
Liability insurance was not merely a source of funding for ever-greater amounts of tort liability. ...The very idea behind insurance--that spreading losses among large numbers of policyholders is desirable--came to influence the ideology of tort law. To serve the aim of loss spreading, liability had to expand.