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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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Calculation at the Frontier

Calculation at the Frontier

Evaluation in the Absence of Models

(p.92) 4 Calculation at the Frontier
Making a Market for Acts of God

Paula Jarzabkowski

Rebecca Bednarek

Paul Spee

Oxford University Press

While financial markets are typically littered with statistical models, a large swathe of risk in reinsurance is considered un-modelable. Chapter 4 shows how these different types of risk can be evaluated when information is sparse and/or not standardizable, so that the typical calculative practices, such as financial modeling, are less applicable. The chapter explores how underwriters on these different types of risk form epistemic cultures for evaluating risk that exists at the frontier of modeling ability. Using examples from underwriters evaluating Marine risk, Credit & Surety risk, and various types of Asian and Eastern European risk, it shows how membership in these different cultures enables underwriters around the world to generate and share knowledge and techniques for pricing and trading these types of risk in the absence of standardized models.

Keywords:   financial markets, risk transfer, social practice theory, relationality, absence of vendor models, calculation, epistemic culture, evaluation, relationality, global ethnography

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