Risk Center research featured in the news and opeds by our scholars.
Preserving Small Business in the Aftermath of the Coronavirus Catastrophe. BRINK. May 4, 2020.
What the Coronavirus Curve Teaches Us About Climate Change. Politico. March 26, 2020.
Can insurance lessen the economic costs of the coronavirus pandemic? The Hill. March 19, 2020.
Time for a new Apollo Project: A Climate Friendly Economy. The Hill. July 27, 2019.
To Make Sure Its Utilities Survive Climate Change, California Needs Liability Law Reform. L.A. Times. February 25, 2019.
Americans Need Better Disaster Relief and Insurance Programs. The Hill. January 11, 2018.
Preparing for extreme events. Enterprise Risk Magazine, Institute of Risk Management. October 2017.
Look to Caribbean Risk Insurance Model for US Hurricane Recovery. The Hill. September 15, 2017.
How to reform flood insurance to keep more Americans afloat. The Hill. July 5, 2017.
Making America More Resilient toward Natural Disasters: A Call for Action. Environment Magazine. July 2013.
Improving Insurance Decisions in the Most Misunderstood Industry. Testimony at the Roundtable for the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Helping Small Businesses Weather Economic Challenges and Natural Disasters. March 14, 2013
Have We Entered an Ever-Growing Cycle on Government Disaster Relief? Testimony at the Roundtable for the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Helping Small Businesses Weather Economic Challenges and Natural Disasters. March 14, 2013
Paying for Future Catastrophes. The New York Times Sunday Review. November 24, 2012.
Who Benefits from Federal Flood Aid? The New York Times. October 1, 2011.
In a networked world, no longer controlling our own destinies. Washington Post. December 29, 2010.
Masters of Disaster. Wharton Magazine. Spring 2010.
Overcoming Myopia — Learning From the BP Oil Spill and Other Catastrophes. The Milken Institute Review, pp 49-57, October 2010.
“What the volcano taught me.”Washington Post. May 10, 2010.
“Not in my term of office” – the challenges of educating leaders to prepare for catastrophes. Washington Post. April 14, 2010.
Overcoming our disaster myopia in Haiti. Washington Post. January 19, 2010.
Flirting With Disaster. Forbes. February 11, 2008.
Who Will Pay for the Next Hurricane? New York Times. August 25, 2007.
Curbing Climate Change: 30 Solutions That Could Make an Impact. September 16, 2019
Expecting the Unexpected: How Companies Can Prepare Now for Calamities. September 10, 2019
Four Policy Changes That Can Rescue U.S. Infrastructure. September 4, 2019
The 737 Max Crash: What’s the Fallout for Boeing? March 19, 2019
Preparing for Disasters in 2019: How Can Risks Be Mitigated? January 10, 2019
California Wildfires: What Will It Take to Prevent the Next Disaster? November 13, 2018
Why Companies Must Manage Environmental, Social and Governance Risks. October 17, 2018
Is an Apology an Effective Marketing Campaign? June 28, 2018
Global Risks in 2018: What Lies Ahead? January 19, 2018
Why Puerto Rico Faces Worse Perils Than Texas and Florida. September 27, 2017
Lessons We Learn from Hurricane Harvey. September 5, 2017
What Ostriches Can Teach Us About Risk. February 7, 2017
How Smart Leadership Revived Chile after an Historic Disaster. April 15, 2015.
Leading the Company When Disaster Strikes. May 20, 2014.
What Are the Top Five Risks the World Faces in 2014? January 17, 2014.
Why Insurance Is the ‘Most Misunderstood Industry’ December 18, 2013.
Insurance: The Most Misunderstood Industry. February 13, 2013.
U.S. Energy Policy after Japan: If Not Nuclear, Then What? March 30, 2011.
Report from Davos: Risk Management Survivors Offer Cautionary Tales. February 2, 2011.
America’s Aging Infrastructure: What to Fix, and Who Will Pay? November 10, 2010.
Katrina, 9/11, Global Recession: Moving Beyond Old Thinking about New Risks. February 18, 2009.
Can’t Run, Can’t Hide: New Rules of Engagement for Crisis Management. September 19, 2007.
A Prescription for Healthier Medical Care Decisions: Begin by Defining ‘Risk’. September 5, 2007.
Spring/Summer 2020. Wharton Magazine. Making a Case for Climate Change Adaptation. Work by the Wharton Risk Center is cited in this article about coping with disasters.
April 14, 2020. The New York Times. Managing Coronavirus Fears. Jane Brody cites research by Howard Kunreuther and co-author Paul Slovic regarding trajectories of COVID-19 and climate change.
April 8, 2020. Bloomberg. Monthly Loss of $431 billion spurs-insurance claims across U.S. Article quotes Benjamin Collier, an assistant professor in the risk, insurance and healthcare management department at Temple University’s Fox School of Business and Wharton Risk Center senior fellow. “[Insurers] wouldn’t offer some of these contracts if they were required to cover pandemics … or would charge substantially different rates.”
April 7, 2020. Knowledge@Wharton. What Can the COVID-19 Curve Teach Us about Climate Change? (podcast). Howard Kunreuther talks with Wharton Business Daily on Sirius XM: “Highlighting exponential growth is only one part of the story. Getting people to recognize the likelihood of these things happening over a period of time, as in climate change, has to be put on the table.”
March 26, 2020. Politico. What the Coronavirus Curve Teaches Us About Climate Change. Op-ed by Howard Kunreuther (Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center) and Paul Slovic (Decision Research, Eugene, Oregon): Most people, including leaders and policymakers, have a hard time imagining exponential growth — two cases of coronavirus tomorrow, four on the third day, hundreds after the seventh day and thousands soon after. It’s also how climate change works. In other words, delay is the enemy.
March 19, 2020. The Hill. Can insurance lessen the economic costs of the coronavirus pandemic? Op-ed by Carolyn Kousky: Managing a pandemic will always impose costs to society. With thoughtful financial planning, however, we can design systems that protect our most vulnerable, while also limiting contagion in the economy and of the disease.
March 18, 2020. The Philadelphia Citizen. What does COVID-19 mean for your finances? Risk Center senior fellow Ben Keys offers his suggestions for refinancing options in light of market changes due to COVID-19.
March 12, 2020. Wharton Magazine. Bias Beware. Katherine Primus, executive director of communications and stewardship for Wharton External Affairs, discusses The Ostrich Paradox: Why We Underprepare for Disasters, the book by Bob Meyer and Howard Kunreuther which describes six systematic biases that reflect flaws in how we perceive risks.
March 2, 2020. Knowledge@Wharton. What Are the Most Effective Ways to Insure and Mitigate Wildfire Risks? Knowledge@Wharton. Op-ed by Howard Kunreuther and Erin St. Peter.
February 27, 2020. Knowledge@Wharton and Leader (New Zealand). Economic impact of the Coronavirus. Article quotes Howard Kunreuther: “I don’t think they would be paying attention [to the coronavirus] if it weren’t in the news every day. The question is, will they undertake an assessment of the risk and ask what kind of risk-management strategies they can follow by examining the potential costs and benefits of undertaking these steps?” Kunreuther is co-author with Wharton professor Michael Useem for their recent book Mastering Catastrophic Risk: How Companies Cope with Disruption.
February 26, 2020. Homeland Security Today. FEMA PrepTalk on ‘Human Biases: Why People Underprepare for Disasters. FEMA and its emergency management partners released Dr. Howard Kunreuther’s “Human Biases: Why People Underprepare for Disasters.” In his PrepTalk, Dr. Kunreuther discusses the processes and biases in decision-making under uncertainty. He also proposes a behavioral risk audit that couples protective decision-making with economic incentives, enabling individual and collective actions to achieve greater resilience.
February 25, 2020. Knowledge@Wharton. Containing the Coronavirus: What’s the Risk to the Global Economy? Article cites Mastering Catastrophic Risk: How Companies Cope with Disruption and quotes Howard Kunreuther: Part of the rationale for these firms considering taking steps now is the high visibility of the coronavirus. The question is, what will they do? Will they undertake an assessment of the risk and ask what kind of risk-management strategies they can follow by examining the potential costs and benefits of undertaking these steps?
February 24, 2020. Marketplace. “Where it can rain, it can flood.” Still, most Americans do not have flood insurance. “There aren’t really good ways for people to finance their recovery instead of flood insurance, there’s really no substitute for it,” said Carolyn Kousky, executive director of the Wharton Risk Center at the University of Pennsylvania. “People tend to be overly optimistic and think they’re not going to be the victims of a disaster.”
February 17, 2020. Financial Times. Climate change: can the insurance industry afford the rising flood risk? Article quotes Carolyn Kousky: “There is almost nowhere in the world with a fully private disaster insurance market. Floods are concentrated and correlated risks . . . you have lots of quiet years and then a really bad year. This requires insurers to hold lots of capital, and therefore charge high premiums.”
January 31, 2020. Climatewire. Disaster insurance for ecosystems? Don’t scoff, scholars say. Article cites research by Carolyn Kousky and Sarah Light: Ecosystems should be insured against natural disasters to guarantee they will be restored and continue to provide environmental benefits. “Natural areas could be insured against possible damage or degradation just like real property.”
January 30, 2020. Forbes. Insurers Struggle To Address Climate Risk. Article quotes Carolyn Kousky.
January 27, 2020. 89.3 WFPL News Louisville. After Deadly Floods, West Virginia Created A Resiliency Office. It’s Barely Functioning. Article quotes Carolyn Kousky.
December 5, 2019. The New York Times. California Bans Insurers From Dropping Policies Made Riskier by Climate Change. Article quotes Carolyn Kousky: “If our insurers are in trouble, that jeopardizes people’s recovery.”
December 3, 2019. Climatewire. Insurers cherry-pick homes, leave flooded ones for feds. Article cites Risk Center research and quotes Carolyn Kousky.
November 14, 2019. Vice. This Is How the Climate Crisis Wipes an American Community Off the Map. Carolyn Kousky: “A lot of the federal resources aren’t available for more localized events. This can be particularly problematic with flooding, where you can see an event that’s really devastating for a small number of households and doesn’t rise to the level of getting a disaster declaration.”
October 20, 2019. The Wall Street Journal. Insurers Aim to Fill in the Disaster Gap. Article quotes Carolyn Kousky in a discussion of parametric insurance products. “A tropical storm with a lot of rain and flooding but not enough wind speed to count as a name hurricane could fail to trigger a payout if the insurer used a gauge like wind speed to determine reimbursements.”
October 16, 2019. The Weather Channel. Why We Underprepare for Disasters. (Video). Howard Kunreuther discusses the decision-making obstacles that cause people to fail to prepare for extreme weather events.
September 30, 2019. NPR. Building a better algorithm to predict flood risk in the age of climate change. (Audio). Interview with Carolyn Kousky: The Federal Emergency Management Agency tracks flooding and dictates who needs flood insurance. But the maps don’t factor in climate change, nor do they include millions of homes that have never been mapped for flood risk.
September 18, 2019. The Weather Underground. (Video). Howard Kunreuther discusses the biases that cause people to underprepare for disasters.
September 16, 2019. Knowledge@Wharton. Curbing Climate Change: 30 Solutions That Could Make an Impact. (audio) 30 Climate Risk Solutions.Wharton’s Steven Kimbrough and Carolyn Kousky and Penn Law’s Cary Coglianese discuss the solutions offered by a new Penn-wide report on climate change.
September 15, 2019. The Daily Beast. The Climate Crisis Is Poised to Make Huge Swaths of America Totally Uninsurable. Article quotes Carolyn Kousky: “Many families do not have savings to repair a severely damaged home and for some, taking on debt can be burdensome or not feasible,” Kousky said. “There is really no substitute for insurance for having the needed funds quickly post-disaster to begin recovery. Unfortunately, often those who need the coverage the most are the least likely to be able to afford it.”
September 10, 2019. Knowledge@Wharton. Expecting the Unexpected: How Companies Can Prepare Now for Calamities. Howard Kunreuther and Michael Useem explain why some firms have developed creative strategies to reduce the risk of disasters.
September 5, 2019. Business Insider. CEOs are suddenly having a change of heart about what their companies should stand for — and the diverging fates of 2 major corporations show why. Mike Useem: Growing evidence and experience suggest that investing for the long term is better for shareholders.
August 23, 2019. KCRW, Press Play with Madeleine Brand. With global warming comes more disasters, and insurance companies are pulling out of risky areas (podcast)
August 20, 2019. The New York Times. As Wildfires Get Worse, Insurers Pull Back From Riskiest Areas
July 27, 2019. The Hill. Time for a new Apollo project: A climate-friendly economy. Op-ed by Carolyn Kousky: Like the Apollo project, we have about a decade. Unlike the Apollo project, failure is not an option.
July 13, 2019. The Washington Post. Even as floods worsen, Midwest towns plan new riverfront development. Article quotes Carolyn Kousky: “Our building codes and zoning need to keep pace and account for growing risk.”
July 3, 2019. Brink News. The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act Expires Next Year. An Expert Explains Why Congress Must Renew It. Interview with Howard Kunreuther in conjunction with his testimony at a hearing of U.S. Senate, Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs on The Reauthorization of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program on June 18, 2019.
June 8, 2019. The New York Times. Even as Floods Worsen With Climate Change, Fewer People Insure Against Disaster. Article quotes Carolyn Kousky and cites the Risk Center’s policy work on flood insurance.
April 26, 2019. Utility Dive. As California utilities falter, legislators, governor back ‘tower of finance’ solution to wildfire costs. Carolyn Kousky contributed to a model for a catastrophic wildfire fund. The model is backed by the Governor’s Strike Force report on wildfire mitigation solutions and is now making its way through the legislature.
April 12, 2019. The New York Times. California Governor Seeks to Protect Utilities From the Cost of Wildfires, Article quotes Carolyn Kousky.
April 5, 2019. Financial Management Magazine. Expanding the risk management landscape. “The big issue that has changed over the last 20 years is the interdependency of risk,” said Professor Howard Kunreuther, James G. Dinan Professor and co-director of the Risk Management and Decision Processes Center at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a contributor to the WEF report. “It’s a global environment, which is why global risk has become such a critical issue.”
April 4, 2019. AP News. California eyes risk pool as it struggles with costly fires. Article quotes Carolyn Kousky: California’s wildfire risk is so great now that even risk pools or catastrophe bonds aren’t attractive to investors.
March 19, 2019. Knowledge@Wharton. The 737 Max Crash: What’s the Fallout for Boeing? (podcast and transcript). Wharton’s Robert Meyer, Indiana University’s Clinton Oster and John Strong from the College of William & Mary discuss the grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max.
February 25, 2019. Los Angeles Times. To make sure its utilities survive climate change, California needs liability law reform. Op-ed by Carolyn Kousky: “As much as global warming is to blame for PG&E’s financial woes, state policy is equally responsible. To preserve the health of its utilities, California will need to reform its strict liability laws and support better wildfire risk management.”
January 17, 2019. Brunswick Review – The Crisis Issue. Interview with Howard Kunreuther and Michael Useem on findings from their book, Mastering Catastrophic Risk: How Companies Are Coping with Disruption.
January 10, 2019. Knowledge@Wharton. Preparing for Disasters in 2019: How Can Risks Be Mitigated? (with audio by SiriusXM Business Radio Powered by The Wharton School.) The year 2018 was marked by extraordinary natural disasters in the United States and around the world. Three experts — Howard Kunreuther, Robert Hartwig, and J. Keith Gilless — discuss how communities can better prepare for disasters in 2019.
December 10, 2018. Bloomberg. Corporate Assets Face Climate Risks, But Nobody Seems to Mind. Katherine Greig is quoted for her review of a recent study on adaptation disclosure. She notes the study sorts corporate adaptation strategies and tactics into descriptive categories but does not put climate risks in the context of other threats that companies face every day, like market fluctuations, technological growth, and cyber risks, or political and regulatory change.
November 29, 2018. Bloomberg. Flood Policy Standoff Tests Democrats’ Promise of Climate Action. “We should communicate risk with a price signal,” said Katherine Greig, a senior fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Risk Center. Greig, co-author of the National Climate Assessment’s chapter on adaptation, said it’s appropriate to worry about the impact of higher flood insurance premiums on the most vulnerable homeowners. She said the best solution is to raise rates over time, coupled with means-tested vouchers to protect people with low incomes.
November 27, 2018. ClimateWire. We’re not responding quickly enough. Interview with Katherine Greig, a senior fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Risk Center and co-author of the National Climate Assessment chapter on adaptation: “Our hand is eventually going to be forced. It’s a situation where, as the saying goes, ‘Necessity is the mother of invention.’”
November 26, 2018. New York Times. Five Big Ways the United States Will Need to Adapt to Climate Change. Article quotes Katherine Greig, senior fellow at the Wharton Risk Center and co-author of the chapter on adaptation in federal government’s new National Climate Assessment.
November 15, 2018. Bloomberg TV. Carolyn Kousky discusses the California wildfires.
November 14, 2018. Bloomberg. Californians Expected to Rebuild Burnt Homes Despite Continued Fire Risk. Article quotes Carolyn Kousky: “Recovery is so much longer and slower than people appreciate at the outset.”
November 13, 2018. Knowledge@Wharton. California Wildfires: What Will It Take to Prevent the Next Disaster? (podcast). “We need to figure out ways where the State of California, insurers, utilities and residents can take steps to reduce these losses in the future,” said Howard Kunreuther, Wharton professor of operations, information and decisions, and co-director of the school’s Risk Management and Decision Processes Center.
October 16, 2018. The Washington Post. Hurricane-proofing Florida homes is worth the cost, and then some. Article cites research by Jeffrey Czajkowski and colleagues: homes built in coastal areas of Florida, after the implementation of the code, suffer 64 percent less damage than homes built before.
October 11, 2018. CityLab. How America Fails at Communicating Flood Risks. Carolyn Kousky: We have good data about flood risks. The challenge is getting it to people when they need it, in a way that’s useful.
September 13, 2018. Brink News. The 3 Maps That Explain Residential Flood Insurance Purchases. Carolyn Kousky and Brett Lingle: “In a few counties around the country, the majority of residential flood insurance is purchased by homeowners outside the highest-risk areas.”
September 12, 2018. The Washington Post. Why do people stay put during hurricanes? Here’s what psychology says. Op-ed by Robert Meyer: “Recent years have seen tremendous advances in our ability to predict natural disasters that may become increasingly common as the climate changes. But these advances have done little to reduce the damaging cost of these events. The key to better preparedness is to design preparedness measures that anticipate them.”
September 2, 2018. Quartz. The life-changing class teaching Texas kids resilience after Hurricane Harvey. Article quotes Carolyn Kousky’s study published in The Future of Children, a biannual journal published by Princeton University and the Brookings Institution, “children can suffer psychological harm from the damage to their homes and possessions; from migration; from the grief of losing loved ones; from seeing parents or caregivers undergo stress; from neglect and abuse; and from breakdowns in social networks, neighborhoods, and local economies.”
August 31, 2018. NPR. Industry Looks For Hurricane Lessons As Climate Changes. Howard Kunreuther: “There’s a tendency for all of us — not just firms, but individuals — to be myopic,” he says, “to want to get something back in the short term to justify an investment. It often takes a disaster to get people to pay attention.”
August 24, 2018. Bloomberg TV. What’d You Miss? (video, starts at minute 53). Carolyn Kousky discusses the role of electric utilities in California’s wildfires.
August 20, 2018. RANE Network (Risk Assistance Network + Exchange). Mastering Catastrophic Risk: How Companies Are Coping with Disruption (podcast). Leading authorities on risk management, strategy, and company leadership, Howard Kunreuther and Michael Useem, provide real-world practical insights into how large companies are responding to this new reality and develops a framework for smarter thinking about events that can damage a business.
August 15, 2018. The San Diego Union-Tribune. Study says California utilities should only pay for wildfires if they are negligent. Article cites the Risk Center’s 12-page report analyzing the costs of deadly wildfires in California, and quotes Carolyn Kousky: “Even if you reform inverse condemnation, utilities cannot pass those costs onto ratepayers unless they get a finding that they’ve acted prudently by the [California Public Utilities Commission].”
August 15, 2018. Burlington County Times. Delaware Valley seeing one of the wettest years in a century. Interview with Carolyn Kousky on the National Flood Insurance Program. Under current rules, nobody except the owner of a property can obtain information on how many times a property has flooded. “Markets can’t operate efficiently if people don’t have that information.”
August 2, 2018. WBUR News. Entrench Or Retreat? That Is the Question On Plum Island. Article quotes Carolyn Kousky: “We’re not thinking strategically in advance of disasters about what the most cost-effective measures are, which communities deserve federal assistance and which don’t.”
July 31, 2018. U.S. News and World Report. How to Fix the National Flood Insurance Program. Interview with Howard Kunreuther: This is a new era of catastrophe. Some of it has to do with climate change, some of it has to do with people moving into hazard prone areas and thinking they are safe. Flood insurance with artificially low premiums can perversely incentivize people to both live in flood-prone areas and underestimate their risk as well as encouraging property owners in high-risk areas to keep rebuilding after flood damage.
July 13, 2018. Knowledge@Wharton. ‘It Won’t Happen to Me’: Why People Don’t Prepare for Disasters. Robert Meyer explains how human brains are wired to forget the trauma that occurs during and after a storm. (Audio)
July 11, 2018. Brink News. Building for Disaster: Stronger Codes for Stronger Cities. Research by Jeffrey Czajkowski and colleagues: “Comparing the increased construction cost to the expected reduction in windstorm damage across the life of the home shows anywhere from $2 to $8 in expected damage reduction—the benefit—for every dollar of increased cost.”
July 9, 2018. Knowledge@Wharton. Is an apology an effective marketing campaign? Wharton professor Robert Meyer notes the ubiquity of apology pleas that corporations are broadcasting for public forgiveness.
June 27, 2018. Penn Today. Facing ‘a new era of catastrophes,’ book by Wharton profs offers tips for business leaders. Wharton’s Howard Kunreuther and Michael Useem’s recent book “Mastering Catastrophic Risk: How Companies are Coping with Disruption” dives into the ways top companies have rebounded after their own worst-case scenarios.
June 18, 2018. Bloomberg. Climate Change May Already Be Hitting the Housing Market. Article quotes Carolyn Kousky: “Some of the riskiest areas have such high amenities.”
June 15, 2018. Knowledge@Wharton. Betting on Disaster: Why Risk Management Is a Leadership Issue. Howard Kunreuther and Michael Useem discuss their new book, “Mastering Catastrophic Risk: How Companies Are Coping with Disruption.”
June 11, 2018. “AM Ocala Live!” (radio, 25 minutes). Howard Kunreuther and Michael Useem discuss their new book, “Mastering Catastrophic Risk: How Companies Are Coping with Disruption.”
May 25, 2018.Wall Street Journal. After Harvey, Texas Town Looks to Fortify in State With No Mandatory Building Code. Article quotes Jeffrey Czajkowski.
April 17, 2018. American Banker. Small businesses hit by disaster often struggle with credit, too. Article discusses findings from Risk Center research with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. (PDF)
March 29, 2018. WHYY- The Pulse. The Ostrich Paradox: Why We Underprepare for Disasters. Interview (podcast) (3 min.) with Bob Meyer and Howard Kunreuther.
February 7, 2018. New Books Network. The Ostrich Paradox: Why We Underprepare for Disasters (podcast, 55 min. with Robert Meyer and Howard Kunreuther). Leveraging examples of high-impact events, The Ostrich Paradox summarizes how preparedness efforts are affected by issues with human memory, risk probability comprehension, and information overload. Finally, the authors provide a tool for assessing and mitigating these biases through a behavioral risk audit.
January 19, 2018. Knowledge@Wharton. Global Risks in 2018: What Lies Ahead? (podcast and article). Howard Kunreuther and Jeffrey Czajkowski discuss the key takeaways from the 2018 Global Risks Report.
January 11, 2018. The Hill. Americans need better disaster relief and insurance programs. Op-ed by Carolyn Kousky: More than 90 percent of all federal dollars for flood risk reduction are tied to presidential disaster declarations. Making better use of these dollars requires advanced planning.
December 8, 2017, Penn Law. What Congress’ repeal efforts reveal about federal regulatory reform (audio). Professor Cary Coglianese and Gabriel Scheffler highlight findings from their recent study, “What Congress’s Repeal Efforts Can Teach Us About Regulatory Reform.”
December 5, 2017, Knowledge@Wharton. Why Corporate Participation Is Critical for Disaster Relief. This year alone, economic losses from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria could hit $200 billion. The challenge: Finding ways closely coordinate public and private rescue efforts to put as many resources as possible toward rescue and recovery efforts, Wharton management professors Michael Useem and Tyler Wry, and Luis Ballesteros of The George Washington University (podcast).
October 16, 2017, The Regulatory Review. “Building for Disaster.” Article highlights research on building codes by Jeffrey Czajkowski, Kevin Simmons and James Done.
October 10, 2017, The Wall Street Journal. Small Businesses Say Federal-Disaster Aid Needs Strengthening. Article cites research from the Wharton Risk Center: After superstorm Sandy hit the northeast in 2012, 8% of firms affected by the storm borrowed money from the agency’s disaster-lending program.
October 2017, Enterprise Risk magazine, Institute of Risk Management. Preparing for extreme events. Op-ed by Howard Kunreuther: “A behavioural audit can nudge and encourage individuals to undertake preparedness measures for disasters before they occur.”
September 21, 2017, Penn Current. Why don’t we better prepare for disasters? Howard Kunreuther outlines some of biases that lead people to underinvest in protection against low-probability, high-consequence events. Article cites. “The Ostrich Paradox: Why We Underprepare for Disasters,” by Robert Meyer and Howard Kunreuther.
September 21, 2017, PBS NewsHour. After Harvey and Irma, what’s the future of flood insurance? (Podcast and transcript) John Miller (Risk Center affiliate, Water Resources Engineer and Master of Environmental Studies Policy Candidate at the University of Pennsylvania) was interviewed on repetitive loss properties along the Passaic River by Paul Solman, Economics Reporter for the PBS NewsHour.
September 16, 2017, The Wall Street Journal. Homes Built to Stricter Standards Fared Better in Storm. Cites research involving the Wharton Risk Center that looked at insured-loss data in Florida from 2001 to 2010 and found that the Florida building code reduced windstorm losses by up to 72% and that there were $6 in losses saved for every $1 of additional construction costs.
September 15, 2017, The Hill. Look to Caribbean risk insurance model for US hurricane recovery.” Op-ed by Carolyn Kousky, Director for Policy Research and Engagement at the Wharton Risk Center: “The first few days after a disaster, such as we have recently experienced with Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, are about emergency response: making sure people are safe, reuniting families, securing housing, filling necessities and restoring lifelines. But as days shift to weeks and then months and years, the slow process of rebuilding is undertaken. At every step of the way is the question of financing. Are there dollars available for what needs to be done? Who will pay for it? How will the costs be shared?” Read more
September 15, 2017, Brink News. “Legacy of Harvey and Irma Turns on FEMA’s Post-Disaster Response.” Op-ed by Brett Lingle, Senior Research Coordinator at the Wharton Risk Center: “FEMA spends more on hurricane recovery than on any other type of disaster. Data from OpenFEMA indicates that of the $81.1 billion (nominal dollars) of post-disaster aid the agency has distributed from 2005 to 2016, 70 percent was for hurricane response and recovery. Severe storms and floods accounted for another 25 percent, and all other disasters accounted for just 5 percent.”
September 14, 2017, The Daily Pennsylvanian. After Harvey and Irma, Penn professors explain how cities can better prepare for natural disasters.
September 12, 2017, Penn News. Penn Experts Offer Advice Following Hurricanes Harvey, Irma. Article quotes Howard Kunreuther: “If people hear that there’s a 1-in-100 chance of a flood, they say, ‘I’m not going to worry about it. I’m only going to be in the house for 25 years.’ But over the next 25 years, if you have a 1-in-100 chance of a flood every year, the likelihood of at least one happening to you is 1 in 5. It’s the same probability.”
September 8, 2017, Mother Jones. Here’s Why Florida Is so Much More Vulnerable to a Hurricane Like Irma Right Now. “People generally feel that disasters will not happen to them,” says Howard Kunreuther, the co-director of the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School’s Risk Management and Decision Processes Center.
September 8, 2017, S&P Global. “Lower-income households hurt most by hurricane flooding.” Article quotes Jeffrey Czajkowski, managing director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center: “In previous disasters, Houston has had a lot of flood insurance claims that are outside the 100-year floodplain, and I think that will be the case here as well.”
September 6, 2017, Fortune. “How We Can Protect Irma and Harvey Victims From Getting Screwed.” Op-ed by Carolyn Kousky: “As Texas begins the long process of recovery from Hurricane Harvey, and Florida braces for a possible hit from Hurricane Irma, too few victims will have the financial support of insurance payouts.”
September 5, 2017, The New York Times. “Opinion – How Houston’s Growth Created the Perfect Flood Conditions” Article quotes Howard Kunreuther: “It gives people a feeling of complacency if they are not required to buy insurance.”
September 5, 2017, Knowledge@Wharton. “Lessons We Learn from Hurricane Harvey.” (podcast) Wharton’s Howard Kunreuther, Eric Orts and Robert Meyer discuss the fallout from Hurricane Harvey.
August 31, 2017, Brink News. “Flooding and the Economics of Risk Reduction.” Op-ed by Carolyn Kousky: “Moves by the current administration could greatly complicate the process of protecting communities against escalating future losses.”
August 29, 2017, The New York Times. “Homeowners (and Taxpayers) Face Billions in Losses From Harvey Flooding” Article quotes Carolyn Kousky.
August 29, 2017, Business Insider. “Harvey renews focus on revoked flood risk management standard.” Article quotes Carolyn Kousky.
August 29, 2017, Business Insider. “Struggling NFIP staggers under Harvey.” Article quotes Carolyn Kousky.
August 29, 2017, The Washington Post. “Federal flood insurance program in limbo on Capitol Hill as Harvey’s toll mounts.” Carolyn Kousky of the Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center at the University of Pennsylvania says fundamental tensions between those who want to keep premiums artificially low and those who want a self-sustaining, actuarially sound program are just some of the obstacles to changing it.
August 29, 2017, The Wall Street Journal. https://www.wsj.com/articles/harveys-test-businesses-struggle-with-flawed-insurance-as-floods-multiply-1504022632 “Harvey’s Test: Businesses Struggle With Flawed Insurance as Floods Multiply.” Article quotes Erwann Michel-Kerjan and Ben Collier regarding Risk Center research.
August 28, 2017, Harvard Business Review “How the Insurance Industry Can Push Us to Prepare for Climate Change” In The Ostrich Paradox: Why We Underprepare for Disasters , Robert Meyer and Howard Kunreuther point to several personal traits that expose us to greater risk from natural disasters.
August 25, 2017, Scientific American. “Trump Faces First Big Disaster Test: Hurricane Harvey could be particularly threatening.” Article quotes Robert Meyer: “If you’re just starting to think about it, you’re kind of too late.”
August 18, 2017, Financial Times. “Mental bias leaves us unprepared for disaster.” Review of The Ostrich Paradox: Why We Underprepare for Disasters by Robert Meyer and Howard Kunreuther.
July 5, 2017, The Hill. How to reform flood insurance to keep more Americans afloat. Op-ed by Carolyn Kousky explores increased cost of compliance (ICC) of proposed NFIP reform bills.
June 27, 2017, Business Insurance. House NFIP reform legislation holds promise and pitfalls. Carolyn Kousky, director for policy research and engagement at the Risk Management and Decision Processes Center at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, comments on proposed legislation that would eliminate the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s ability to offer flood insurance coverage after Jan. 1, 2021, for new structures added in flood hazard zones. “The thought was if you have to pay for private market coverage, which in riskier areas is likely to be more than the NFIP, that you might think harder as a community, as a developer, as a buyer about where you’re locating. Whether that would actually happen, I’m not sure. There’s a lot of pressure in a lot of communities to continue to develop in risky areas.”
June 26, 2017, Journalist’s Resource. Building codes pay for themselves in disaster-prone regions. Article highlights research by Kevin Simmons, Jeffrey Czajkowski and James Done.
June 15, 2017, Knowledge@Wharton. “Why Fairness Matters in Reforming Flood and Health Insurance Programs.” By Howard Kunreuther and Mark Pauly. As Congress looks at restructuring two national insurance plans — the American Health Care Act of 2017, and the National Flood Insurance Program — legislators must address the issue of fairness.
June 13, 2017, Kleinman Center for Energy Policy. Climate Change and the Future of Risk (podcast). Howard Kunreuther, Co-Director of the Risk Management and Decision Processes Center at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, discusses the challenge of balancing support for communities at risk for natural disaster with the economic and political challenges to doing so. He also highlights how human psychology can make it hard for people to grasp the likelihood of future disasters, and the role this has played in pushing the national flood insurance program to the brink of insolvency.
May 25, 2017, WIRED. Trump’s Budget Forgets that Science is Insurance for America. Article quotes Robert Meyer.
February 10, 2017, VICE News. How Miami’s real estate market is benefitting from rising sea levels. Interview with Robert Meyer.
News articles and interviews related to the publication of the book, The Ostrich Paradox: Why We Underprepare for Disasters by Robert Meyer and Howard Kunreuther:
June 7, 2016, Psychology Today. Why Disasters Repeat Themselves. Blog post by Robert Meyer and Howard Kunreuther.
May 23, 2017, Wharton Digital Press. Six Reasons We Underprepare for Disasters. By Robert Meyer and Howard Kunreuther.
May 23, 2017, KQED News. This Scientist’s Doomsday Earthquake Scenarios Will Terrify You, and That’s the Point. “The challenge really is we are myopic,” says Howard Kunreuther, author of “The Ostrich Paradox: Why We Underprepare for Disasters.” “We focus on the short run and as a result don’t really think about any kind of long-term decisions[…]about how we prepare.”
Spring 2017, Wharton Magazine. Why You’re Not Prepared For Disasters (And What To Do About It) by Robert Meyer and Howard Kunreuther.
April 6, 2017, Psychology Today. Rising Seas: 4 steps we must take today. Blog post by Robert Meyer and Howard Kunreuther.
March 30, 2017, Risk and Insurance Network Exchange (RANE). An inconvenient contradiction: why we underprepare for disasters. (podcast)
February 20, 2017, WPR, Wisconsin Public Radio. Why We Underprepare for Disasters, and What We Can Do About It (podcast)
February 12, 2017, Salon.com. Why disasters repeat themselves: We ignore the lessons of the past at our own expense. Op-ed by Howard Kunreuther and Robert Meyer, includes excerpts from the book, The Ostrich Paradox.
February 10, 2017, WWNO, New Orleans Public Radio. “Why Aren’t Humans Better Prepared for Natural Disasters?” (radio interview)
February 10, 2017, New Consciousness Review. “Why We Underprepare for Disasters” (radio interview)
February 9, 2017, Psychology Today. “Why We are Underprepared for Disasters” Op-ed by Robert Meyer and Howard Kunreuther.
February 7, 2017, Knowledge@Wharton. “What Ostriches Can Teach Us about Risk” (video)
February 7, 2017, Think Radio Show (North Texas NPR), “Why We Underprepare for Disasters” (podcast)
February 2, 2017, NY Post. “You’re Wildly Unprepared for a Natural Disaster”
February 2, 2017, Marketplace. “What You’re Doing Wrong to Prepare for Natural Disasters”
January 19, 2017, Knowledge@Wharton. Podcast: The Biggest Risks Facing the World in 2017. Howard Kunreuther and Erwann Michel-Kerjan discuss the 2017 Global Risks Report.
January 18, 2017, Scientific American. The Future of Global Risk: A View From Davos. Op-ed by Erwann Michel-Kerjan. “While not a crystal ball, the report has yielded some startling results. Only when one monitors risks and maps interdependencies over time, across categories and geographies, can one see changes coming from afar and creatively plan for upcoming disruptions.”
January 18, 2017, This Morning (Seoul Korea). Podcast: 2017 Global Risks Report. Radio interview with Howard Kunreuther on environmental risks highlighted in the 2017 Global Risks Report.
January 13, 2017, Roundhouse Radio (Vancouver, Canada). Radio interview. Erwann Michel-Kerjan discusses the findings and challenges outlined in the 2017 Global Risks Report.
October 28, 2016, Knowledge@Wharton Radio Show, SiriusXM Channel 111, The Importance of Accurate Flood Maps. (podcast) Howard Kunreuther discusses his research on insurance for catastrophic risk in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. Background reading for the interview is the Penn-Wharton Public Policy Initiative brief at https://publicpolicy.wharton.upenn.edu/issue-brief/v4n7.php.
August 5, 2016, Tampa Bay Times, Remember the flood insurance scare of 2013? It’s creeping back into Tampa Bay and Florida. Article cites research by the Wharton Risk Center showing that Florida has paid in four times more in premiums than it has gotten back in claims payouts from the National Flood Insurance Program.
July 9, 2016, Knowledge@Wharton, Why the Climate Change Debate Has Cooled Off (Podcast and transcript): Howard Kunreuther and Erwann Michel-Kerjan discuss the climate change debate in the presidential election season.
May 13, 2016, Kathmandu Post, Reconstructing Human Capital. Op-ed by Risk Center fellow Ajita Atreya: “It is apparent that people opted out of the building regulations and placed themselves in harm’s way.”
April 22, 2016, Marketwatch, To fight climate change, first find some optimism. Op-ed by Prof. Eric W. Orts: “Thinking about the terrible consequences of climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and other invisible vapors is like thinking about death. Most people prefer not to do it. One common reaction is therefore denial.”
March 25, 2016, The New York Times, Life Insurance Tries to Lighten Up. Howard Kunreuther notes that a barrier to selling any kind of insurance is that people think of it as an investment rather than a protective measure.
March 16, 2016, Independent Agent magazine, Why City Resilience Matters for Businesses Like Yours. At a conference hosted by the American Security Project in conjunction with Lloyd’s, Erwann Michel-Kerjan of the Wharton Risk Management Center noted that asset managers could invest in making cities more resilient.
February 19, 2016, The American Prospect magazine, That Sinking Feeling. Robert Meyer discusses why Miami is experiencing a real estate boom despite rising sea levels.
February 17, 2016, The DP, Lecture on Paris climate change agreement. The Wharton Risk Center and Penn Program on Regulation hosed a talk by Dale Jamieson (NYU) that focused on the practicalities of enforcing the historic but controversial international agreement worldwide.
February 5, 2016, Knowledge@Wharton, How Risk Management Can Adapt to an Era of ‘Truly Remarkable’ Change. The 10 costliest natural disasters in modern history have occurred since 1985, the year when the Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center was launched by co-director Howard Kunreuther, a professor of operations, information and decisions. In late October, the 30th anniversary of the Center offered a timely opportunity to envision the future of risk management at an all-day conference at Wharton. “Thirty years is a long time in the history of any academic endeavor, but in this field the change has been truly remarkable,” noted University of Pennsylvania Provost Vincent Price, who opened the proceedings. “1985 was pre-Hurricane Andrew, pre-9/11 and pre-Fukushima, to name just a few of the more deadly and costly disasters,” Price said. “1985 was before the Internet and the cell phone — and before we understood the existential danger of climate change.”
January 14, 2016, Penn News, The World Economic Forum and Wharton Release the Global Risk Report 2016: A World at Risk. The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2016, undertaken in conjunction with the Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center of the University of Pennsylvania for the past 11 years, reports opinions of 750 experts who assessed 29 global risks for both impact and likelihood over a 10-year time horizon. The report is available at https://riskcenter.wharton.upenn.edu/publications/global-risks/
Winter 2016, Environment, Our Hazardous Environment: A Retrospective. Three leaders in the field of hazards management, Baruch Fischhoff, Paul Slovic, and Howard Kunreuther, provide new perspectives on the topic.