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Catastrophe Bonds, Reinsurance, and the Optimal Collateralization of Risk-Transfer

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  • Darius Lakdawalla
  • George Zanjani

Abstract

Catastrophe bonds feature full collateralization of the underlying risk transfer, and thus abandon the insurance principle of economizing on collateral through diversification. We examine the theoretical foundations beneath this paradox, finding that fully collateralized instruments have important uses in a risk transfer market when insurers cannot contract completely over the division of assets in the event of insolvency, and, more generally, cannot write contracts with a full menu of state-contingent payments. In this environment, insureds have different levels of exposure to an insurer's default. When contracting constraints limit the insurer's ability to smooth out such differences, catastrophe bonds can be used to deliver coverage to those most exposed to default. We demonstrate how catastrophe bonds can improve welfare in this way by mitigating differences in default exposure, which arise with: (1) contractual incompleteness, and (2) heterogeneity among insureds, which undermines the efficiency of the mechanical pro rata division of assets that takes place in the event of insurer insolvency.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12742.

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Date of creation: Dec 2006
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12742

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  1. Niehaus, Greg, 2002. "The allocation of catastrophe risk," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(2-3), pages 585-596, March.
  2. Froot, Kenneth A., 2001. "The market for catastrophe risk: a clinical examination," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2-3), pages 529-571, May.
  3. Dwight Jaffee, 2006. "Monoline Restrictions, with Applications to Mortgage Insurance and Title Insurance," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 28(2), pages 83-108, 03.
  4. Silke Brandts, 2005. "ART versus reinsurance: the disciplining effect of information insensitivity," FMG Discussion Papers dp545, Financial Markets Group.
  5. Mayers, David & Smith, Clifford W, Jr, 1983. "The Interdependence of Individual Portfolio Decisions and the Demand for Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(2), pages 304-11, April.
  6. Robert E. Hoyt & Kathleen A. McCullough, 1999. "Catastrophe Insurance Options: Are They Zero-Beta Assets?," Journal of Insurance Issues, Western Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 22(2), pages 147-163.
  7. 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.
  8. Zanjani, George, 2002. "Pricing and capital allocation in catastrophe insurance," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 283-305, August.
  9. Doherty, Neil A & Schlesinger, Harris, 1990. "Rational Insurance Purchasing: Consideration of Contract Nonperformance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(1), pages 243-53, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Antonio Coviello & Giovanni Di Trapani, 2013. "Supply Risk Management: Mitigation Strategy," The International Journal of Economic Behavior - IJEB, Faculty of Business and Administration, University of Bucharest, vol. 3(1), pages 169-176, December.
  2. Tse-Ling Teh & Alan Martina, 2008. "Developing Countries Spreading Covariant Risk Into International Risk Markets: Subsidised Catastrophe Bonds Or Reinsurance, Or Disaster Assistance?," ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics 2008-492, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics.
  3. 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.
  4. Biffis, Enrico & Blake, David & Pitotti, Lorenzo & Sun, Ariel, 2011. "The cost of counterparty risk and collateralization in longevity swaps," MPRA Paper 35740, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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