January 27, 2006
Oscar Serbein, expert on risk management and insurance, dead at 86
Oscar N. Serbein Jr., a professor emeritus at the Stanford Graduate School of Business who specialized in risk management and insurance, died on Jan. 21 at his home in Fullerton, Calif. He was 86.
Born in Collins, Iowa, in 1919, Serbein earned his Ph.D. in 1951 from Columbia University. He also received a bachelor's degree, with highest distinction, in 1940 and a master's degree in 1941 from the University of Iowa.
He began his academic career in 1951, when he joined the Columbia University faculty as a statistics professor. Serbein accepted an appointment as professor of insurance at the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1959 and taught courses in insurance, risk management, operations, decision sciences and estate planning. He served as the director of the doctoral program in the school from 1960 to 1964 and as the director of the Insurance Case Research Project from 1966 to 1970. He became an emeritus professor in 1989.
Serbein is the author of Paying for Medical Care in the United States (1953) and Educational Activities of Business (1961). With John H. Magee, he co-authored Property and Liability Insurance (1967) and, with Mark R. Greene, Risk Management Text and Cases (1978). He also served as editor of the Series in Risk and Insurance (John Wiley and Sons Inc., 1966-81).
Throughout his career, Serbein took on many different roles, including serving as a member of the Stanford University Committee on Faculty and Staff Affairs from 1970 to 1976 and, later, as its chairman (1978-81). He also participated as a member of the University Risk Management Committee and of the University Committee on Earthquake Financing in 1986-87.
He served in the U.S. Army Air Corps from 1942 to 1946, attaining the rank of major in the Air Weather Service.
Serbein is survived by his wife of 53 years, Alice; daughter Mary Parker; son John; and two granddaughters, Kristin and Kelly Parker. He will be interred at Skylawn Memorial Park, San Mateo, Calif.