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Making a Market for Acts of GodThe Practice of Risk Trading in the Global Reinsurance Industry$
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Paula Jarzabkowski, Rebecca Bednarek, and Paul Spee

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199664764

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199664764.001.0001

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A Market for Acts of God

(p.1) 1 Reinsurance
Making a Market for Acts of God

Paula Jarzabkowski

Rebecca Bednarek

Paul Spee

Oxford University Press

Chapter 1 explains the structure of, and key players in, the reinsurance market; the insurers (cedents), reinsurers, and brokers. This book focuses on the reinsurers who, despite being competitors, collectively bear the risk of unpredictable disasters, which is transferred to them from insurance companies around the world. The chapter particularly examines the practice of reinsurance underwriters who evaluate, price and trade these risks from their hubs in Lloyd’s of London, Bermuda, Continental Europe, and Singapore. This chapter opens with an evocative account of the devastating Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, 2011, as an example of the unpredictable disasters that reinsurers underwrite. The chapter then explains the basic principles of the way that this market works and how risk is traded. The remainder of the chapter introduces our social practice theory approach and the novel framework of making markets through relationality, nested relationality and relational presence that is developed in this book.

Keywords:   financial markets, market coordination, market connectivity, relationality, social practice theory, Tohoku earthquake, disasters, risk transfer, global ethnography

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