This paper examines the optimal design of insurance and reinsurance policies. We first consider reinsurance for catastrophes: risks which are large for any one insurer but not for the reinsurance market as a whole. Reinsurance for catastrophes is complicated by adverse selection. Optimal reinsurnace in the presence of adverse selection depends critically on the source of information asymmetry. When information on the probability of a loss is private but the magnitude of the loss is public optimal reinsurance employs a deductible-style deductible-style excess-of-loss policy, and when is is private but the proba- bility of a loss is common, optimal reinsurance covers small and large risks, but makes the primary insurer responsible for moderate risks. There is a dramatic divergence between these designs, which suggests that traditional approaches to design may be misguided. We then consider reinsurance for cata- clysms: risks that are so large that a loss can threaten the solvency of re- insurance such as a major earthquake, while others derive from common risks-changes in conditions that affect many individuals-such as the liability revolution or or escalating medical care costs. We argue that cataclysms must be reinsured in either broad securities markets or by the government. Beyond their one- period loss potential, cataclysms pose another risk: risk levels change over time. A simulation model traces the implications of evolving risk levels for long-term patterns of losses and premiums, where the latter reflect learning learning about loss distributions. Premium risk emerges as an important part of risk, which reinsurance and primary insurance markets do not adequately diversify."
Is it possible that the insurance and reinsurance industries cannot handle a major catastrophe? Ten years ago, the notion that the overall cost of a single catastrophic event might exceed $10 billion was unthinkable. With ever increasing property-casualty risks and unabated growth in hazard-prone areas, insurers and reinsurers now envision the possibility of disaster losses of $50 to $100 billion in the United States. Against this backdrop, the capitalization of the insurance and reinsurance industries has become a crucial concern. While it remains unlikely that a single event might entirely bankrupt these industries, a big catastrophe could place firms under severe stress, jeopardizing both policy holders and investors and causing profound ripple effects throughout the U.S. economy. The Financing of Catastrophe Risk assembles an impressive roster of experts from academia and industry to explore the disturbing yet realistic assumption that a large catastrophic event is inevitable. The essays offer tangible means of both reassessing and raising the level of preparedness throughout the insurance and reinsurance industries.
This book shows that amelioration of the current compensation solutions for disaster victims is indeed a possibility. In a heated yet often poorly informed debate, it offers clarity and insights regarding the financial compensation for victims of catastrophes which, in addition to raising academic interest, are certain to help build a framework for future policymakers and lawmakers faced with shaping compensation programmes for catastrophe victims.
America's current system of health insurance, which relies almost exclusively on employer-sponsored coverage, is in danger of collapse, and this problem is not limited to the poor and working class. An increasing number of middle class Americans do not have employer-provided insurance and—due to skyrocketing premiums—cannot afford to purchase coverage for themselves. Reinsuring Health, by economist Katherine Swartz, examines this growing national crisis and outlines a concrete plan to make health insurance accessible and affordable for all Americans. Reinsuring Health documents why the number of uninsured Americans—now 45.5 million people—has grown in the last twenty-five years. Swartz focuses on how labor market changes—such as the decline of domestic manufacturing, decreased unionization, and the growth of non-standard work arrangements—have led U.S. employers to retreat from providing health insurance for their workers. These trends, combined with the increasing costs of medical care, have led to an explosion in health insurance premiums and a decline in coverage, particularly among the middle-class. Since those who seek insurance as individuals are generally most likely to need health care, private insurers charge higher premiums in the individual (non-group) markets than to people who obtain group insurance. This makes individual health insurance less attractive to the young and increasingly unaffordable for middle-class Americans. Similarly, insurers charge higher per person (or per family) premiums to small firms than to large companies, so many small firms do not sponsor coverage for their employees. Reinsuring Health shows how these problems can be overcome if the federal government provides a new reinsurance program which would protect insurance companies that provide small group and individual health insurance against the possibility that their policy-holders will incur very high medical expenses. By assuming some of the risk that people will face extremely costly medical bills, the government will make insurers less hesitant to offer coverage to high-risk individuals, and will help drive down premiums for others. Reinsuring Health demonstrates that this form of government reinsurance has worked in the past, helping to establish smooth running private markets for catastrophe insurance and secondary mortgages. Today, growing numbers of middle class Americans lack health insurance. Protection against the possibility of falling ill or getting hurt and having to pay extraordinary health care bills should not be a luxury available only to the very rich and the very poor. Reinsuring Health proposes a straightforward solution that would bring health insurance back within the reach of the increasing ranks of the uninsured, particularly those who are in the middle class.
Based on the research that has been conducted at Wharton Risk Management Center over the past five years on catastrophic risk. Covers a hot topic in the light of recent terroristic activities and nature catastrophes. Develops risk management strategies for reducing and spreading the losses from future disasters. Provides glossary of definitions and terms used throughout the book.
In the midst of the current ecological crisis, there is often lofty talk of the need for humanity to ‘overcome its divisions’ and work together to tackle the big challenges of our time. But as this new book by Razmig Keucheyan shows, the real picture is very different. Just take the case of the siting of toxic waste landfills in the United States: if you want to know where waste is most likely to be dumped, ask yourself where Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans and other racial minorities live and where the poorest neighbourhoods are. This kind of ‘environmental racism’ is by no means restricted to the United States: it is very much a global phenomenon. Keucheyan show how the capitalist response to the crisis has been marked by a massive expansion in ‘environmental finance’. From ‘carbon markets’ to ‘pollution permits’, ‘climate derivatives’ and ‘catastrophe bonds’, we are seeing a proliferation of nature-related financial products. Instead of tackling the root of the problem, the neoliberal strategy seeks to profit from environmental risks. Moreover, with the rise in natural disasters, resource scarcity, food crises, the destabilization of the poles and oceans and the prospect of tens of millions of ‘climate refugees’, Western powers are increasingly adopting a military response to ecological problems. The Cold War is over: welcome to the ‘green wars’. From New Orleans to the Siachen glacier via the Arctic floes, Keucheyan explores the landmark sites of this new ‘climate geostrategy’. Through a sharp critique of the way capitalism responds to environmental disaster, this innovative book provides a fresh perspective on some of the most critical issues confronting our societies today.
Herders in Mongolia have suffered tremendous losses in recent dzud (winter disasters), with livestock mortality rates of over 50 percent in some locales. This study examines the feasibility of offering insurance to compensate for animal deaths. Such an undertaking is challenging in any country. Mongolia offers even more challenges given the vast territory in which herders tend over 30 million animals. Traditional approaches that insure individual animals are simply not workable. The opportunities for fraud and abuse are significant. Monitoring costs required to mitigate this behavior would be very high. This study focuses on the potential for using the livestock mortality rate at a local level (for example, the sum or rural district) as the basis for indemnifying herders. Applications of index insurance are growing around the world, although no country has so far implemented such insurance for livestock deaths. But few countries have such frequent and high rates of localized animal deaths as does Mongolia, and it is one of the few countries that perform an animal census every year. This concept may therefore be precisely what is needed to start a social livestock insurance program. Just as important, the insurance that is used in Mongolia should not interfere with the exceptional efforts that experienced herders take to save animals during severe weather. Using an individual insurance may, in fact, diminish these efforts. Herders may ask, "Why should I work so hard to save my animals if I will simply be compensated for those that are lost?" Since the index insurance would pay all herders in the same region the same rate, the incentives for management to mitigate livestock losses remain strong. No one would reduce their effort to collect on insurance. Those who increase their efforts during a major event (dzud) would likely be compensated for this effort even though they do not lose livestock. In some cases, they could reasonably expect to receive payments that would compensate for the added effort or the added cost of trying to save their livestock. This paper--a product of the Rural Development and Natural Resources Sector Unit, East Asia and Pacific Region--is part of a larger effort in the region to foster secure and sustainable livelihoods through analytical and operational support for risk management and asset diversification strategies. The work described in this paper is finding operational application under the Mongolia Sustainable Livelihoods Project.
The persistent potential for large scale natural disasters has become a real concern for the Turkish government since the late 1990s, which ultimately led to the establishment of the Turkish Catastrophe Insurance Pool (TCIP). Among the main rationale of the creation of the TCIP were a grave government fiscal exposure to natural disasters and a disproportionately low level of catastrophe insurance penetration for such a disaster-prone country. Since the commencement of this program in 2000, the TCIP has provided coverage to more than 2 million households, being by far the largest insurance program in the country. In four years, the TCIP has managed to become one of the most trusted brand names in the Turkish insurance industry, and one of the largest catastrophe insurance pools in the world. Its success has also brought an international recognition, inspiring more than a dozen of countries world wide. The TCIP experience has also been a watershed for the World Bank as it has led to a rethinking of the roles of ex ante risk management relative to ex post donor support. This book presents the main technical imperatives and challenges in the development and the implementation of the TCIP and shows how a public-private partnership may be the way forward in the financing of natural disasters. If offers valuable advise and guidelines to policymakers involved in the development of catastrophe insurance programs.