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Acts of God and ManRuminations on Risk and Insurance$
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Michael Powers

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231153676

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231153676.001.0001

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The Alpha and the Omega of Risk

The Alpha and the Omega of Risk

The Significance of Mortality

(p.3) 1 The Alpha and the Omega of Risk
Acts of God and Man

Michael R. Powers

Columbia University Press

This chapter argues that the problems of risk, which form the basis for insurance and other financial services industries, all flow from the same source: the specter of mortality. Professional risk managers often construct extensive lists of pure and speculative risks, including every imaginable type of uncertainty to which individuals and firms are exposed. However, despite the great number of individual sources of risk, there are only a very few exposures subject to risk. These fundamental exposures are life, health, and possessions. The life exposure underlies all traditional insurance policies, whether held by individuals or commercial enterprises, because the policies are designed to provide reasonably quick medical attention or restitution of property, presumably before the policyholder's life terminates. The remainder of the chapter discusses the ways to depict the risk of mortality and the possibility of protecting the life exposure from all mortality risks.

Keywords:   insurance risk, mortality risk, risk management, risk exposure, life exposure

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