Political Theory 45 (1):32-51 (2017)

For quite some time, reinsurance companies have been pricing the ongoing climate change using weather- and catastrophe-related instruments and thus have been able to make money through climate change. Yet, at the same time, for reinsurance companies it is crucial that the likelihood of the events they underwrite is diminished as much as possible. Consequently, while profiting from the situation, these key actors of global capitalism also work to prevent climate change from taking place, and support the kinds of measures, on all political scales, that diminish the likelihood of severe climate change destruction. This article analyzes the materials that the reinsurance company Munich Re has distributed to stakeholders and asks how climate change is objectified by the reinsurance industry. How are weather-related catastrophes made into a financial risk and opportunity? The key conceptual tools for answering these questions are provided by Michel Serres’s work on world-objects.
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DOI 10.1177/0090591716680684
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