Dangerous Commerce: Insurance and the Management of International Risk

In This Review

Dangerous Commerce: Insurance and the Management of International Risk

By Virginia Haufler
Cornell University Press, 1997
205 pp. $29.95
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Haufler here addresses an interesting but neglected issue: the provision of insurance for private property against non-commercial risks, especially political risks, when transborder transactions are involved. The bulk of the book covers the development of cross-border insurance in three periods: 1870-1914, 1917-39, and 1979-89, the first two ending in world wars and the last covering an international debt crisis. Not surprisingly, the two earlier discussions focus on shipping and merchant cargoes and the story is largely British. The author finds a gradual evolution over time from purely private insurance to selective government provision of insurance against various kinds of noncommercial risks to, in the last decade, a limited but growing role for international organizations. The book lacks a crisp conclusion but covers much interesting material.