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The Development of New Catastrophe Risk Markets


  • Howard C. Kunreuther
  • Erwann O. Michel-Kerjan

    () (Center for Risk Management and Decision Processes, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104)


The large-scale disasters that have occurred since 2001 suggest that we have entered a new era of catastrophes. We are more vulnerable to extreme events as a result of the increasing concentration of population and activities in exposed areas of the country. The question is not whether large-scale catastrophe will occur, but when and how frequently they will strike. One key question is, Who will pay for the economic losses future disasters will inflict? This paper discusses how new catastrophe risk markets can be developed to provide the necessary financial coverage to make our country more resilient. We look specifically at insurance-linked financial instruments to complement traditional insurance and reinsurance. We also propose the development of long-term insurance and long-term loans to overcome behavioral biases such as myopia and misperception of risks. The paper concludes by proposing risk management strategies that apply to other extreme events such as the financial crisis of 2008–2009.

Suggested Citation

  • Howard C. Kunreuther & Erwann O. Michel-Kerjan, 2009. "The Development of New Catastrophe Risk Markets," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 119-137, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:anr:reseco:v:1:y:2009:p:119-137

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Austin, David & Dinan, Terry, 2005. "Clearing the air: The costs and consequences of higher CAFE standards and increased gasoline taxes," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 562-582, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Poontirakul, Porntida & Brown, Charlotte & Noy, Ilan & Seville, Erica & Vargo, John, 2016. "The role of commercial insurance in post-disaster recovery: Quantitative evidence from the 2011 Christchurch earthquake," Working Paper Series 4980, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Economics and Finance.

    More about this item


    extreme events; mitigation; alternative risk transfer instruments; long-term insurance;

    JEL classification:

    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G13 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Contingent Pricing; Futures Pricing
    • G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming


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