Fixed and variable costs

1.Why is it important to distinguish between fixed and variable costs?

2. Your firm, which operates a nationwide system of cancer clinics, has annual profits of $800 million and cash reserves of $500 million. Your clinics have a replacement value of $200 million, and fire insurance for them would cost $5 million per year. Actuarial data show that your expected losses due to fire are $4 million. Should you buy insurance?

3. Your house is worth $200,000. Your risk of a catastrophic flood is 0.5 percent. Such a flood would destroy your house and would not be covered by homeowner’s insurance. Although you grumble, you buy flood coverage for $1,200. Are you risk averse or risk seeking?

4. Kim and Pat underwrite insurance. Each underwrites 50 accounts per month. Each account takes four hours to underwrite. The value of their time is $40 per hour. Monthly costs for each are $1,500 for an office, $2,000 for a receptionist, and $2,400 for a secretary. Calculate the average and incremental cost per case for Kim and Pat.

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