"At War with the Weather"

At War with the Weather (MIT Press, paperback 2011)  is a groundbreaking examination of how we think about catastrophes, (mis)manage risks, and how financial recovery from natural disasters in the United States
must radically change.

Winner of the 2011 Kulp-Wright Book Award presented by the American Risk and Insurance Association for the most influential text published on the economics of risk management and insurance.

More information at: www.atwarwiththeweather.com.

View video for "At War with the Weather." 


The National Flood Insurance Program: The Way Forward

This event will address the important role that the National Flood Insurance Reform Act can play in establishing a financially sound system for disaster insurance, and propose concrete ways to overcome the challenges to its implementation. The debate about the future of the NFIP has intensified in Congress in recent weeks. After sharing their recent research findings, the speakers will open the floor to discuss what steps can be taken to reduce harm, deal with the affordability issue and increase resiliency. They will also focus on the economic impacts triggered by these catastrophes and who should pay for mitigating losses.

Date: March 7, 2014
Location: Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2103

To download a copy of the Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative issue brief, “Implementing the National Flood Insurance Reform Act in a New Era of Catastrophes,” click HERE.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs met in open session on September 25, 2013, to conduct a hearing on “Reauthorizing TRIA: The State of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Market.” The Wharton Risk Center’s Erwann Michel-Kerjan was one of the three witnesses to testify, noting that reauthorization for modifying TRIA could be accomplished without disrupting the market, and that allowing TRIA to expire would increase taxpayers’ financial exposure in the event of a terrorist attack.

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania Announces Multi-Year Cooperation with Zurich Insurance Group for Flood Resilience Research

Philadelphia, PA, July 23, 2013—The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is pleased to announce a multi-year academic cooperation between the School’s Risk Management and Decision Processes Center and Zurich Insurance Group (Zurich) to develop key initiatives and research focused on flood resilience. Funding for this initiative will be provided by the Z Zurich Foundation.










Addressing Affordability in the National Flood Insurance Program
The President signed the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act with overwhelming bipartisan support from Congress. This bill included provisions for risk-based pricing for flood insurance to improve the NFIP’s financial basis. Some legislators are now wavering on their commitment to risk-based pricing because of concerns their constituents will not be able to afford flood insurance. We propose a means-tested voucher program coupled with a loan program for investments in loss reduction measures, made affordable by reductions in the NFIP risk-based premiums.


How long do homeowners keep their flood insurance coverage?  
The average tenure of flood insurance in the U.S. is between 2 and 4 years. 



TRIA at Ten Years: The Future of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program, House Committee on Financial Services, September 11, 2012. Erwann Michel-Kerjan testified about options to encourage private sector participation in terrorism risk insurance.

The Wharton School announces $1.25 million gift from the Travelers Companies, Inc. to establish the Travelers/Wharton Partnership for Risk Management and Leadership Fund. More »


"Helping Small Businesses Weather Economic Challenges and Natural Disasters." U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. March 14, 2013





Howard Kunreuther and Jim Cantore. World Economic Forum, Davos. January 2013 

G20: Disaster Risk Management as Key Priority. September 21, 2012.  Keynote (PDF)Video.


Global Risks 2012 - Erwann Michel-Kerjan

Relevance to the private and public sectors


Global Risks 2012 - Howard Kunreuther
Globalization and the results of interconnectedness



Introduction Directors Featured Articles Newsletter

Postdoctoral Research Position in Risk Management, Decision Making and Insurance, Academic Year 2014-2015

The Center for Risk Management and Decision Processes at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is seeking applicants for one postdoctoral fellowship position in decision making, risk management and/or insurance as applied to flood risk and resilience.

Post-Doctoral Position 2014 -- Announcement  


For nearly three decades, the Risk Management and Decision Processes Center at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania has been at the forefront of basic and applied research to promote effective corporate and public policies for low-probability events with potentially catastrophic consequences. The Wharton Risk Center has focused on natural and technological hazards through the integration of risk assessment and risk perception with risk management strategies. After the attacks of September 11, 2001, research activities were extended to include national security issues (e.g., terrorism risk insurance, protection of critical infrastructure).

Building on the disciplines of economics, finance, insurance, marketing, psychology and decision sciences, the Center's research program is oriented around descriptive and prescriptive analyses. Descriptive research focuses on how individuals and organizations interact and make decisions regarding the management of risk under existing institutional arrangements. Prescriptive analyses propose ways that individuals and organizations, both private and governmental, can make better decisions regarding risk.

The Center supports and undertakes field and experimental studies of risk and uncertainty to better understand the linkage between descriptive and prescriptive approaches under various regulatory and market conditions.

In the past several years, the Center has significantly increased its size to now include 70 faculty, research fellows, students and visiting scholars from all over the world to undertake large-scale initiatives. Providing expertise and a neutral environment for discussion, the Center team is also concerned with training decision makers and promoting a dialogue among industry, government, interest groups and academics through its research and policy publications and through sponsored seminars, roundtables and forums. Our newsletter and issue briefs provide updates of Center activities and publications.

For analysis of financing and management of large-scale catastrophes, contact the Wharton Risk Center's directors: Howard Kunreuther, kunreuther@wharton.upenn.edu; Robert Meyer, meyerr@wharton.upenn.edu; Erwann Michel-Kerjan, erwannmk@wharton.upenn.edu.

Global Risks Report 2014


Taking a 10-year outlook, Global Risks 2014 assesses 31 risks that have the potential to cause significant negative impact across entire countries and industries if they take place. The risks are grouped under five classifications – economic, environmental, geopolitical, societal and technological – and measured in terms of their likelihood and potential impact. 

This year, the report includes a special section on “Strategies for Managing Global Risks” based on findings from a Wharton research project that interviewed over 100 high-level executives in S&P 500 companies to examine ways in which firms approach risk, and suggests strategies for firms and governments to build resilience to shocks from systemic global risks that, through interdependencies, may impact them in unexpected ways.  

The Global Risks report is an initiative of the World Economic Forum. The Wharton Risk Center has been the Forum's academic partner since 2005.  





Insurance and Behavioral Economics: Improving Decisions in the Most Misunderstood Industry


by Howard Kunreuther, Mark V. Pauly and Stacy McMorrow
Cambridge University Press, 2013

Book flyer

Podcast, Knowledge@Wharton, December 2013


Excerpt: "Addressing the Disconnect -- Factors that motivate consumers, carriers and regulators in their decisions about insurance." Best's Review January 2013



Video (3 minutes) Howard Kunreuther and Mark Pauly discuss their book "Insurance and Behavioral Economics" and ways to make insurance concepts more meaningful. A.M. Best, January 17, 2013.





Risk Regulation Seminars:  
The Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center, in conjunction with the Penn Program on Regulation, and Program on Law, the Environment and the Economy, with support from the Office of the Provost, hosts an interdisciplinary seminar series on risk regulation. Additional information is available on the seminar website.


Spring 2014 Risk Regulation Seminar Series

Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Does Regulation Kill Jobs?
4:30-6:00 pm | G50 Huntsman Hall, Wharton School
Richard L. Revesz, Dean Emeritus and Lawrence Kind Professor of Law, New York University
Sarah L. Stafford, Professor of Economics, Public Policy and Law, College of William & Mary
Cary Coglianese, Director, Penn Program on Regulation; Edward B. Shils Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania
Adam Finkel, Executive Director, Penn Program on Regulation, University of Pennsylvania

Tuesday, March 4, 2014
A Conversation with the OIRA Administrator
4:30-6:00 pm | Penn Law
Hon. Howard Shelanski, Administrator, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs

Tuesday, March 25, 2014
How Well is Obamacare Working?: A Panel Discussion
4:30-6:00 pm | G50 Huntsman Hall, Wharton School
Tom Baker, Measey Professor of Law and Health Sciences, Penn Law
Mark Duggan, Rowan Family Foundation Professor, Wharton School
Mark V. Pauly, Bendheim Professor, Wharton School


The Affordable Care Act has been fraught with controversy and conflict, but its implementation nevertheless moves forward in an effort to achieve the objectives set by President Obama and the law’s proponents in Congress. This seminar will provide a basis for taking stock of Obamacare at its fourth anniversary. Featuring the latest research on the law’s implementation and impacts produced by three of the nation’s foremost authorities on health care and insurance policy, the seminar will consider how states have responded to health care reform, what impacts Obamacare is having on small businesses and insurers, and how the law and its implementation might be improved.


Fall 2013 Risk Regulation Seminar Series

Monday, October 14, 2013
Risk and Opportunity: Managing Risk for Development (video)
Seminar Explores Risk Management as Instrument for Economic Development (RegBlog.org)  
Norman Loayza, Director, 2014 World Development Report, World Bank
Stéphane Hallegatte, Senior Economist, World Bank
Kyla Wethli, Core Team, 2014 World Development Report, World Bank
Moderator: Erwann Michel-Kerjan, Wharton School

Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Learning from Hurricane Sandy: A Panel Discussion on Reducing Future Disaster Losses (video) 
Seminar Explores New Responses to Flood Risks (RegBlog.org)
Katherine Greig, NYC Mayor's Office
Sean Kevelighan, Zurich NA
Marion McFadden, HUD
Roy Wright, FEMA
Moderator: Howard Kunreuther, Wharton School

Expert panel discussion on steps that are being taken to reduce losses from hurricanes and floods. The National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, which passed three months before Hurricane Sandy, offers an opportunity to address how we can reduce future losses while providing better financial protection to disaster victims. But there are challenges in getting individuals to take these steps prior to a disaster, and affordability issues threaten to delay the implementation of key features of this legislation.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013
The Promise and Limits of Private Power: Promoting Labor Standards in a Global Economy

Richard M. Locke, Howard Swearer Director, Thomas J. Watson Jr. Institute for International Studies; Professor, Department of Political Science, Brown University
Moderator: Cary Coglianese, Penn Law


Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center
500 Jon M. Huntsman Hall
3730 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 898-5688
Fax: (215) 573-2130