Life Securitisation, the Event Object of Insurance and the Strategisation of Time

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    Understanding the matter of insurability as a problem of governing uncertainty has led to thinking ‘the event’ as the object of insurance. How the event is understood and conceptualized determines to a great extent the ways in which its related uncertainty will be rendered. This, in turn, will determine how such uncertainty will be managed. Although this idea has been widely explored with important nuances by various scholars, what has not been discussed in great detail is the problematic idea of temporality and the role time plays in helping constitute the event object of insurance. Such a problem is of great relevance for pushing forward the debate on the limits of insurability. The empirical cases used in this article, Swiss Re's Vita and Kortis, launched and developed during the last decade, relate to hedging the exposure of life and health insurance portfolios to events that would generate excess mortality and excess vitality. The schemes, as explored here, are not simply actuarial, although actuarial practice still figures prominently in their crafting. They involve the strategic articulation of varied forms of knowledge that enshrine particular understandings of time and produce the truth-base of insurable events.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)353-370
    Number of pages18
    JournalJournal of Cultural Economy
    Issue number3
    Early online date22-Nov-2013
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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