Concepts in Risk and Insurance


Concepts In Risk And Insurance

1.1 Introduction

In your earlier courses, you have discussed some important concepts in business. Business, which refers to all those activities there are connected with production or purchase of goods and services with the object of selling them at profit, has some essential characteristics and one of these is the fact that it involves an element of risk and uncertainty. Because the adverse effects of risk have affected mankind since the beginning of time, individuals groups and societies have developed various methods for managing risk. Since no one knows the future exactly, every one is a risk manager not by choice, but by sheer necessity. The purpose of this course is then to examine how businesses and families might effectively mange a major class of exposures to loss through a process called risk management, which is the identification, measurement, and treatment of exposures to potential accidental losses.


1.2 The Meaning of Risk

Risk is potential variation in outcomes. When risk is present, outcomes cannot be forecasted with certainty. William, Smith and Young

  1. Risk is the variation in out comes that could accrue over a specified period in a given situation. William’s and Heins
  2. Risk is the condition in which there is a possibility of adverse deviant from desired outcome that is expected or hoped for. Vaughen 

Wiliams and Heins did not focus only on the negative side as variation could be both positive and negative. The emphasis is then on both negative and positive feelings of risk. But Vaughen focuses on the negative felling of risk.

However, looking at the definitions, there does seem to emerge some kind of common thread running through each of them.

Firstly, there is the underly­ing idea of uncertainty, what we have referred to as doubt about the future.

Secondly, there is the implication that there are differing levels or de­grees of risk. The use of words such as possibility and unpredictability, do seem to indicate some measure of variability in the effect of this doubt.

Thirdly, there is the idea of a result having been brought about by a cause or causes. This does seem to tie in nicely with the working definition we used earlier of uncertainty about the outcome in a given situation.

The value of having a single definition is question­able because it is likely to be limited in its ability to capture the comprehensive flavor of risk. It is more valuable to dissect the idea of risk and con­sider its component parts.

Dear student, in the forthcoming discussions, we will look at the common concepts in risk management. In doing this, we may be able to move towards a more comprehensive and practi­cal understanding of the meaning and nature of risk than would be the case if we stuck rigidly to one or two definitions.


1.3    Risk and Uncertainty

We have used the word uncertainty several times already. In our first attempt at a working definition of risk, we said that it was uncertainty about the outcome in a given situation. Uncertainty is at the very core of the concept of risk itself, but are we clear what we mean by it when we use the word?

We could take  rather  the  philosophical view and say that uncertainty is, like beauty, in the eye of the beholder. We could go a step further than this and say that there is no real uncertainty in the natural order of things in our world. This point is worth exploring a little further as part of our con­sideration of the nature of risk.

An argument can be put which says that there is no uncertainty, that it does not exist in the natural order of things. You may well respond to this by saying that there are a number of outcomes which are uncertain. For example: a risk of a rain, the possibility of being made redun­dant, the risk of having an accident. There is surely uncertainty surrounding all of these events - or is there?

We may say that there is a risk of rain, a risk of being made redundant or a risk of being in an accident. We use the phrase almost suggesting that the event may or may not happen. The fact is that the event will or will not occur, there is no doubt about that. What we are really expressing is the fact that we have some doubt as to whether the event will occur or not. We have imperfect infor­mation about the future, and this imperfection in our knowledge is what leads to the doubt and hence to the uncertainty which we express.

This rather places the idea of uncertainty, and con­sequently risk, with the individual and supports the view that uncertainty is in the eye of the be­holder.

Consider a child playing in the middle of a busy road; a workman using a machine while being una­ware that it is faulty and dangerous; pedestrians unaware that a wall running alongside a pavement is in a dangerous condition and about to collapse. In each of these situations there is an element of risk. However, uncertainty will only be created when the individuals recognize the existence of the risks. The child may escape free of injury, the machine may hold out until the work­man has finished using it and the wall may not collapse and injure passers by. Alternatively, there could be serious injury in each case.

The people involved in each of these examples are unaware of the risk, but it does not mean that there is no risk. Most people would agree that risk is present, even if it is not recognized by the people who could be affected. We conclude that risk can exist in the ab­stract; it is not dependent on being recognized as existing by those who may be most directly in­volved. Risk is linked more to the event itself, rather than to any personal perception of the existence of uncertainty. Unlike risk, uncertainty dependent on being recognized.

To bring this philosophical discussion to some con­clusion, we could say that the concept of uncer­tainty implies doubt about the future based on a lack of knowledge, or imperfection in knowledge. Risk exists regardless of whether this doubt has been recognized by those who may be most directly involved.

The reason for looking at uncertainty was that it formed one of the components of the concept of risk. Going back to the broader idea of risk, and using our understanding of uncertainty, we could say that the basis of risk is lack of knowledge, re­gardless of whether the state of lack of knowledge is recognized. If we always knew what was going to happen there would be no risk. We would know for certain if our house was to burn down this year, if we were to have an accident, if the bur­glars were to select our house, if our car was to be stolen, and so on. We do not have this knowledge and hence operate in an uncertain or risky envi­ronment.

We can therefore say that risk exists outside the individual, it may be recognized as existing but this is not a pre-requisite. In this sense, it is objec­tive and not dependent on any one individual. In chapter two we will see that people very often do place their own subjective assessments on the existence and level of risk in given situations.


1.4 Risk, Peril and Hazard

We often use the word risk to mean both the event, which will give rise to some loss and the factors which may influence the outcome of a loss. When we think about cause, we must be clear that there are at least these two aspects to it. We can see this if we think of a house on a riverbank and the risk of flood. The risk of flood does not really make sense, what we mean is the risk of flood damage. Flood is the cause of the loss and the fact that one of the houses was right on the bank of the river influences the outcome.

Flood is the peril and the proximity of the house to the river is the hazard. The peril is the prime cause; it is what will give rise to the loss. Often it is beyond the control of anyone who may be involved. In this way we can say that storm, fire, theft, motor accident and explosion are all perils.

Factors, which may influence the outcome are re­ferred to as hazards. Hazards refer to the conditions that create or increase the chance of loss. These hazards are not them­selves the cause of the loss, but they can increase or decrease the effect should a peril operate. In fact, hazards would facilitate the occurrence of perils. The consideration of hazard is important when an in­surance company is deciding whether or not it should insure some risk and what premium to charge.

There are four major types of hazards:

  • Physical hazards
  • Moral hazard
  • Morale hazard
  • Legal hazard

Physical hazard is a physical condition that increases the likelihood of loss. It relates to the physical characteristics of the item or the property exposed to the risk, such as the nature of construction of a build­ing, the nature of the road (e.g. Icy, rough roads that increase the likelihood of an auto accident, etc) loose security protection at a shop or factory, or the proximity of houses to a riverbank.

Moral haz­ard is dishonesty or character defects in an individual that increases the frequency or severity of loss. It is related with the human aspects which may influ­ence the outcome. This usually refers to the atti­tude of the insured person. Examples of moral hazard include taking an accident to collect from an insurer, submitting a fraudulent claim, inflating the amount of the claim, and intentionally burning unsold merchandise that is insured.

Morale hazard refers to the carelessness or indifference to a loss because of the existence of an insurance. Some insureds are careless or indifferent to a loss because they have insurance. Examples of morale hazard include leaving car keys in an unlocked car, which increases the chance of theft; leaving a door unlocked that allows a burglar to enter, etc….  

Legal hazard refers to characteristics of the legal system or regulatory environment that increase the frequency or severity of losses. Examples include adverse jury verdicts or large damage awards in liability lawsuits, statutes that require insurers to include coverage for certain benefits in health insurance plans, such as coverage for alcoholism; and restrict the ability of insurers to withdraw from the state because of poor underwriting results.


1.5 Chance of Loss Distinguished from isk

Chance of loss is closely related to the concept of risk. Chance of loss is defined as the probability that an event will occur. Chance of loss should not be confused with objective risk. Chance of loss is the probability that an event will occur. Objective risk is the relative variation of actual loss from the expected loss. The chance of loss may be for two different groups, but objective risk may be quite different. For example, assume that a fire insurer has 10,000 homes insured in Addis Ababa and 10,000 homes in Mekelle and that the chance of loss in each city is 1 per cent. Thus, on average, 100 homes should burn annually in each city. However, if the annual variation in losses ranges from 75 to 125 in Addis Ababa, but only from 90 to 110 in Mekelle, objective risk is greater in Addis Ababa even the chance of loss in both cities is the same.


1.6 The Classification of Risk

We turn our attention now to the classes into which risk can be placed. This is different from scrutinizing the actual idea of risk; we are now looking at the whole concept of risk and grouping together similar classes of risk. Of the many classes, we will look at five.


   1.6.1 Objective and Subjective Risk

Some authors make a careful distinction between objective risk and subjective risk. We shall briefly discuss the distinction between the two in the forthcoming paragraphs.

Objective risk is defined as the relative variation of the actual loss from expected loss. For example, assume that a fire insurer has 10,000 houses insured over a long period and, on average, 1 percent, or 100 houses burn each year. However, it would be rare for exactly 100 houses to burn each year. In some years as few as 90 houses may burn, while in other years, as many as 110 houses may burn. Thus, there is a variation of 10 houses from the expected number of 100, or a variation of 10 percent. This relative variation of actual loss from expected loss is known as objective risk.

Objective risk declines as the number of exposures increases. More specifically, objective risk varies inversely with the square root of the number of cases under observation. In our previous example, 10,000 houses were insured, and objective risk was 10/100, or 10 per cent. Now assume that 1 million houses are insured. The expected number of houses that will burn is now 10,000, but the variation of actual loss from expected loss is only 100. Objective risk now is 100/10,000, or 1 per cent. Thus, as the square root of the number of houses increased from 100 in the first example to 1000 in the second example (ten times), objective risk; declined to one-tenth of its former level. (this is discussed in detail in the next chapter)

Objective risk can be statistically measured by some measure of dispersion, such as the standard deviation or the coefficient of variation. Since objective risk can be measured, it is an extremely useful concept for an insurer or a corporate risk manager. As the number of exposures increases, an insurer can predict its future loss experience more accurately because it can rely on the law of large numbers. The law of large numbers states that as the number of exposure units increases, the more closely will the actual loss experience approach the probable loss experience. For example as the number of homes under observation increases, the greater is the degree of accuracy in predicting the proportion of homes that will burn.

Subjective riskis defined as uncertainty based on a person’s mental condition or state of mind. For example, an individual is drinking heavily in a bar and attempts to derive home. The driver may be uncertain whether he or she will arrive home safely without being arrested by the police for drunk driving. This mental uncertainty is called subjective risk. Often subjective risk is expressed in terms of the degree of belief.                      

The impact of subjective risk varies depending on the individual. Two persons in the same situation may have a different perception of risk, and their conduct may be altered accordingly.  If an individual experiences great mental uncertainty concerning the occurrence of a loss, that person’s conduct may be affected. High subjective risk often results in less conservative conduct, while low subjective risk may result in less conservative conduct. A driver may have been previously arrested for drunk driving and is aware that he or she has consumed too much alcohol. The driver may then compensate for mental uncertainty by getting someone else to drive him or her home or by taking a cab. Another driver in the same situation may perceive the risk of arrested as slight. The second driver may drive in more careless and reckless manner; a low subjective risk results in less conservative driving behavior.


   1.6.2 Financial and Non-Financial Risk

We have already said that risk implies a situation where there is uncertainty about the outcome. A financial risk is one where the outcome can be measured in monetary terms. This is easy to see in the case of material damage to property, theft of property or lost business profit following a fire. In cases of personal injury, it can also be possible to measure financial loss in terms of a court award of damages, or as a result of negotiation between lawyers and insurers. In any of these cases, the outcome of the risky situation can be measured financially.

There are other situations where this kind of meas­urement is not possible. Take the case of the choice of a new car, or the selection of an item from a restaurant menu. These could be taken as risky situations, not because the outcome will cause fi­nancial loss, but because the outcome could be uncomfortable or disliked in some other way. We could even go as far as to say that the great social decisions of life are examples of non-financial risks: the selection of a career, the choice of a marriage partner, having children. There may or may not be financial implications, but in the main the outcome is not measurable financially but by other, more human, criteria.

In the world of business we are primarily con­cerned with risks which have a financially measur­able outcome.


   1.6.3   Pure and Speculative Risks

This classification also concerns the outcome. It distinguishes between those situations where there is only the possibility of loss and those where a gain may also result.

Pure risks involve two possible outcomes a loss or, at best, no loss. The outcome can only be unfavorable to us, or leave us in the same position as we en­joyed before the event occurred. The risk of a mo­tor accident, fire at a factory, theft of goods from a store, or injury at work are all pure risks with no element of gain. It is a loss or no loss that can result from such risks.

The major types of pure risks that are associated with great financial and economic insecurity include personal risks, property risks, and liability risks.

Personal risk is chiefly concerned with death and the time of its occurrence. And apart from death, there is incapacity through accident, injury, illness or old age – loss of earning power.

Property risk refers to losses associated with ownership of property such as destruction of property by fire, lightening, windstorm, flood and other forces of nature. Property risk leads to direct loss and consequential loss. For example, when the New York twin towers were destroyed, the direct loss is the building itself and the consequential loss is the benefit generated from it including the rent income.

Losses to property may be classified as either direct loss or indirect loss. Each of this group is discussed below.

  • Direct loss – a direct loss is defined as a financial loss that results from the physical damage, destruction, or theft of the property. For example, assume that you own a restaurant, and the building is insured by a property insurance policy. If the building is damaged by a fire, the physical damage to the property is known as a direct loss. In other words, property suffers a direct loss when the property itself is directly damaged or destroyed or disappears because of contact with a physical or social peril.
  • Indirect or consequential loss – an indirect loss is a financial loss that results indirectly from the occurrence of a direct physical damage, destruction, or theft. Thus, in addition to the physical damage loss, the restaurant would lose profits for several months while it is being rebuilt. The loss of profits would be a consequential loss. Other examples of consequential loss would be the loss of the use of the building, the loss of rents, and the loss of a market.

Extra expenses are another type of indirect, or consequential loss. For example, suppose you own a newspaper, bank, or dairy. If a loss occurs, you must continue to operate regardless of cost; otherwise, you will lose customers to your competitors. It may be necessary to set up a temporary operation at some alternative location, and substantial extra expenses would then be incurred.

Property refers to a bundle of rights that form part of the tangible physical assets, but which independently possess certain economic value. The exposures that result from these interests may be property including net income or liability exposures. Only the direct and indirect property loss exposures are considered below.

Liability Risk

Liability risk is the possibility of loss arising from intentional or unintentional damage made to other persons or to their property. One would be legally obliged to pay for the damages he inflicted upon other persons or their property. A court of law may order you to pay substantial damages to the person you have injured.

Liability risks are of great importance for several reasons. First, there is no maximum upper limit with respect to the amount of the loss. You can be sued for any amount. In contrast, if you own a property, there is a maximum limit on the loss. For example, if your automobile has an actual cash value of Br. 10,000, the maximum physical damage loss is Br. 10,000. But if you are negligent and cause and accident that results in serious bodily injury to the other driver, you can be sued for any amount – Br. 50,000, Br. 500,000, or Br.1 million or more – by the person you have injured.

Second, although the experience is painful, you can afford to lose your present financial assets, but you can never afford to lose your future income and assets. Assume that you are sued and are required by the court to pay a substantial judgment to the person you have injured. If you do not carry liability insurance or are underinsured, your future and assets can be attached to satisfy the judgment. If you declare bankruptcy to avoid payment of the judgment, your ability to obtain credit will be severely impaired.

Finally, legal defense costs can be enormous. If you are sued and have no liability insurance, the cost of hiring an attorney to defend you and represent you in a court of law can be staggering.           

Speculative Risk` The alternative to pure risks is speculative risk, where there are two possible outcomes – gain or loss. Speculative risk is defined as a situation in which either profit or loss is possible. Investing money in shares is a good example. The investment may result in a loss or possibly a break-even position, but the reason it was made was the prospect of gain. People are more adverse to pure risks as compared to speculative risks. In speculative risk situation, people may deliberately create the risk when they realize that the favorable outcome is, indeed, so promising.

Dear student, it is important to distinguish between pure and speculative risks for three reasons. First, private insurers generally insure only pure risks. With some exceptions, speculative risks are not considered insurable and other techniques for coping with risk must be used. (one exception is that some insurers will insure institutional portfolio investments and municipal bonds against loss.)

Second, the law of large numbers can be applied more easily to pure risks than to speculative risks. The law of large numbers is important since it enables insurers to predict losses in advance. In contrast, it is generally more difficult to apply the law of large numbers to speculative risks in order to predict future loss experience.

Finally, society may benefit from a speculative risk even though a loss occurs, but it is harmed if a pure risk is present and a loss occurs. For example, a firm may develop a new technological process for producing computers more cheaply and, as a result, may force a competitor into bankruptcy, society benefits since the computers are produced more efficiently and at a lower cost. However, society will not benefit when most pure risks occur, as for example, if a flood occurs or an earthquake devastates an area.

The reason for stressing the difference between pure and speculative risks is to highlight the fact that pure risks are normally insurable while specu­lative risks are not normally insurable. It is difficult to be dogmatic about this, as practice is changing and the division between pure and speculative is becoming more blurred as time passes. Take the case of the credit risk, which we listed under the heading of speculative risks. The goods have been sold on credit in the hope that a gain will result but a form of credit insurance is available which will meet some of the consequences should the debtor default.

However, insurance is not normally available for those risks where the outcome can be a gain and it is easy to see why this should be so. Speculative risks are entered into voluntarily, in the hope that there will be gain. There would be very little in­centive to work towards achieving that gain if it was known that an insurance company would pay up, regardless of the effort expended by the individual. Using the terminology of hazard, we could say that there would be a very high risk of moral or morale hazard.

However, we should be clear that the pure risk consequences of speculative risks can be insured against and that more and more people involved in risk and insurance are being asked to handle speculative risks.


   1.6.4 Static and Dynamic Risks

Dynamic risk originates from changes in the overall economy such as price level changes, changes in consumer taster, income distribution, technological changes, political changes and the like. They are less predictable and hence beyond the control of risk managers. Static risks, on the other hand, refer to those losses that can take place even though there were no changes in the over all economy. They are losses arising from causes other than changes in the economy. Unlike dynamic risks, they are predictable and could be controlled to some extent by taking loss prevention measures. Many of the perils fall under this category. 


   1.6.5 Fundamental and Particular Risks

The final classification relates to both the cause and effect of risk. Fundamental risks are those, which arise from causes outside the control of any one individual or even a group of individuals. In addition, the effect of fundamental risks is felt by large numbers of people. This classification would include earthquakes, floods, famine, volcanoes and other natural ‘disasters’. However it would not be accurate to limit fundamental risk to naturally oc­curring perils. Social change, political intervention and war are all capable of being interpreted as fundamental risks.

In contrast to this form of risk, which is impersonal in origin and widespread in effect, we have par­ticular risks. Particular risks are much more per­sonal both in their cause and effect. This would include many of the risks we have already men­tioned such as fire, theft, work related injury and motor accidents. All of these risks arise from indi­vidual causes and affect individuals in their conse­quences.

What is interesting is the way in which risks can change classification. This does support the view that risk is a dynamic concept and that our view of it can be modified as time passes. Much of this movement in classification has been from particu­lar to fundamental.

Unemployment was regarded as a particular risk for much of the early part of this century, there was almost the implication that being unemployed was the fault of the individual. However, the tech­nological unemployment of the seventies and eight­ies has changed that view, and we now talk about people suffering unemployment. As a consequence of changes in our industrial and commercial world, the emphasis has moved away from the individual to society as a whole. The evidence of this is seen in the financial provision made for those who are unemployed, in almost all industrialized countries.

A similar move has taken place concerning injury in motor accidents, injury at work and injury caused by faulty products. In each of these cases society has decided that those who are injured should be able to receive financial compensation. It does this by passing legislation, which ensures either that suitable insurance is in force, or that those who are injured need not have the burden of proving fault.

In the main, particular risks are insurable while fundamental risks are not, but it is difficult to generalize as views in the insurance market place change from time to time. We could say that fun­damental risks are normally so uncontrollable, widespread and indiscriminate that it is felt they should be the responsibility of society as a whole. The geographical factor is often important, particu­larly for natural hazards such as flood and earth­quake. In many parts of the world these risks would be regarded as fundamental and not insurable, but in the United Kingdom they are insurable.

Dear student, the discussion up to this point has been intended to give a rounded view of the nature of the con­cept of risk itself. It may have seemed rather philo­sophical at times, but it has been useful to explore ideas rather than simply accept definitions. We now move on to the much more practical and objec­tive question of the cost of risk


1.7 Risks Related to Business Activities

Most risks in business environment are speculative in nature. The finance literature considers five types of risks that business organizations face in the course of their normal operation. These are: business risk, financial risk, interest rate risks, purchasing power risks, and market risks. Each of these are briefly discussed below.

Business Risk - This is the risk associated with the physical operation of the firm. Variations in the level of sales, costs, profits are likely to occur due to a number of factors inherent in the economic environment. Business risk is independent of the company’s financial structure.

Financial Risk - This is associated with debt financing. Borrowing results in the payment of periodic interest charge and the payment principal upon maturity. There is a risk of default by the company if operations are not profitable. Other financial risks include; bankruptcy, stock price decline, insolvency. Bondholders are less exposed to financial risk than common stockholders because they have a priority claim against the assets of an insolvent firm. Government securities, however, bear very low risk.

Interest Rate Risk - This is a risk resulting from changes in interest rates. Changes in interest rates affect the prices of financial securities such as the prices of bonds etc. for interest rate rise depresses bond prices and vice, versa.

Purchasing Power Risk - This risk arises under inflationary situations (general price rise of goods and services) leading to a decline in the purchasing power of the asset held. Financial assets lose purchasing power if increased inflationary tendencies prevail in the economy.

Market Risk -   Market risk is related to stock market. It refers to stock price variability caused by market forces. It is the result of investors’ reactions to real or psychological expectations. For example, some forecasts may convince investors that the economy is heading towards a recession. The market index would decline accordingly. In other situation investors erroneously overreact to events and affect the market by making abnormal transactions. The market, in many cases, is also affected by such events as: presidential elections, trade balances, balance of payment figures, wars, new inventions, etc...Market risk is also called systematic or non-diversifiable risk. All investors are subject to this risk. It is the result of the workings of the economy; and cannot be eliminated through portfolio diversification. However, investors are paid for this risk.


1.8 Burden of Risk on Society

The presence of risk results in certain undesirable social and economic effects. Risk entails three major burdens on society:

  1. The size of an emergency fund must be increased.
  2. Society is deprived of certain goods and services.
  3. Worry and fear are present.


i.Larger Emergency Fund

It is prudent to set aside funds for emergency purposes. However, in the absence of insurance, individuals and business firms must increase the size of their emergency funds in order to pay for unexpected losses. For example, assume you have purchased a Br. 300,000 home and want to have money for repairs if the home is damaged from fire, hail, windstorm, or some other peril. Without insurance, you would have to save some big lump-sum annually to build up an adequate fund within a relatively short period of time. Even then, an early loss could occur, and your emergency fund would be insufficient to pay the loss. If you are a middle-income wage earner, you would find such saving difficult. In any event, the higher the amount that must be saved, the more consumption spending must be reduced, which results in a lower standard of living.


ii.Loss of Certain Goods and Services

A second burden of risk is that society is deprived of certain goods and services. For example, because of the risk of a liability lawsuit, many corporations have discontinued manufacturing certain products. Numerous examples can be given. Some 250 companies in the world used to manufacture childhood vaccines; today, only a few firms manufacture vaccines, due in part to the threat of liability suits. Other firms have discontinued the manufacture of certain products, including single-engine airplanes, asbestos products, football helmets, silicon-gel breast implants, and certain birth control devices.


iii.Worry and fear

A final burden of risk is that worry and fear are present. Numerous examples can illustrate the mental unrest and fear caused by risk. A college student who needs a grade of C in a course in order to graduate may enter the final examination room with a feeling of apprehension and fear. Parents may be fearful if a teenage son or daughter departs on a skiing trip during a blinding snowstorm since the risk of being killed on an icy road is present. Some passengers in a commercial jet may become extremely nervous and fearful if the jet encounters severe turbulence during the flight.



  • There is no single definition of risk. Risk has been defined in a number of ways by different authors.

  • Objective risk is the relative variation of actual loss from expected loss. Subjective risk is uncertainty based on an individual’s mental condition or state of mind. Chance of loss is defined as the probability that an event will occur; it is not the same thing as risk.
  • Peril is defined as the prime cause of the loss. Hazard is any condition that creates or increases the chance of loss. There are four major types of hazards. Physical hazard is a physical condition present that increases the likelihood of loss. Moral hazard is dishonesty or character defects in an individual that increases the likelihood of loss. Morale hazard is carelessness or indifference to a loss because of the existence of insurance. Legal hazard refers to characteristics of the legal system or regulatory environment that increase the frequency or severity of losses.
  • The basic categories of risk include the following:
    • Objective and subjective risk
    • Pure and speculative risk
    • Fundamental and particular risk
    • Static and dynamic risk
    • Financial and non-financial risk.
  • A pure risk is a risk where there are only the possibilities of loss or no loss. A speculative risk is a risk where either profit or loss is possible.
  • A fundamental risk is a risk that affects the entire economy or large number of persons or groups within the economy, such as inflation, war, or recession. A particular risk is a risk that affects only the individual and not the entire community or country.
  • The following kinds of pure risk can threaten an individual’s financial security:
    • Personal risks
    • Property risks
    • Liability risks
  • Personal risks are those risks that directly affect an individual.
  • Property risk affects persons who own property.
  • A direct loss is a financial loss that results from the physical damage, destruction, or theft of the property. An indirect, or consequential, loss is a financial loss that result indirectly from the occurrence of a direct physical damage or theft loss. Examples of indirect losses are the loss of use of property, loss of profits, loss of rents, and extra expenses.
  • Liability risks are extremely important because there is no maximum upper limit on the amount of the loss, and if a person must pay damages, future incomes and assets can be attached to pay an unsatisfied judgment; substantial legal defense costs and attorneys fees may also be incurred.
  • Risk entails three major burdens on society:
    • The size of an emergency fund must be increased.
    • Society is deprived of needed goods and services.
    • Worry and fear are present.



Related Content