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Life insurance demand under health shock risk

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  • Kraft, Holger
  • Schendel, Lorenz S.
  • Steffensen, Mogens
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    Abstract

    This paper studies the life cycle consumption-investment-insurance problem of a family. The wage earner faces the risk of a health shock that significantly increases his probability of dying. The family can buy term life insurance with realistic features. In particular, the available contracts are long term so that decisions are sticky and can only be revised at significant costs. Furthermore, a revision is only possible as long as the insured person is healthy. A second important and realistic feature of our model is that the labor income of the wage earner is unspanned. We document that the combination of unspanned labor income and the stickiness of insurance decisions reduces the insurance demand significantly. This is because an income shock induces the need to reduce the insurance coverage, since premia become less affordable. Since such a reduction is costly and families anticipate these potential costs, they buy less protection at all ages. In particular, young families stay away from life insurance markets altogether. --

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt in its series SAFE Working Paper Series with number 40.

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    Date of creation: 2014
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:safewp:40

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    Keywords: Health shocks; Portfolio choice; Term life insurance; Mortality risk; Labor income risk;

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    1. Ralph Koijen & Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh & Motohiro Yogo, 2011. "Health and Mortality Delta: Assessing the Welfare Cost of Household Insurance Choice," NBER Working Papers 17325, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Merton, Robert C, 1969. "Lifetime Portfolio Selection under Uncertainty: The Continuous-Time Case," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(3), pages 247-57, August.
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    4. Richard, Scott F., 1975. "Optimal consumption, portfolio and life insurance rules for an uncertain lived individual in a continuous time model," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 187-203, June.
    5. Campbell, Ritchie A, 1980. " The Demand for Life Insurance: An Application of the Economics of Uncertainty," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 35(5), pages 1155-72, December.
    6. Huaxiong Huang & Moshe A. Milevsky & Thomas S. Salisbury, 2012. "Optimal retirement consumption with a stochastic force of mortality," Papers 1205.2295, arXiv.org.
    7. David A. Love, 2010. "The Effects of Marital Status and Children on Savings and Portfolio Choice," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(1), pages 385-432, January.
    8. R. C. Merton, 1970. "Optimum Consumption and Portfolio Rules in a Continuous-time Model," Working papers 58, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    9. Merton, Robert C., 1975. "Theory of Finance from the Perspective of Continuous Time," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(04), pages 659-674, November.
    10. Pliska, Stanley R. & Ye, Jinchun, 2007. "Optimal life insurance purchase and consumption/investment under uncertain lifetime," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 1307-1319, May.
    11. Jay H. Hong & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 2004. "Life insurance and household consumption," Working Papers 04-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    12. Huang, Huaxiong & Milevsky, Moshe A. & Salisbury, Thomas S., 2012. "Optimal retirement consumption with a stochastic force of mortality," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 282-291.
    13. Huaxiong Huang & Moshe A. Milevsky & Jin Wang, 2008. "Portfolio Choice and Life Insurance: The CRRA Case," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 75(4), pages 847-872.
    14. Bruhn, Kenneth & Steffensen, Mogens, 2011. "Household consumption, investment and life insurance," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 315-325, May.
    15. Munk, Claus & Sørensen, Carsten, 2010. "Dynamic asset allocation with stochastic income and interest rates," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(3), pages 433-462, June.
    16. Cocco, João F. & Gomes, Francisco J., 2012. "Longevity risk, retirement savings, and financial innovation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(3), pages 507-529.
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