Risk Pooling and Sharing: Designing and assessing disaster safety nets

The Risk Pooling and Sharing theme examines disaster risk financing mechanisms (private and public) across developed and developing countries with special emphasis on i) how they distribute the disaster burden and ii) how to provide incentives/rules to reduce the effects of disasters.

safety net

safety net

Safety nets are an important institution for equitably and effectively managing the risks of natural hazards and adapting to climate change.

Societies have developed many ways to absorb, share and transfer risks, ranging from informal arrangements, (micro) insurance, national insurance systems and regional pools. These systems embed valued and potentially conflicting aims, such as solidarity to the victims, affordability by the most vulnerable, fostering of risk reduction, and distributing public and private liability fairly.  The challenge for the development and climate adaptation communities is to design disaster safety nets that take account of contending views on their efficiency and fairness.

Specifically, the research of the Risk Pooling and Sharing theme focuses on:

  • Donor supported index-based micro-insurance systems for the poor;
  • National public-private insurance programs;
  • Sovereign risk transfer;
  • The relationship between insurance and prevention/mitigation;
  • Regional risk pools, such as the European Union Solidarity Fund and the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility;
  • Expert (and model)-informed stakeholder participatory processes for the design and choice of safety net options.

Our interdisciplinary projects are at the interface of science and policy, including implementing stakeholder processes, analyzing reform options for national insurance systems, advising sovereign states on risk financing options, and participating in international climate adaptation forums (most recently the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage). 

Associated projects

Our research is supported by the InsAdapt, ENHANCE, and Flood Resilience projects.

Insurance for Adaptation (InsAdapt)

As losses and damages from natural catastrophes are increasing, the traditional objectives for risk-transfer mechanisms are being reconsidered across the globe. The most important new claim is for insurance systems to further adaptive behavior and risk reduction. More

ENHANCE - Improving the resilience of society to catastrophic natural hazards through new risk-management partnerships

Improving the resilience of society to catastrophic natural hazards through new risk-management partnerships More

Flood Resilience

IIASA is a core member of the Flood Resilience Alliance, an innovative partnership between research, development and humanitarian NGOs and the private sector that works together for making at step change with regard to policy, finance and practice of managing floods and other climate-related hazards towards increased community resilience. More

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Last edited: 01 September 2014


Susanne Hanger-Kopp

Research Scholar Equity and Justice Research Group - Population and Just Societies Program

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313