THE NEW POLITICAL IMPORTANCE OF THE OLD HURRICANE RISK: A CONTEXTUAL APPROACH TO UNDERSTANDING CONTEMPORARY STRUGGLES WITH HURRICANE RISK AND INSURANCE
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The new political importance of the old hurricane risk: a contextual approach to understanding contemporary struggles with hurricane risk and insurance

 

In the United States, policy-makers struggle to resolve conflict between public demands for affordable insurance costs covering hurricanes and market demands for risk-based insurance pricing. Given the socially constructed nature of risk, a risk-based pricing approach prioritizes insurer values and business practices over all societal value goals expressly limiting democratic inclusion in decision-making about risk. As a step towards the more democratically inclusive approach of risk governance, this article uses the state of Florida as a case study to provide a narrative of the social and political context for the evolution of the idea of U.S. hurricane risk. I argue that today’s hurricane risk is a product of long-standing shared efforts to build prosperity. However, it is no longer a simple risk for society to overcome on its way to economic well-being. Contemporary hurricane risk is systemic and serves as a nexus for political battles over American values.

Keywords: Context, risk governance, insurance, hurricane, risk perception, climate change

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