Strategic Research Themes

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Multivariate Risk Modelling

Lead: Professor Harry Joe, Statistics,  University of British Columbia

Multivariate risk models - and realistic financial and non-financial risk models are naturally multivariate - are formal probabilistic structures that describe simultaneously the behavior of various components and the dependence between these components. At RISC, we spearhead research into risk models that draw from rigorous forefront scientific methods and are, nevertheless, tractable and useful in applications in, e.g., underwriting, valuation, reserving, risk measurement and economic capital determination, risk allocation, credit risk.

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Risk Assessment

Lead: Professor Ricardas Zitikis, Statistics, Western University

Measuring risk is a necessary precursor to managing it. The need to measure risk arises in a vast number of distinct contexts, be it a regulator assessing the risk exposure of financial institutions, a clearing house of an exchange setting margin requirements for investors trading therein, or an actuary determining the price of a new product. At RISC, we pioneer research into various ways to assess risk - both traditional and systemic - as well as attribute this risk to its drivers.

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Corporate Social Responsibility in Risk Management

Lead: Professor Dirk Matten, Business, York University

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) can be thought of as a collection of definite policies and practices of corporations, aimed towards some kind of wider social good. Hence, the concepts of CSR and of Insurance - also of Risk Management - are inherently connected. At RISC, we conduct forefront research on the intricate - explicit and implicit - links between CSR and RMI.

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Inclusive Insurance

Lead: Professor Ida Ferrara, Economics, York University

At RISC, we define Inclusive Insurance - also, Microinsurance (MI) - as the provision of conventional insurance products with small limit and simple coverages to low-income individuals based on: (1) a nuanced understanding of the target audience (low-income households) to inform the design, delivery, and administration of insurance products; (2) the application of market principles to develop affordable and sustainable insurance products. This definition hints that MI may play a role in improving the lives of vulnerable groups in any country, irrespective of its level of development. Our research aims to fully exploit the potential of MI as a key driver of social innovation in support of inclusive and sustainable financial protection.

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Flood Risk

Lead: Professor Usman Khan, Engineering, York University

According to World Bank, around 2.2 billion people - or 29% of the world population - live in locations that are estimated to experience some level of inundation during a 1-in-100-year flood event. In Canada, floods are the most frequent natural disaster nowadays; floods are getting more frequent and more devastating with 2 in 10 Canadian homes being at risk. Despite this, a recent report commissioned by Public Safety Canada finds a a disturbing protection gap, as a relatively new flood insurance option is not widely available in the country, with the situation being particularly dire in high risk areas. At RISC, we deliver innovative research on all of: modeling, measuring, mitigating, and financing the risk of flood.

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Decision Making Under Risk

Lead: Professor Shayna Rosenbaum, Psychology, York University

Individuals assess risks by relying on mental and other psychological mechanisms, such as, e.g., cognitive heuristics, risk images, trust, socio-demographics, emotions, attitudes, cultures, values, and their intersections, among other factors. Furnished with RISC's novel Virtual Reality lab, we develop new conceptual and analytical approaches to debunk misconceptions, solve long-standing puzzles, and shed new light on mysteries around the notion of risk and risk taking.


Systemic Risk

Lead: Professor Edward Furman, Actuarial Science, York University

We strive for a paradigm shift in the thinking of and dealing with Systemic Risk (SR), a new notion of risk that “overextends established risk management and creates new unsolved challenges for policy-making in risk governance”. More specifically, our objectives here are four-fold: (1) define SR holistically and rigorously; (2) redesign the risk management control cycle by integrating SR in all of its stages; (3) develop risk financing mechanisms capable to cushion the financial consequences of SR; (4) devise regulatory instruments that ensure an accurate reflection of the attribution to SR in regulatory accords.


At RISC, we value people - and hence, collaborations - above all. Our body of partners spans academics from all continents; for-profits and non-for-profits; governmental agencies; and NGOs.