Howard C. Kunreuther is professor of decision sciences and business and public policy at the Wharton School, and co-director of the Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center.
He has a long-standing interest in ways that society can better manage low-probability, high-consequence events related to technological and natural hazards.
Kunreuther is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a distinguished fellow of the Society for Risk Analysis, receiving the Society’s Distinguished Achievement Award in 2001. He recently served on the National Academy of Science / National Research Council’s panel on Increasing National Resilience to Hazards and Disasters, and on the New York City Panel on Climate Change as part of the Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency report released by the New York City Mayor’s Office in June 2013.
The federal National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) underwrites the overwhelming majority of residential flood insurance policies in the U.S. As of April 2018, more than 5 million NFIP policies were in force nationwide (4.8 million residential), representing slightly more than $1.28 trillion in coverage ($1.17 trillion residential). For decades, the NFIP has been homeowners’ only […]
From product scandals to data breaches to natural disasters, companies are dealing with constant risk. But how they prepare for those risks can make the difference between riding the roughest wave — or drowning in it. The field of risk management, once an afterthought for many companies, is getting renewed attention with a new book […]
What are the biggest risks that individuals, businesses and governments face in the year ahead, and beyond? According to the 2018 Global Risks Report, published by the World Economic Forum, the environment, cyber security and geopolitics are the areas drawing the most concern. The World Economic Forum — which just held its annual meeting in Davos, […]
As Congress looks at restructuring two national insurance plans — the American Health Care Act of 2017 and the National Flood Insurance Program — legislators must address the issue of fairness. That is the view of Wharton professors Howard Kunreuther and Mark Pauly, who co-wrote the book, “Insurance and Behavioral Economics: Improving Decisions in the Most […]
Ostriches are often characterized as hapless birds that bury their heads in the sand whenever danger approaches. In fact, they are highly astute escape artists. They use their great speed to overcome their inability to fly. Much in the same way that ostriches are limited in their defensive actions because they cannot fly, we need […]
When dawn broke on the morning of Sept. 8, 1900, the people of Galveston, Texas, had no inkling of the disaster that was about to befall them. The thickening clouds and rising surf hinted that a storm was on the way, but few were worried. The local Weather Bureau office, for its part, gave no […]
Our study on Charleston County, SC, assesses the cost impacts of flood insurance if premiums were increased to risk‐based prices. We then consider a program that addresses affordability concerns coupled with cost‐effective risk reduction measures. We follow these two principles for flood insurance: Flood insurance premiums should be priced to accurately reflect risk. Premiums reflecting risk inform […]
As we celebrate the Wharton Risk Center’s 30th anniversary, we are at the same time envisioning the future of risk management. In this spirit, I would like to make the case that the insurance industry return to its 19th century roots by requiring those at risk to undertake cost-effective loss-reduction measures as a condition for […]
In December 2005, just three months after Katrina savaged the Gulf Coast, we edited On Risk and Disaster, a book on the key lessons that the storm so painfully taught. The book was very different from most of the post-mortems that focused on the country’s lack of preparedness for the storm’s onslaught. It focused sharply […]
The number of presidential disaster declarations in the U.S. has dramatically increased over the past 50 years. Figure 1 depicts the total number of presidential disaster declarations and those that were triggered by flooding events (inland flood and storm surge from hurricanes). This pattern highlights the need to encourage those at risk to invest in […]