Global Change, Natural Disasters and Loss-sharing: Issues of Efficiency and Equity
Global change in the form of climate warming, demographic developments, land use and capital movements to vulnerable regions will likely contribute to the already increasing human and economic losses from natural disasters. As countries in both the developing and developed world contemplate increasing losses from natural disasters, and as the victims relate these losses to human culpability, questions of burden-sharing for preventing and absorbing human and financial losses are becoming increasingly topical. This paper provides an overview of two forms of state and market sharing at the local and global levels: collective loss-sharing after a major disaster by the state or the international community and the pre-disaster transfer of risk through insurance or other hedging instruments. With the recent attention given to the role of the private sector for apportioning and preventing disaster losses, we examine the efficiency and equity arguments for both collective loss-sharing and private risk transfer. We give special attention to the potential for governments of poor countries to transfer their natural disaster risks to the insurance and reinsurance markets, and to the international capital markets with newly developing hedging instruments, such as catastrophe bonds. We suggest that, under certain conditions, subsidized risk transfer can be an efficient and equitable way for industrialized countries to assume partial responsibility for the increasing disaster losses in poor countries, in addition to their role in aiding the economies of these countries.
Bibliographic Reference: Article: The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance, Vol. 25, No. 2 (2000) pp. 203-219
Availability: The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance (Journal)
Record Number: 200012035 / Last updated on: 2000-06-14
Original language: en
Available languages: en