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Neglecting Disaster: Why Don't People Insure Against Large Losses?

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Author Info

  • Howard Kunreuther

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  • Mark Pauly

    ()

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    Abstract

    This paper provides a theoretical explanation for the common observation that people often fail to purchase insurance against low-probability high-loss events even when it is offered at favorable premiums. We hypothesize that individuals maximize expected utility but face an explicit or implicit cost to discovering the true probability of rare events. This cost constitutes a threshold that may inhibit purchase but may be offset in several ways by suppliers of insurers and state regulators. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1023/B:RISK.0000009433.25126.87
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Risk and Uncertainty.

    Volume (Year): 28 (2004)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 5-21

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:jrisku:v:28:y:2004:i:1:p:5-21

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    Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100299

    Related research

    Keywords: decision-making; search; uncertainty; information; insurance;

    References

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    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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    1. Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Subjective Probability and Expected Utility without Additivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(3), pages 571-87, May.
    2. Kunreuther, Howard & Hogarth, Robin & Meszaros, Jacqueline, 1993. " Insurer Ambiguity and Maarket Failure," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 71-87, August.
    3. John Conlisk, 1996. "Why Bounded Rationality?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(2), pages 669-700, June.
    4. Kunreuther, Howard & Novemsky, Nathan & Kahneman, Daniel, 2001. " Making Low Probabilities Useful," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 103-20, September.
    5. Robin M. Hogarth & Howard Kunreuther, 1992. "Pricing Insurance and Warranties: Ambiguity and Correlated Risks," The Geneva Risk and Insurance Review, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 17(1), pages 35-60, June.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:
    1. Eric LANGLAIS, 2008. "On Insurance Contract Design For Low Probability Events," Journal of Applied Economic Sciences, Spiru Haret University, Faculty of Financial Management and Accounting Craiova, vol. 3(2(4)_Summ).
    2. Thomas Gries & Natasa Bilkic, 2014. "Investment under Threat of Disaster," Working Papers CIE 77, University of Paderborn, CIE Center for International Economics.
    3. Marielle Brunette & Stephane Couture, 2007. "Effects of Public Compensation for Disaster Damages on Private Insurance and Forest Management Decisions," Working Papers - Cahiers du LEF 2007-06, Laboratoire d'Economie Forestiere, AgroParisTech-INRA.
    4. Haitao Yin, 2013. "Insurance Approach for Financing Extreme Climate Event Losses in China: A Status Analysis," EEPSEA Research Report rr2013035, Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia (EEPSEA), revised Mar 2013.
    5. Céline Grislain-Letremy, 2013. "Natural Disters : Exposure and Underinsurance," Working Papers 2013-15, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
    6. Sommarat CHANTARAT & Kirk PANNANGPETCH & Nattapong PUTTANAPONG & Thanasin TANOMPONGHANDH, 2013. "Index-Based Risk Financing and Development of Natural Disaster Insurance Programs in Developing Asian Countries," Working Papers DP-2013-09, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA).
    7. Luechinger, Simon & Raschky, Paul A., 2009. "Valuing flood disasters using the life satisfaction approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(3-4), pages 620-633, April.
    8. Xiaodong Du & Hongli Feng & David A. Hennessy, 2014. "Rationality of Choices in Subsidized Crop Insurance Markets," Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications 14-wp545, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.
    9. Susan K. Laury & Melayne Morgan McInnes & J. Todd Swarthout, 2008. "Insurance Purchase for Low-Probability Losses," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2008-03, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University, revised Oct 2008.
    10. Howard Kunreuther & Mark Pauly, 2006. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: Lessons from Hurricane Katrina," NBER Working Papers 12503, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Botzen, W.J.W. & van den Bergh, J.C.J.M., 2012. "Risk attitudes to low-probability climate change risks: WTP for flood insurance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 151-166.
    12. Paul Raschky & Reimund Schwarze & Manijeh Schwindt & Ferdinand Zahn, 2013. "Uncertainty of Governmental Relief and the Crowding out of Flood Insurance," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 54(2), pages 179-200, February.
    13. Ulrich Schmidt, 2012. "Insurance Demand and Prospect Theory," Kiel Working Papers 1750, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
    14. Andrea Morone & Ozlem Ozdemir, 2006. "Valuing Protection against Low Probability, High Loss Risks: Experimental Evidence," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2006-34, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
    15. Grislain-Letrémy, Céline, 2013. "Natural Disasters: Exposure and Underinsurance," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/13276, Paris Dauphine University.
    16. C. Grislain-Letrémy, 2013. "Natural Disasters: Exposure and Underinsurance," Documents de Travail de la DESE - Working Papers of the DESE g2013-12, Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques, DESE.
    17. Sakib Mahmud & Gazi Mainul Hassan, 2014. "Consequences of Public Programs and Private Transfers on Household Investment in Storm Protection," Working Papers in Economics 14/01, University of Waikato, Department of Economics.
    18. Marielle Brunette & Laure Cabantous & Stéphane Couture & Anne Stenger, 2008. "Insurance Demand for Disaster-type Risks and the Separation of Attitudes toward Risk and Ambiguity: an Experimental Study," Working Papers - Cahiers du LEF 2008-05, Laboratoire d'Economie Forestiere, AgroParisTech-INRA.
    19. Botzen, W.J. Wouter & de Boer, Joop & Terpstra, Teun, 2013. "Framing of risk and preferences for annual and multi-year flood insurance," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 357-375.
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