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Dealing in Uncertainty

Insurance in the Age of Finance

By Arjen van der Heide

Published

Jan 1, 2023

Page count

208 pages

ISBN

978-1529221350

Dimensions

234 x 156 mm

Imprint

Bristol University Press

Published

Jan 1, 2023

Page count

208 pages

ISBN

978-1529221367

Dimensions

234 x 156 mm

Imprint

Bristol University Press
Dealing in Uncertainty

Insurance is an important – if still poorly understood – mechanism for dealing with a broad variety of risks associated with modern life.

This book conducts an in-depth examination of one of the largest and longest-established private insurance industries in Europe: British life insurance. In doing so, it draws on over 40 oral history interviews to trace how the sector is changed since the 1970s, a period characterised by rampant financialisation and neoliberalisation.

Combining insights from science and technology studies and economic sociology, this is an unprecedented study of the evolution of insurance practices and an invaluable contribution to our understanding of financial capitalism.

Arjen van der Heide is Postdoctoral Researcher at the Institute of Public Administration at Leiden University. He previously obtained his PhD at the University of Edinburgh and worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne.

Introduction

Theory and analysis

PART One : SHIFTING BOUNDARIES

How life insurance arrangements have changed

How actuaries came to reconsider the nature of financial uncertainty

A ‘perfect storm’ for the British life insurance industry

PART Two: APPROPRIATING MODELS

The process of appropriation

Risk models and their impact on the professional ecology

PART Three: CONSOLIDATING PRACTICE

The institutionalisation of knowledge machinery in European regulation

How insurers’ business models were reoriented

Conclusion