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Housing, Health, and Annuities


  • Thomas Davidoff


Annuities, long-term care insurance (LTCI), and reverse mortgages appear to offer important consumption smoothing benefits to the elderly, yet private markets for these products are small. A prominent idea is to combine LTCI and annuities to alleviate both supply (selection) and demand (liquidity) problems in these markets. This article shows that if consumers typically liquidate home equity only in the event of illness or very old age, then LTCI and annuities become less attractive and may become substitutes rather than complements. The reason is that the marginal utility of wealth drops when an otherwise illiquid home is sold, an event correlated with the payouts of both annuities and LTCI. Simulations confirm that demand for LTCI and annuities is highly sensitive to the liquidity and magnitude of home equity. Copyright (c) The Journal of Risk and Insurance, 2009.

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  • Thomas Davidoff, 2009. "Housing, Health, and Annuities," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 76(1), pages 31-52.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jrinsu:v:76:y:2009:i:1:p:31-52

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    9. Alexis Direr, 2010. "Flexible Life Annuities," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 12(1), pages 43-55, February.
    10. Lina Walker, 2004. "Elderly Households and Housing Wealth: Do They Use It or Lose It?," Working Papers wp070, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
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    14. David C. Webb, 2009. "Asymmetric Information, Long-Term Care Insurance, and Annuities: The Case for Bundled Contracts," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 76(1), pages 53-85.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tian Zhou-Richter & Mark J. Browne & Helmut Gründl, 2010. "Don't They Care? Or, Are They Just Unaware? Risk Perception and the Demand for Long-Term Care Insurance," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 77(4), pages 715-747.
    2. Martin Boyer & Philippe De Donder & Claude Fluet & Marie-Louise Leroux & Pierre-Carl Michaud, 2017. "Long-Term Care Insurance: Knowledge Barriers, Risk Perception and Adverse Selection," NBER Working Papers 23918, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Engelhardt, Gary V. & Greenhalgh-Stanley, Nadia, 2010. "Home health care and the housing and living arrangements of the elderly," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 226-238, March.
    4. Christiansen, Marcus & Eling, Martin & Schmidt, Jan-Philipp & Zirkelbach, Lorenz, 2012. "Who is Changing Health Insurance Coverage? Empirical Evidence on Policyholder Dynamics," Working Papers on Finance 1223, University of St. Gallen, School of Finance.
    5. James Poterba & Steven Venti & David Wise, 2011. "The Composition and Drawdown of Wealth in Retirement," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(4), pages 95-118, Fall.
    6. Steinorth, Petra & Mitchell, Olivia S., 2015. "Valuing variable annuities with guaranteed minimum lifetime withdrawal benefits," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 246-258.
    7. Katja Hanewald & Michael Sherris, 2013. "Postcode-Level House Price Models for Banking and Insurance Applications," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 89(286), pages 411-425, September.
    8. Davidoff, Thomas & Gerhard, Patrick & Post, Thomas, 2017. "Reverse mortgages: What homeowners (don’t) know and how it matters," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 133(C), pages 151-171.
    9. Katja Hanewald & Michael Sherris, 2011. "House Price Risk Models for Banking and Insurance Applications," Working Papers 201118, ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR), Australian School of Business, University of New South Wales.
    10. repec:bla:jrinsu:v:84:y:2017:i:s1:p:319-343 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Katja Hanewald & Thomas Post & Michael Sherris, 2016. "Portfolio Choice in Retirement—What is The Optimal Home Equity Release Product?," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 83(2), pages 421-446, June.
    12. Jason Brown & Mark Warshawsky, 2013. "The Life Care Annuity: A New Empirical Examination of an Insurance Innovation That Addresses Problems in the Markets for Life Annuities and Long-Term Care Insurance," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 80(3), pages 677-704, September.
    13. Schendel, Lorenz S., 2014. "Critical illness insurance in life cycle portfolio problems," SAFE Working Paper Series 44, Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt.

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