Jessica Weinkle

science, risk, politics... and society

Journal Articles

Weinkle, Jessica, Landsea, C., Collins, D., Musulin, R., Crompton, R.P., Klotzbach, P.J., Pielke, Jr. R. (2018). Normalized hurricane damage in the continental United States 1900–2017.  Nature Sustainability. 

Weinkle, J. and Pielke Jr., R. (2018). Weather and Climate Damage StudiesOxford Bibliographies in Geography.

Weinkle, J. (2017). The New Political Importance of the Old Hurricane Risk: A contextual approach to understanding contemporary struggles with hurricane risk and insurance.  Journal of Risk Research.

Weinkle, J. and Pielke, Jr., R. 2017. The truthiness about hurricane catastrophe models. Science, Technology & Human Values. 42(4): 547-576.

Weinkle, J. 2015. A public policy analysis of Citizens Property Insurance Corporation. Journal of Insurance Regulation. 34(2): 1-34. 

Weinkle, J., Maue, R. and Pielke Jr., R. 2012.  Historical global tropical cyclone landfalls. Journal of Climate. 25: 4729- 4735.

Broad, K., Leiserowitz, A., Weinkle, J., and Steketee, M. 2007. Misinterpretations of the ‘Cone of Uncertainty’ in Florida during the 2004 Hurricane SeasonBulletin of the America Meteorological Society. 88(5): 651- 667.

In Progress

Weinkle, J. (in review). An Inside Job: The science and politics of estimating catastrophe risk for insurance.

There is substantial uncertainty in the amount of loss a state or nation faces from hurricane landfalls in any given year.  This uncertainty is exacerbated when considering climate change impacts.  Decision making about estimating loss and insurance pricing poses social value trade-offs.  The conventional wisdom holds that risk based insurance pricing provides a clear path for decision making about how to balance social value tradeoffs and allocate responsibility for risk.  The perspective holds that effective risk management through real risk pricing is hindered by public politics.  However, the conventional wisdom fails to acknowledge the political nature of science itself in all but the most simplistic of decision making contexts.  Through historical context and brief case studies of hurricane risk science for insurance, this article illustrates the intimate relationship between the insurance industry and scientific researchers largely assumed to be external to the industry.  The extent to which the insurance industry directs, funds and validates the production and use of science for estimating risk is a full blown political enterprise.  The research effort prioritizes the interests of the industry in developing understanding of hurricane risk and potentially narrows the discussion of disaster losses to the single solution of insurance pricing.

Weinkle, J. and Biddle, J. An appraisal of science advice in North Carolina.

In recent years, several scientific controversies arose in North Carolina- some of them making national headlines. Why did these controversies become so large? What role did science advisory panels take? What did policymakers expect from their science advisory panels? How can we make sure the future of science advice in North Carolina remains sound and in line with democratic processes? This work takes the form of a policy appraisal of science advice to the NC Department of Environmental Quality.

Weinkle, J., Kinzer, K., and Halls, J. The relationship between wealth and flood risk over time.

Every new flood even results in acrimonious public debate about the cost of flood insurance. In Congress, legislators often invoke homeowner wealth as a reason for or against adjusting national flood insurance costs. What is the relationship between wealth and flood risk in the United States over time. This work uses GIS mapping methods of analysis to investigate the complexities of wealth and flood risk in the nation.

Weinkle, J. Climate science, Insurance and Societal Outcomes.

In the early 1990’s, hurricane losses stirred insurer interest in catastrophe modeling while Federal funding of science became increasingly constrained and policymakers showed increasing skepticism that predictive climate science (and predictive science more generally) could resolve society’s most pressing problems. In turn, the scientific enterprise and the insurance industry became closely entwined with scientists needing to make their work relevant and insurers needing ways to harness their models to manage risk and compete effectively in the market. What is the result of this relationship for society? What are the benefits and drawbacks of a tightly coupled scientific and insurance industry relationship? This work revisits earlier critiques of the social outcomes of predictive climate science and extends these concerns to current challenges in managing insurance regimes and economic development.


The looming trade war exposes a dependence on industrial farming. News & Observer. April 12, 2018.

Keepin' it real. Socializing Finance Blog. August 24, 2016

Science panels must stick to facts, not advocacy. Wilmington Star News. August 17, 2016

The Super Bowl's New Money.  Socializing Finance Blog. February 2016.

Why is US catastrophe insurance ratemaking SO political? Risk Frontiers Briefing Notes. May 2015.

When science meets politics. Wilmington Star News. January 31, 2015.

An Average Perspective on Insurance Profitability Cycles. Insurance Journal. October 6, 2014.

Understanding and managing model risk for reinsurance and ILS. Artemis Blog. September 25, 2014.

Universities do more than just prepare students for jobs. The Daily Camera. April 13, 2014.

Florida insurance rate lies: Why not drink the Kool-aid?  Sun Sentinel- Palm Beach edition. September 21, 2014.


Weinkle, J. 2013. The Prediction Racket: Characterizing, Constructing and Governing Florida's Hurricane Risk. University of Colorado Boulder.