Compensation for victims of disasters: a task for Europe?

Michael Faure*, Kristel de Smedt

*Corresponding author for this work

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Just as in many other regions of the world, the European Union is prone to nearly all types of natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods. Moreover, due to climate change, both the number of incidents and the damage from natural disasters could increase. Natural disasters may cause significant economic losses, and consequently there is a strong demand for compensation for victims in their aftermath. We examine whether, from a theoretical perspective, there is any role to be played at the EU level in the compensation of victims of disasters, particularly in disaster insurance, and even if it were to be just a facilitative role, how this role could take shape in order to stimulate the insurability of natural disasters. We critically examine European initiatives with respect to disaster insurance and ex post compensation and formulate lessons learned on the basis of the theoretical analysis. We explicitly address the question whether the role of the EU should be limited to facilitating insurability or whether it should include providing ex post compensation to states as well.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)732-759
Number of pages28
JournalThe Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice
Issue number4
Early online date5 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019


  • Climate change
  • Victim compensation
  • Disaster insurance
  • EU

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