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Moral Hazard in Reinsurance Markets

  • Neil Doherty
  • Kent Smetters

This article attempts to identify moral hazard in the traditional reinsurance market. We build a multiperiod principal-agent model of the reinsurance transaction from which we derive predictions on premium design, monitoring, loss control, and insurer risk retention. We then use panel data on U.S. property liability reinsurance to test the model. The empirical results are consistent with the model's predictions. In particular, we find evidence for the use of loss-sensitive premiums when the insurer and reinsurer are not affiliates (i.e., not part of the same financial group), but little or no use of monitoring. In contrast, we find evidence for the extensive use of monitoring when the insurer and reinsurer are affiliates, where monitoring costs are lower. Copyright The Journal of Risk and Insurance.

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File URL: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1539-6975.2005.00129.x
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Article provided by The American Risk and Insurance Association in its journal The Journal of Risk and Insurance.

Volume (Year): 72 (2005)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 375-391

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jrinsu:v:72:y:2005:i:3:p:375-391
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  1. Bengt Holmstrom, 1979. "Moral Hazard and Observability," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 74-91, Spring.
  2. Cremer, Jacques, 1995. "Arm's Length Relationships," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(2), pages 275-95, May.
  3. Greenwald, Bruce C & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1990. "Asymmetric Information and the New Theory of the Firm: Financial Constraints and Risk Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 160-65, May.
  4. Franklin Allen & Douglas Gale, 1995. "Financial markets, intermediaries, and intertemporal smoothing," Working Papers 95-4, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  5. Froot, Kenneth A. & O'Connell, Paul G.J., 2008. "On the pricing of intermediated risks: Theory and application to catastrophe reinsurance," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 69-85, January.
  6. Kenneth A. Froot & David S. Scharfstein & Jeremy C. Stein, 1992. "Risk Management: Coordinating Corporate Investment and Financing Policies," NBER Working Papers 4084, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Keith J. Crocker & John Morgan, 1998. "Is Honesty the Best Policy? Curtailing Insurance Fraud through Optimal Incentive Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(2), pages 355-375, April.
  8. Bond, Eric W. & Crocker, Keith J., 1997. "Hardball and the soft touch: The economics of optimal insurance contracts with costly state verification and endogenous monitoring costs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 239-264, January.
  9. Richard A. Lambert, 1983. "Long-Term Contracts and Moral Hazard," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 441-452, Autumn.
  10. Jewitt, Ian, 1988. "Justifying the First-Order Approach to Principal-Agent Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1177-90, September.
  11. Randall Geehan, 1977. "Returns to Scale in the Life Insurance Industry," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 8(2), pages 497-514, Autumn.
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