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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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Suggested Citation

  • Darius Lakdawalla & George Zanjani, 2012. "Catastrophe Bonds, Reinsurance, and the Optimal Collateralization of Risk Transfer," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 79(2), pages 449-476, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jrinsu:v:79:y:2012:i:2:p:449-476
    DOI: j.1539-6975.2011.01425.x
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1539-6975.2011.01425.x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Silke Brandts, 2005. "ART versus reinsurance: the disciplining effect of information insensitivity," FMG Discussion Papers dp545, Financial Markets Group.
    3. Dwight Jaffee, 2006. "Monoline Restrictions, with Applications to Mortgage Insurance and Title Insurance," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 28(2), pages 83-108, March.
    4. 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 304-311, April.
    5. Zanjani, George, 2002. "Pricing and capital allocation in catastrophe insurance," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 283-305, August.
    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. Neil A. Doherty & Harris Schlesinger, 1990. "Rational Insurance Purchasing: Consideration of Contract Nonperformance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(1), pages 243-253.
    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. Niehaus, Greg, 2002. "The allocation of catastrophe risk," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(2-3), pages 585-596, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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;Western Finance Association, vol. 44(3), pages 281-301, December.
    2. J. David Cummins & Mary A. Weiss, 2009. "Convergence of Insurance and Financial Markets: Hybrid and Securitized Risk-Transfer Solutions," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 76(3), pages 493-545.
    3. Enrico Biffis & David Blake & Lorenzo Pitotti & Ariel Sun, 2016. "The Cost of Counterparty Risk and Collateralization in Longevity Swaps," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 83(2), pages 387-419, June.
    4. 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.
    5. repec:pdc:jrnbeh:v:14:y:2018:i:2:p:256-267 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Gibson, Rajna & Habib, Michel A. & Ziegler, Alexandre, 2014. "Reinsurance or securitization: The case of natural catastrophe risk," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 79-100.
    7. repec:pal:gpprii:v:42:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1057_s41288-017-0064-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Dionne, Georges & Harrington, Scott, 2017. "Insurance and Insurance Markets," Working Papers 17-2, HEC Montreal, Canada Research Chair in Risk Management.
    9. Rustam Ibragimov & Dwight Jaffee & Johan Walden, 2010. "Pricing and Capital Allocation for Multiline Insurance Firms," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 77(3), pages 551-578.
    10. Loris Lino Maria Nadotti & Laura-Gabriela Constantin, 2014. "Catastrophe Bonds Structures at European Level – A Cluster Analysis Approach," Romanian Economic Journal, Department of International Business and Economics from the Academy of Economic Studies Bucharest, vol. 17(54), pages 115-141, December.
    11. Lo, Chien-Ling & Lee, Jin-Ping & Yu, Min-Teh, 2013. "Valuation of insurers’ contingent capital with counterparty risk and price endogeneity," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 5025-5035.
    12. 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.
    13. Silke Finken & Christian Laux, 2009. "Catastrophe Bonds and Reinsurance: The Competitive Effect of Information-Insensitive Triggers," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 76(3), pages 579-605.
    14. Daniel J. Clarke & Olivier Mahul & Richard Poulter & Tse-Ling Teh, 2017. "Evaluating Sovereign Disaster Risk Finance Strategies: A Framework," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan;The Geneva Association, vol. 42(4), pages 565-584, October.
    15. Hagendorff, Bjoern & Hagendorff, Jens & Keasey, Kevin & Gonzalez, Angelica, 2014. "The risk implications of insurance securitization: The case of catastrophe bonds," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 387-402.
    16. J. David Cummins & Philippe Trainar, 2009. "Securitization, Insurance, and Reinsurance," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 76(3), pages 463-492.
    17. repec:eee:insuma:v:82:y:2018:i:c:p:55-72 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies

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