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This is the second hosting of the Cavalcade of Risk at Ozrisk. The first concentrated on the perceptions of risk, so perhaps we should move on to its actuality in this one.

Health Insurance

The recent (very recent) legislative changes in the US health insurance area makes this quite topical – but I have to admit it is not my specialist area. To put it mildly, these changes do not seem to have attracted universal acclaim amongst the health risk community in the US. The posts on it range from the concerned to the condemnatory. The most favourable to a post that was in favour was this one from Louise – but that could hardly be seen as a strong endorsement. Coming from a country that has a reasonable (but by no means perfect) health system I have always found it difficult to understand the US system, but the Australian one is not much easier to understand – but the political arguments are a little less shrill. But only a little.

Perhaps there is another way to do this, but surely it can’t be that simple.

On areas other than the health bill, Jason Shafrin looks at the perennial problem in health insurance – cost effectiveness.

Political Risk

One of my favourite topics is the attempts by the unskilled to impose their idea of the right thing to do by legislative fiat. This one, from Arizona, is a good example of an attempt to increase compliance with speeding laws – which just ends up making a mockery of the idea of compliance.

The big element of political risk is that you just do not know what the politicians are going to do next, but you can hazard a guess it will be big. Attempts to re-shape the mortgage market looks like the next big issue, and Calculated Risk has been looking at changes to Fannie and Freddie.

Nancy Germond also has a look at the hazards arising from changes in the law – and how to insure against it. Personally, I prefer mitigation, but when you can be dragged through the courts over what seem to be small things, perhaps mitigation is no longer enough. Doing the right thing can be impossible to demonstrate at times.

Lists

There were a couple of intriguing lists submitted this week as week. I am not entirely sure they are risk related, but they are worth a look for the list compulsives amongst us.

Insurance

Millie Kay G presents Get The Right Coverage! Insurance Policies You Need and Those To Avoid. Her advice seems good – particularly on pet insurance. That said, several people I know have spent thousands on operations for their pampered pooch, so maybe you should take another look at this.

Consumer Boomer looks at the possibilities of cheap Term Life Life Insurance. Perhaps sometime you do get what you pay for.

Perhaps if you do not like a contract you have just signed, you can get it declared unfair – and ignore it. Australian law can do that at times – but I am sure it is not just here.

Banking

Chris over at the Financial Services Club blog has a number of historical quotes to look at – from FDR to the IMF. It can pay to remember that there very little that is new in rhetoric about banking. If you like your analysis a little less “worksafe”, try this one on systemic risk. Always amusing, just be prepared for your internet filter to kick in.

The operational risk of dealing with the interface between a bank’s systems and its customers (i.e. the tellers or lending officers) is discussed at The Bank Channel. This can be the biggest source of operational risk of all.

It is always interesting doing a blog round up – while not as long as some, I hope you have enjoyed this one. Thanks to Henry and the Blog Carnival!

Time for a quick poll. The ABS figures today claims that Australia had positive growth over the previous quarter – but revised downwards estimates for growth in the two quarters before that.

This vote, then is simple – do you think that next quarter the ABS will revise downwards its estimate for growth this quarter and, if so, will that be enough of a downward revision to mean that we had a technical recession?

Will the ABS revise growth downwards? (Poll Closed)
 
 
 
 
 
 

While close readers may have an inkling of my opinion on the matter, I would like to know what you think.

What caused the "GFC" (Poll Closed)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

If you vote for “something else” (or just want to vent on the subject, add a comment in below.

Quick poll on the (long form) releases. I am not interested in the numbers (that is easy – the CBA wins) but in their form. Which one looks the best?

Which of the Big Four Had the Best Looking Basel II Release? (Poll Closed)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total Votes: 41

Quick poll on Islamic Finance (IF) and the current situation. If you want to know a bit more on IF, please see our category.

Can Islamic Finance provide a solution to financial turmoil? (Poll Closed)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

If you have a suggestion for a further poll, please leave it below. I would even countenance doing one on fractional reserve.

Since the last poll came out (marginally) in favour of deposit insurance, I thought I would take it a little further. This one looks at how far that insurance should go in the event of a full bailout – should we be covering only private individuals (the “Mums and Dads” group) or go wider?

Should bank bailouts cover more than ordinary depositors? (Poll Closed)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total Votes: 19

During the current turmoil there seems to have been some suggesting that Islamic finance models may provide an answer. The next poll will look at this option.

Given we now have the ability to add in polls, I thought I would look to do a poll a week for a while. The first one will be on deposit insurance.

Do you think deposit insurance in Australia is a good thing? (Poll Closed)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

If you want to suggest topics for further polls, please go ahead. I think the next one will be on bank bailouts – but I am happy to be persuaded.

Every once in a while I solicit (a banker soliciting?) comments from my readers – and this is one of those times. If you would like to let me know what you find useful / interesting or make (hopefully) constructive suggestions, go right ahead.

Otherwise; have a Merry Christmas for those who celebrate Christmas or, to my Muslim readers Eid Mubarak for Eid al Adha, or for the rest of you just enjoy the Summer break – unless you are in the wintry North, in which case it is a Winter break.1

I may post if there is anything particularly interesting over the holidays, otherwise, see you in the new year.

Lets all hope 2008 starts better than 2007 looks like it may finish.

1. Trying to get all this right is a bit tricky.

We seem to be picking up quite a few regular visitors here, so if anyone would like to leave some general feedback or suggest topics for future posts (relevant to banking or risk management), please let us know.

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