Risk and insurance

FIE461 Risk and insurance

Autumn 2020

  • Topics

    In this course, we introduce students to the concept and industry of insurance. The course will consist of three main parts. The first part will describe insurance, its different forms and parties involved (consumers, firms, insurers, and policymakers). The second part will focus on the demand side. This part will address risk management in insurance decisions as represented in rational models and contrast ideal and real worlds of insurance. We discuss puzzles in insurance and consider several biases and concepts from behavioral economics to increase our understanding of consumer behavior. The last part will focus on the supply side. This part will provide an overview of insurance companies’ risk management in order to create value as financial institutions. We focus on today’s challenges in rapidly changing insurance markets. Throughout the course we will talk about real-world examples, cases from businesses and policy implications.

    A non-exhaustive list of topics includes:

    • Expected utility models of insurance and prevention
    • Anomalies on the demand side (insured) and the supply side (insurer)
    • Methods and instruments that help to deal with insurance-related anomalies
    • Low-probability high consequence (LPHC) events such as natural disasters and climate change.
    • Moral hazard and adverse selection
    • Incomplete information and asymmetric information
    • Valuation, reinsurance, insurance linked securities (ILS)
    • Guest lectures from the insurance sector

  • Learning outcome

    The course should be of interest to students who are interested in pursuing a career in insurance sector, as well as those with an interest in applications of behavioral insights to insurance-related decisions of the insured, the insurer and the policymaker.

    Upon completion of the course the students will


    • obtain a thorough knowledge of essential concepts in insurance economics
    • understand both the demand and the supply side of an insurance problem
    • have knowledge of how and why stylized facts about insurance differ from what rational models predict
    • can apply this knowledge to new challenges in insurance markets such as climate change


    • be able to identify different types of risks borne by each party involved in an insurance problem
    • be able to select the appropriate risk management tools for each party such as self-insurance, self-protection, risk transfer and risk sharing
    • be able to understand the limits of and deal critically with rational models of insurance
    • be able to apply behavioral insights to propose interventions aiming at improving insurance decisions
    • be able to explain what makes insurance firms different than other financial institutions

    General competence:

    • can communicate the knowledge to insurance professionals and explain the insights to a wider audience
    • can apply his/her knowledge and skills to deal with applied real-world insurance problems
    • can identify relevant ethical dilemmas that insurance firms face

  • Teaching

    Regular lectures.

    Please note: Due to the present corona situation, lectures (or parts of them) might be held online.

  • Requirements for course approval

    The students should complete an assignment/problem set before a stated deadline in order to be eligible for final assessment.

    The assignment/problem set has to be answered in English.

  • Assessment

    • Individual term paper (counts 70 % of the final grade)
    • Presentation of the term paper (counts 30 % of the final grade)

    The students should write a proposal for an intervention or insurance scheme. They should present their ideas in the last weeks of lectures (approximately week 44-45) and thereafter hand in the proposal within the allowed time frame (approximately in week 49).

    The term paper has to be written in English. It will be possible to do the presentation of the term paper digitally.

    All elements have to be taken in the same semester.

  • Grading Scale

    A - F

  • Literature

    Selected articles.


ECTS Credits
Teaching language

Autumn. Offered Autumn 2020 (first time).

Course responsible

Assistant Professor Aysil Emirmahmutoglu, Department of Business and Management Science