Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Earning Interest

Many instances can be found where insurance interests appeal to the science community to aid in mutually beneficial ventures. Such invitations may seem particularly tempting as government funding dwindles (or is perceived to dwindle) for certain research fields.

For example, in 1997, the prestigious journal Nature published a commentary written by scientists claiming that "Partnerships between insurance companies and climate scientists are a model for how academic science can provide value to business. These partnerships benefit both businesses and scientists, as well as the wider public. In 2005, Science published an article in which the author stated, “Climate change can have adverse impacts on insurance affordability and availability… Insurers are well positioned to participate in public-private initiatives to monitor loss trends, improve catastrophe modeling, address the causes of climate change, and prepare for and adapt to the impacts. In this instance, Mills directly invites scientists to use their skill to advance personal and political ideology. More recently, prestigious insurance experts of The Wharton School published a paper in Science framing a flood “underinsurance problem” and calling on scientists to aid in “pric[ing] the proposed financial products appropriately." The authors thereby invite scientists to advance a particular perspective of the flood insurance problem and overlooks public values that have given reason to lower insurance rates for Federal flood insurance.

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