Catastrophe Futures

DEFINITION of 'Catastrophe Futures'

Catastrophe futures are futures contracts traded on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT). These futures contracts are used by insurance companies to protect themselves against future catastrophe losses. The value of a catastophe futures contract is equal to $25,000 multiplied by the catastrophe ratio for the quarter. The catastrophe ratio is a numerical value proided by the CBOT every quarter.

BREAKING DOWN 'Catastrophe Futures'

Catastrophe futures started trading on the Chicago Board of Trading (CBOT) in 1992. The value of a catastrophe future contracts increase when catastrophe losses are high and decrease when catastrophe losses are low. In the event of a catastrophe, if losses are high, the value of the contract goes up and the insurer makes a gain that hopefully offsets whatever losses that might be incurred. The reverse is also true. If catastrophe losses are lower than expected, the value of the contract decreases and the insurer (buyer) loses money.