Risk pool

A risk pool is one of the forms of risk management mostly practised by insurance companies. Under this system, insurance companies come together to form a pool, which can provide protection to insurance companies against catastrophe risks such as floods, earthquakes etc. The term is also used to describe the pooling of similar risks that underlies the concept of insurance. While risk pooling is necessary for insurance to work, not all risks can be effectively pooled. In particular, it is difficult to pool dissimilar risks in a voluntary insurance market, unless there is a subsidy available to encourage participation. ["Wading Through Medical Insurance Pools: A Primer," American Academy of Actuaries September 2006 http://www.actuary.org/pdf/health/pools_sep06.pdf]

Risk pooling is an important concept in supply chain management. [D.S.Levi,P.Kaminsky,E. Simchi-Levi."Chapter 3: Inventory Management and Risk Pooling"; "Designing & Managing the Supply Chain-Second Edition"(p-66)] Risk pooling suggests that demand variability is reduced if one aggregates demand across locations because, as we aggregate demand across different locations, it becomes more likely that high demand from one customer will be offset by low demand from another. This reduction in variability allows a decrease in safety stock and therefore reduces average inventory.

For example: in the centralized distribution system, the warehouse serves all customers, which leads to a reduction in variability measured by either the standard deviation or the coefficient of variation.

The three critical points to risk pooling are:
# Centralized inventory saves safety stock and average inventory in the system
# The higher the coefficient of variation, the greater the benefit obtained from centralized systems; that is, the greater the benefit from risk pooling.
# The benefits from risk pooling depend directly on the relative market behavior. This is explained as follows: If we compare two markets and when demand from both markets are more or less than the average demand, we say that the demands from the market are positively correlated. Thus the benefits derived from risk pooling decreases as the correlation between demands from the two markets becomes more positive.

See also

* Financial risk management
* Intergovernmental Risk Pool

References


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