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Natural Hazards Insurance in Europe ? Tailored Responses to Climate Change Needed

  • Reimund Schwarze


  • Gert G. Wagner


This paper provides an overview on the existing systems of natural hazards insurance in Europe, their structural characteristics and peculiarities. It also discusses the difficulties of an adaptation of these systems to climate change and a growing number of natural disasters. Using the case of Germany as an example, the paper demonstrates that the obstacles facing system change are numerous, including failure to recognise the role of state guarantees in enabling private insurance markets, mistaken legal objections against mandatory insurance, distributional conflicts between central and state governments and re-election considerations by politicians. The adjustments to new weather conditions should reflect existing differences in the regional and national insurance systems in the EU. 'Change in diversity? is seen to offer the best chance to arrive at insurance systems which are prepared for climate change while being adapted to local particularities. Efforts to harmonise national and regional systems as well as top down EU initiatives are rejected in this paper.

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Paper provided by Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck in its series Working Papers with number 2009-06.

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Length: 26
Date of creation: Feb 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:inn:wpaper:2009-06
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  1. Paul A. Raschky & Manijeh Schwindt & Reimund Schwarze & Hannelore Weck-Hannemann, 2008. "Risikotransfersysteme für Naturkatastrophen in Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz: ein theoretischer und empirischer Vergleich," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 77(4), pages 53-68.
  2. Thomas A. Garrett & Russell S. Sobel, 2003. "The Political Economy of FEMA Disaster Payments," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 41(3), pages 496-509, July.
  3. Schwarze, Reimund & Wagner, Gert G., 2006. "The political economy of natural disaster insurance: Lessons from the failure of a proposed compulsory insurance scheme in Germany," Discussion Papers 2006/10, Technische Universität Berlin, School of Economics and Management.
  4. Paul Raschky & Hannelore Weck-Hannemann, 2007. "Charity hazard - A real hazard to natural disaster insurance," Working Papers 2007-04, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
  5. Thomas Url & Franz Sinabell, 2008. "Flood Risk Exposure in Austria – Options for Bearing Risk Efficiently," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 128(4), pages 593-614.
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