Professor Paula Jarzabkowski

Disaster Insurance Reimagined: Transforming financial systems for climate adaption’

The world is increasingly ravaged by disasters such as floods, earthquakes, cyclones, and bushfires that cause inevitable losses. Beyond the toll on human lives, homes and livelihoods are destroyed. Having funds available after a disaster to finance reconstruction is crucial, preventing the escalation of human misery through poverty and displacement. Insurance is an important source of these funds. Yet, as disasters increase in the face of climate change and growing urbanisation, the insurance system is in crisis becoming unaffordable or unavailable to many. This retreat of one of our key financial systems – a system that underpins mortgage lending, home ownership, and more, is a fundamental threat to our societies. Yet crisis is also an opportunity to reimagine financial systems, transforming them into partners in our efforts to adapt to climate change. In this keynote, I will discuss the implications of our longitudinal research into 17 cross sector collaborations that aim to address the insurance crisis in 49 countries around the world. What works, for whom, and why? And how can we use this knowledge to help reimagine vital financial systems, such as disaster insurance?

Paula Jarzabkowski is Professor of Strategic Management at University of Queensland and City, University of London, and Co-Editor of Strategic Organization. Paula’s research focuses on the practice of strategy and markets in complex, pluralistic, and paradoxical contexts. She publishes this research in leading journals, including Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Management Studies, Organization Science, Organization Studies, and Strategic Management Journal. She is co-author and co-editor of several books including, Strategy as Practice: An Activity-Based Approach (Sage), Making a Market for Acts of God (Oxford University Press), and the Oxford Handbook of Organizational Paradox. Her forthcoming book, Disaster Insurance Reimagined: Protection in a Time of Increasing Risk, co authored with Konstantinos Chalkias, Eugenia Cacciatori, and Rebecca Bednarek, is being released by Oxford University Press in July 2023.