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Hurricane Insurance in Florida

  • Thomas von Ungern-Sternberg

This paper studies the evolution of hurricane insurance in Florida over the last decades. Hurricanes (and other natural catastrophes) are typically referred to as "uninsurable" risks. The more exposed property owners find it difficult to obtain insurance cover from the private market and/or can do so only at premiums that substantially exceeds their expected claims costs. The state of Florida has reacted to the incapacity of the private sector to insure hurricane risks at reasonable premium levels with the creation of Citizens (an insurer of last resort) and the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund. Their existence has resulted in substantial premium reductions for the Florida property owners. Both institutions have the possibility of spreading the costs of a major hurricane over a (very) large number of policy holders through after the event compulsory assessments. The risk borne by each individual property owner is thus reasonably small. The benefits for consumers as a group have thus been substantial. Looking forward the challenge to the policy maker will be to fine-tune the operation (premium structure) of these two institutions so as to increase their political acceptance. To this end it will be necessary to limit the implicit subsidy of the "bad risks" through the "good risks".

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File URL: http://www.hec.unil.ch/deep/textes/09.01.pdf
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Paper provided by Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP in its series Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) with number 09.01.

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Length: 17 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:lau:crdeep:09.01
Contact details of provider: Postal: Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP, Internef, CH-1015 Lausanne
Phone: ++41 21 692.33.64
Fax: +41-21-692.33.65
Web page: http://www.hec.unil.ch/deep/publications/cahiers/series
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  1. Mario Jametti & Thomas von Ungern-Sternberg, 2005. "Assessing the Efficiency of an Insurance Provider—A Measurement Error Approach," The Geneva Risk and Insurance Review, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 30(1), pages 15-34, June.
  2. Michael Keen & Paul K. Freeman & Muthukumara Mani, 2003. "Dealing with Increased Risk of Natural Disasters: Challenges and Options," IMF Working Papers 03/197, International Monetary Fund.
  3. Dwight M. Jaffee & Thomas Russell, 1996. "Catastrophe Insurance, Capital Markets and Uninsurable Risks," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 96-12, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  4. von Ungern-Sternberg, Thomas, 2004. "Efficient Monopolies: The Limits of Competition in the European Property Insurance Market," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199268818, March.
  5. Christian Gollier, 2005. "Some Aspects of the Economics of Catastrophe Risk Insurance," CESifo Working Paper Series 1409, CESifo Group Munich.
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