The Appeal of Insurance

The Appeal of Insurance

Written by: Geoffrey Wilson Clark

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  • Publisher: University of Toronto Press
  • Publish Date: 2010
  • ISBN-10: 9781442640658
  • ebook-the-appeal-of-insurance.pdf
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'The Appeal of Insurance is an excellent collection that reflects a growing interest in insurance research within the social sciences. Clearly written and accessible to a variety of audiences, this is a volume of world-class scholarship.'-Luis Lobo-Guerrero, School of Politics, International Relations, and Philosophy, Keele University In the marketing of its products, the insurance industry has always depended on a considerable dose of moral exhortation and enlightened appeal. The Appeal of Insurance traces the ways in which insurance over the past three centuries, perhaps more than any other business, has grown in concert with a clientele largely of its own making. Faced with a public that has preferred to avoid confronting the certainty of fatality or the probabilities of catastrophe, insurance promoters have had to create a demand for their products, first, by persuading the public to see the world as ruled less by divine judgments and more by statistical patterns, and second, by proclaiming a moral imperative of hedging against death and disaster by the prudential recourse to insurance. The essays presented here examine the history of insurance as a process of negotiation between the embedded social, legal, and cultural norms out of which the practice of insurance grew, and the new arrangements and sensibilities that insurance itself helped bring into being. Today, insurance is a global economic colossus and a fixture in the developed countries of the world. But neither the financial clout of the insurance industry nor its ubiquity conveys the full measure of its social and political influence. The insurance industry has in fact become a primary agent of discipline and control over public and private behaviours by imposing upon them the criterion of insurability. By tracing the boundaries of acceptable (and compensated) from unacceptable (and uncompensated) risk, insurers directly or indirectly govern people, products, and markets, and by this process become one of the most powerful and pervasive agents of social and economic control. Geoffrey Clark is a professor in the Department of History at the State University of New York at Potsdam. Gregory Anderson is the former Associate Head of the Business School at the University of Salford. Christian Thomann is a senior fellow at the Centre for Risk and Insurance at Leibniz University, Hanover. J.-Matthias Graf Von Der Schulenburg is the Director of the Centre for Risk and Insurance at Leibniz University, Hanover.

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