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Are non-risk based capital requirements for insurance companies binding?

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  • de Haan, Leo
  • Kakes, Jan

Abstract

We investigate whether insurers base their solvency margins on risk factors even when operating under a supervisory regime where minimum solvency requirements do not fully take such risk factors into account. To do this, we use a dataset of about 350 Dutch insurers from all major lines of business during the pre-Solvency II period 1995-2005. We find that the levels of insurers' actual solvency margins are related to their risk characteristics and not to regulatory solvency requirements. Consequently, the vast majority of insurers hold much more capital than required, i.e. non-risk based capital requirements generally are not binding. Requirements are found to affect solvency adjustment behaviour, though. More specifically, below-target capital ratios are raised most rapidly by those insurers whose targets are relatively close to the regulatory minimum. One implication from our results is that, because insurers already follow a risk-based approach, the transition to the new European regulatory framework, Solvency II, is likely to be smooth.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Banking & Finance.

Volume (Year): 34 (2010)
Issue (Month): 7 (July)
Pages: 1618-1627

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jbfina:v:34:y:2010:i:7:p:1618-1627

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Keywords: Insurance companies Capital structure Solvency requirements;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. de Haan, Leo & Kakes, Jan, 2011. "Momentum or contrarian investment strategies: Evidence from Dutch institutional investors," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(9), pages 2245-2251, September.
  2. Pasiouras, Fotios & Gaganis, Chrysovalantis, 2013. "Regulations and soundness of insurance firms: International evidence," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 66(5), pages 632-642.
  3. Hakenes, Hendrik & Schnabel, Isabel, 2005. "Bank Size and Risk-Taking under Basel II," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 05-07, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  4. Fier, Stephen G. & McCullough, Kathleen A. & Carson, James M., 2013. "Internal capital markets and the partial adjustment of leverage," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 1029-1039.
  5. Selim Mankaï & Aymen Belgacem, 2013. "Interactions Between Risk-Taking, Capital, and Reinsurance for Property-Liability Insurance Firms," EconomiX Working Papers 2013-23, University of Paris West - Nanterre la Défense, EconomiX.
  6. Bjoern Hagendorff & Jens Hagendorff & Kevin Keasey, 2013. "The Shareholder Wealth Effects of Insurance Securitization: Preliminary Evidence from the Catastrophe Bond Market," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer, vol. 44(3), pages 281-301, December.
  7. Hagendorff, Bjoern & Hagendorff, Jens & Keasey, Kevin & Gonzalez, Angelica, 2014. "The risk implications of insurance securitization: The case of catastrophe bonds," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 387-402.
  8. Irene Albarrán & J. Miguel Marín & Pablo J. Alonso, 2011. "Why using a general model in Solvency II is not a good idea : an explanation from a Bayesian point of view," Statistics and Econometrics Working Papers ws113729, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Estadística y Econometría.

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