Firms Fight Risk

To increase efforts to dealt with catastrophic risks, shift responsibility from individuals to firms:

Corporate demand for catastrophe coverage is actually more price inelastic than the demand for non-catastrophe coverage. … A 10% increase in price will reduce quantity of terrorism coverage by only 2.42% whereas it will reduce the quantity of property coverage by 2.91%. This result is in contrast to the findings with respect to individual insurance choices in laboratory experiments and empirical studies on homeowners insurance. …

The majority of homeowners do not purchase catastrophic coverage voluntarily and those cases that do obtain some coverage, exhibit a very elastic demand. … Typically, individuals either ignore those low-probability risks (optimism) or over-estimate them by focusing on possible outcomes without paying much attention to the likelihood of them happening (availability bias). Such bimodal distributions of behavior were also shown experimentally … analyzing actual long-term care insurance decisions by individuals. … Individuals tend to largely neglect risks with a very low probability. However, once a low-probability event takes place, the risk is back in their attention and individuals tend to overinsure against this risk. …

Even when the cost of insurance is subsidized, many people located in high risk areas
still do not purchase coverage. … Even those homeowners who purchased insurance against catastrophe risks (hurricane) exhibited a more price elastic demand for catastrophic risks than for non-catastrophe risks (fire). A related finding is that many individuals are willing to pay significantly more for non-catastrophe insurance than for catastrophe insurance. (more)

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