With their ability to sell war risk insurance that’s akin to selling ice cubes to Eskimos, are insurance companies virtually engaged in war profiteering in our post 9/11 world?
By: Ringo Bones
From the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks to the ever increasing scourge of maritime piracy off the coast of Somalia, war risk insurance had managed to turn itself almost into a household name – albeit for all the wrong reasons. Such insurance policies do provide a service to corporate entities that allows them to hedge their risks in the brave new word after the 9/11 terror attacks. Despite of its “apparent” usefulness in our post 9/11 world, isn’t war risk insurance just another name for war profiteering?
A war profiteer is often defined as someone who makes what is considered an unreasonable profit on the sale of essential goods during times of war and / or conflict. War risk insurance may not – or will ever be – classified under “essential goods” by ordinary folks like us, yet ever since the 9/11 terror attacks – and especially the rise of piracy targeting maritime commerce of the coast of Somalia – premium rates of war risk insurance has been on the rise, and making insurance companies who flog them unreasonable profit from our perspective. If things go on as they are, the time would come that premium rates of even the most basic of war risk insurance policies will no longer be deemed economically viable by corporate entities that need them the most.
So, are insurance companies engaging themselves in war profiteering when it comes to providing war risk insurance in a post 9/11 world? It is best to be pragmatic when it comes to such matters, but corporate entities finding ways to hedge their risks against the next 9/11 or just coping with the inherent risk involved doing maritime commerce in the pirate infested waters of the Somali coast are prone to financial exploitation by insurance companies. Given that the risk dynamic of terror attacks and piracy seems to defy the somewhat relatively "static" mathematical models used in most risk assessment tools, a re-evaluation of war risk insurance premiums would not be that much unreasonable - unless of course insurance companies are truly engaged in war profiteering in our brave new post 9/11 world.