Financial Compensation in Case of Catastrophes: A European Law and Economics Perspective
This paper deals with the way in which various legal instruments provide compensation to victims of catastrophes in Europe. The traditional law and economics of insurance literature with respect to government relief and insurance solutions towards financial compensation is used to analyse various (highly diverging) solutions in several European countries. First the importance of liability (insurance) is discussed in the case a liable injurer can be identified; then the possibilities of first party insurance are examined whereby various regulatory solutions (more particularly the French model of providing mandatory coverage for catastrophes) is critically discussed. The (first party) insurance solution is compared with public intervention whereby a distinction is made between ad hoc government relief on an ex post basis versus structural compensation funds. The various solutions applied and discussed in many European countries are critically analysed with respect to on the one hand their ability to provide adequate compensation at low costs and at the other hand their effects on incentives for prevention and for developing private (insurance) solutions.
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