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The Costs and Benefits of Reinsurance

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Abstract

Purchasing reinsurance reduces insurers’ insolvency risk by stabilizing loss experience, increasing capacity, limiting liability on specific risks, and/or protecting against catastrophes. Consequently, reinsurance purchase should reduce capital costs. However, transferring risk to reinsurers is expensive. The cost of reinsurance for an insurer can be much larger than the actuarial price of the risk transferred. In this article, we analyze empirically the costs and the benefits of reinsurance for a sample of U.S. property-liability insurers. The results show that reinsurance purchase increases significantly the insurers’ costs but reduces significantly the volatility of the loss ratio. With purchasing reinsurance, insurers accept to pay higher costs of insurance production to reduce their underwriting risk.

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File URL: http://www.hec.ca/iea/cahiers/2008/iea0804_rgagne.pdf
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Paper provided by HEC Montréal, Institut d'économie appliquée in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 08-04.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iea:carech:0804

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Postal: Institut d'économie appliquée HEC Montréal 3000, Chemin de la Côte-Sainte-Catherine Montréal, Québec H3T 2A7
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Related research

Keywords: reinsurance; insolvency risk; risk management; financial intermediation; cost functions; panel data.;

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References

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  1. Cassandra R. Cole & Kathleen A. McCullough, 2006. "A Reexamination of the Corporate Demand for Reinsurance," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 73(1), pages 169-192.
  2. Allen N. Berger & David B. Humphrey, 1997. "Efficiency of financial institutions: international survey and directions for future research," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1997-11, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. Marek Kaluszka & Andrzej Okolewski, 2008. "An Extension of Arrow's Result on Optimal Reinsurance Contract," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 75(2), pages 275-288.
  4. Kenneth A. Froot, 1999. "The Market for Catastrophe Risk: A Clinical Examination," NBER Working Papers 7286, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Dionne, Georges & Gagne, Robert & Vanasse, Charles, 1998. "Inferring technological parameters from incomplete panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 303-327, September.
  6. Hoerger, Thomas J & Sloan, Frank A & Hassan, Mahmud, 1990. " Loss Volatility, Bankruptcy, and the Demand for Reinsurance," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 3(3), pages 221-45, September.
  7. Adams, Mike & Hardwick, Philip & Zou, Hong, 2008. "Reinsurance and corporate taxation in the United Kingdom life insurance industry," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 101-115, January.
  8. Richard D. Phillips & J. David Cummins & Franklin Allen, 1996. "Financial Pricing of Insurance in the Multiple Line Insurance Company," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 96-09, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  9. J. David Cummins & Mary A. Weiss, 1998. "Analyzing Firm Performance in the Insurance Industry Using Frontier Efficiency Methods," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 98-22, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  10. Ursina B. Meier & J. François Outreville, 2006. "Business cycles in insurance and reinsurance: the case of France, Germany and Switzerland," Journal of Risk Finance, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 7(2), pages 160-176, March.
  11. Doherty, Neil A & Dionne, Georges, 1993. " Insurance with Undiversifiable Risk: Contract Structure and Organizational Form of Insurance Firms," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 6(2), pages 187-203, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Elena Veprauskaite & Michael Sherris, 2012. "An Analysis of Reinsurance Optimisation in Life," Working Papers 201204, ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR), Australian School of Business, University of New South Wales.
  2. J. David Cummins & Georges Dionne & Robert Gagné & Abdelhakim Nouira, 2006. "Efficiency of Insurance Firms with Endogenous Risk Management and Financial Intermediation Activities," Cahiers de recherche 0616, CIRPEE.

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