Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder

CSTPR Noontime Seminar: Jessica Weinkle

Is This (Our) Risk? The Science and Politics of Catastrophe Insurance

by Jessica Weinkle, Center for Science and Technology Policy Research, CU Boulder

Free and open to the public

Abstract: The title of this presentation implies two issues:  Is this risk? Is this our risk?  The answers are not straightforward.  These questions form a basis for my research and serve to guide the narrative of this presentation.  The presentation subtitle, 'The science and politics of catastrophe insurance,' describe the processes by which society comes to answer the two questions in the context of natural hazards.  Yet, often the process of negotiating agreement about risk for the purpose of insurance is veiled by technical jargon, appeal to expert knowledge, and issue conflation.  This muddies trade-offs facing the public and policymakers when they seek effective decision making for improved management of society's risk and public insurance programs.  This presentation aims to accomplish three tasks: 1) Illustrate my research activities for the past several years at CSTPR and ICAT; 2) Present current issues I am working on at the interface of risk, insurance, and public policy; and 3) Place ongoing and future research into a broad social, financial and democratic context. 

Biography: In 2013, Jessica earned her doctorate in environmental studies from the University of Colorado Boulder.  For the past year, she has worked as a postdoc at the CSTPR and in partnership with ICAT, a private catastrophe insurance company in Boulder.  Her research focuses on the interface of risk, insurance and public policy with a particular emphasis in the construction and use of hurricane catastrophe models.

In January she will begin work as an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington in the department of Public and International Affairs.

Jessica also holds a Master of Arts in Climate and Society from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Science in Zoology from the University of Texas at Austin.


Monday, October 27, 2014
12:15 pm to 1:15 pm




  • CIRES employees
  • CU Boulder employees
  • General Public
  • NOAA employees
  • Science collaborators


  • Seminar
  • Open to Public


CSTPR Conference Room, 1333 Grandview Avenue