May 04, 2023 — Zach Wawrzyniak, University of Houston Law Center 3L, was awarded first place by the State Bar of Texas in the Law Student Writing Competition in insurance law. Delving into the emerging trends of insurance and its reshaping of risk management, his article explains the nuances of parametric policies and the regulatory challenges that they present.
“Recommending Zach to apply for the scholarship was honestly a no-brainer,” said Seth Chandler, Law Foundation Professor, UH Law Center. “My insurance law class required a paper, and he'd run with a weird and new beast called parametric Insurance. It required him to think about very practical matters such as how to provide rapid coverage to businesses and nations against catastrophic losses, but it also forced him to contend with the very nature of insurance itself and how government should regulate it.
“His outstanding research, organization and writing shone in something off the beaten track, and I am very glad that the judges recognized his exceptional talent.”
Wawrzyniak received a $4,000 scholarship and was praised for an innovative approach to measuring climate-related risk. Detailing the regulatory conditions surrounding parametric insurance and its potential to transform the insurance industry, “Parametric Perils: Regulation of Parametric Insurance,” discusses the enabling of insurers to transfer environmental and weather-related risk away from consumers.
“In a lot of insurance law, one of the concepts is that they don’t want it to be like gambling,” Wawrzyniak said. “With parametric insurance, however, there is that risk, and it does begin to look like gambling. … For my article, I researched and went more in-depth into that idea.”
Wawrzyniak, who is a U.S. Air Force veteran, is engaged in multiple organizations at the Law Center, serving as the Senior Notes and Comments Editor for the Houston Business and Tax Law Journal and competing with the National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition Team. He also serves as an associate board member of the Advocates.
“I am very happy to receive the award and to receive recognition for all of my hard work,” Wawrzyniak said. “The scholarship is only for Texas law schools, and I am very grateful that Professor Chandler suggested that I submit my paper to the competition.”
Wawrzyniak is looking forward to exploring the diversity of insurance in his second career and will start a position as an associate with Mayer Brown in the fall after receiving bar results.
“Honestly, I wish I had applied for more scholarships after winning this one,” Wawrzyniak said. “If I went on to figure out my hourly rate for writing my paper — I bet it would be really good. I wish I had applied for more.”
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