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Underinsurance as Adaptation: Household agency in places of marketization and financialization

Booth, KI ORCID: 0000-0002-3102-6356 and Kendal, DJ ORCID: 0000-0003-2816-1722 2019 , 'Underinsurance as Adaptation: Household agency in places of marketization and financialization' , Environment and Planning A, vol. 52, no. 4 , pp. 728-746 , doi:

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The underinsurance of property is pervasively and persuasively promoted as an indicator of risk and riskiness and, in western nations, is assumed to be aligned with socio-economic disadvantage. Yet, the solution - in its most simple form, buying more insurance - lacks critical interrogation of what the problem actually is. To better understand underinsurance, we map house and contents underinsurance across two municipalities and observe that the existing delineation of disadvantage and advantage between these two places is muted in relation to insurance - underinsurance does not straightforwardly map onto disadvantage. We provide an alternative explanation: that underinsurance is not a risk for households per se and does not represent riskiness on behalf of these households. Rather it is indicative of household agency that produces place-specified responses within the processes of financialization and marketization. We observe that the growth in renting, driven in part by housing financialization, is associated with property underinsurance. The history of renting as temporary and marginal informs renter decision-making to not insure, and thus, current financialized changes in housing co-produce rather than ameliorate underinsurance. We also conclude that in negating or resisting insurance marketization, households garner everyday financial and material adaptative capacity by underinsuring.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Booth, KI and Kendal, DJ
Keywords: adaptation, financialization, insurance, marketization, housing, disadvantage, place, underinsurance
Journal or Publication Title: Environment and Planning A
Publisher: Pion Ltd
ISSN: 0308-518X
DOI / ID Number:
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Copyright 2019 The Authors

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