But after the floods of the summer, we appear to be seeing the insurance paradigm in retreat before the ravages of climate change: the API has suggested that it will not be able to offer cover for large numbers of properties unless the government builds more flood protection. Is this just trying it on à la banking industry ? - or the recognition that some things are just too big, too actuarially iffy for private commerce to be able to step up to the plate.
Similar thought-processes stem from the prospect of advanced genetic screening: what commercial cover will be available for those known to have ultra-high predisposition towards expensive disease ?
The future may thus be characterised by, on the one hand greater certainties in areas previously seen as subject to random events, and on the other, reduced certainties in the face of global upheavals of several kinds. If this is right then a very disquieting shift will take place, towards ever greater roles for government – not, in this scenario, by dint of a socialistic land-grab, but of a capitalistic retreat. This is not a happy prospect.
We have several insurance practitioners amongst our readers: any views ?
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* "If I had my way, I would write the word INSURANCE over the door of every cottage and upon the blotting book of every public man, because I am convinced that for sacrifices which are inconceivably small, families can be secured against catastrophes which otherwise would smash them up forever”.