Measurement and Pricing of Risk in Insurance Markets

29 Pages Posted: 12 Aug 2007 Last revised: 3 Jan 2014

See all articles by Andreas Tsanakas

Andreas Tsanakas

City University London - Cass Business School

Evangelia Desli

Aristotle University of Thessaloniki - School of Economics


The theory and practice of risk measurement provides a point of intersection between risk management, economic theories of choice under risk, financial economics and actuarial pricing theory. This paper provides a review of these interrelationships, from the perspective of an insurance company seeking to price the risks that it underwrites. We examine three distinct approaches to insurance risk pricing, all being contingent on the concept of risk measures. Risk measures can be interpreted as representations of risk orderings, as well as absolute (monetary) quantifiers of risk. The first approach can be called an 'axiomatic' one, whereby the price for risks is calculated according to a functional determined by a set of desirable properties. The price of a risk is directly interpreted as a risk measure and may be induced by an economic theory of price under risk. The second approach consists in contextualising the considerations of the risk bearer by embedding them in the market where risks are traded. Prices are calculated by equilibrium arguments, where each economic agent's optimisation problem follows from the minimisation of a risk measure. Finally, in the third approach, weaknesses of the equilibrium approach are addressed by invoking alternative valuation techniques, the leading paradigm among which is arbitrage pricing. Such models move the focus from individual decision takers to abstract market price systems and are thus more parsimonious in the amount of information that they require. In this context, risk measures, instead of characterising individual agents, are used for determining the set of price systems that would be viable in a market.

Keywords: Risk measures, Insurance Pricing, Choice under Risk, Risk Exchange, Good Deals

Suggested Citation

Tsanakas, Andreas and Desli, Evangelia, Measurement and Pricing of Risk in Insurance Markets. The final version of this paper appeared as: Tsanakas A., E. Desli (2005), 'Measurement and pricing of risk in insurance markets', Risk Analysis, 25(6), p.1653-1668.. Available at SSRN:

Andreas Tsanakas (Contact Author)

City University London - Cass Business School ( email )

106 Bunhill Row
London, EC1Y 8TZ
United Kingdom

Evangelia Desli

Aristotle University of Thessaloniki - School of Economics ( email )

Thessaloniki, 54124

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