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1.4.1 Speculative and Pure Risks

Insurance provides protection from the exposure to hazards and the probability of loss. Risk is defined as the possibility of loss or injury, and insurance is concerned with the degree of probability of loss or injury. We're now going to unravel the complexity of speculative risks and pure risks.

Risk = Possibility of loss

Insurance = Probability of loss

Only pure risks are insurable because they involve only the chance of loss. They are pure in the sense that they do not mix both profits and losses. Insurance is concerned with the economic problems created by pure risks. Speculative risks are not insurable.

Both speculative risk and pure risk involve the possibility of loss. However, speculative risk also involves the possibility of gain as well - even if there is no loss. In order to understand why, you will need to understand the difference between the two.

Investing in the stock market is an example of a speculative risk. One can only speculate on whether the investment will produce a profit or a loss. Insuring an automobile is an example of pure risk. If the insured auto is involved in an auto accident, there is most definitely going to be some sort of damage (loss). On the other hand if no accident occurs, there is no possibility of gain. And that's the difference.

Speculative risks involve the possibility of loss and gain.

Pure risks involve the possibility of loss only.