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Insurances for human capital risk management in SMEs

Irinja Mäenpää (Department of Industrial Management, Tampere University of Technology, Tampere, Finland)
Raimo Voutilainen (Nordea Life Assurance Finland Ltd, Helsinki, Finland)


ISSN: 0305-5728

Article publication date: 10 February 2012




The purpose of this paper is to analyse how insurances can be used in the management of human capital risks. The issue is highlighted in the context of small and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs).


Building on literature on intellectual liabilities, the paper provides a comprehensive picture of human capital related risks, emphasising their effects on SMEs. The issue is analysed empirically through a qualitative case study of an insurance company.


The paper divides the identified human capital risks into insurable and uninsurable risks, determining a specific insurance solution for each insurable risk. Based on the results, pension, accident, health, life, liability and crime insurances are the most useful types of insurances for the management of human capital risks.

Research limitations/implications

The generalisability of the findings is limited by the methodological choice. As the study is conducted from the viewpoint of an insurance provider, it does not consider the effectiveness of the suggested insurances in practice. Thus, more empirical studies on the approach are called for.

Practical implications

This paper creates a basis for the better recognition of the various human capital risks in companies and describes how insurances can be applied for the management of these risks.


In addition to considering human capital risks as an entity, the paper contributes to the research on knowledge asset protection by examining a practical risk management method for these risks. According to the authors' knowledge, insurances have not been introduced in this context before.



Mäenpää, I. and Voutilainen, R. (2012), "Insurances for human capital risk management in SMEs", VINE, Vol. 42 No. 1, pp. 52-66.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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