Our extension project proposal emerges primarily from our August 2009 project seminar about societal risk and security in an insurance and re-insurance perspective, and suggests four separate (but interdependent) initiatives: a seminar for contributors to a special issue of the Journal of Business Ethics, two public seminars about microinsurance and legal risk management respectively, and conducting and reporting a web-based survey about risk among insurance customers. Dialogue and networking across disci plines and across the academia/industry divide are important ingredients of this extension project.
All initiatives have a number of assumptions in common: The insurance business has a societal function and responsibility to increase societal security, for the largest number of individuals and groups, the best it can and wherever it can, in a financially sustainable fashion. An important additional function (related to the idealistic roots of insurance) consists in its unique technology based on and fos tering solidarity or mutual support among individuals as part of a community. There is a potential tension between surviving profitably in markets, and this idealistic heritage.
The Samrisk programme issues and topics offer an excellent starting point fo r a cross-sector dialogue about what the corporate social responsibilities of the insurance industry should be. While much of the dialogue naturally concerns Norway, we are also interested in considering a broader global definition of corporate social res ponsibility, and considering the example of possible involvement by insurance companies and consumers in the trend towards offering microinsurance with low premiums and limited coverage for poor and extremely vulnerable populations in developing countries with weak and impoverished states and minimal social security programmes