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Systemic Risk and The U.S. Insurance Sector


  • J. David Cummins
  • Mary A. Weiss


type="main" xml:lang="en"> This article examines the potential for the U.S. insurance industry to cause systemic risk events that spill over to other segments of the economy. We examine primary indicators of systemic risk as well as contributing factors that exacerbate vulnerability to systemic events. Evaluation of systemic risk is based on a detailed financial analysis of the insurance industry, its role in the economy, and the interconnectedness of insurers. The primary conclusion is that the core activities of U.S. insurers do not pose systemic risk. However, life insurers are vulnerable to intrasector crises, and both life and property–casualty insurers are vulnerable to reinsurance crises. Noncore activities such as financial guarantees and derivatives trading may cause systemic risk, and interconnectedness among financial institutions has grown significantly in recent years. To reduce systemic risk from noncore activities, regulators need to continue efforts to strengthen mechanisms for insurance group supervision.

Suggested Citation

  • J. David Cummins & Mary A. Weiss, 2014. "Systemic Risk and The U.S. Insurance Sector," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 81(3), pages 489-528, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jrinsu:v:81:y:2014:i:3:p:489-528

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:reveco:v:55:y:2018:i:c:p:273-284 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Biener, Christian & Eling, Martin & Jia, Ruo, 2017. "The structure of the global reinsurance market: An analysis of efficiency, scale, and scope," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 213-229.
    3. Philippe Deprez & Mario V. Wüthrich, 2016. "Macroprudential Insurance Regulation: A Swiss Case Study," Risks, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(4), pages 1-30, December.
    4. repec:hal:journl:halshs-01169516 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. G. Hauton & J.-C. Héam, 2014. "How to Measure Interconnectedness between Banks, Insurers and Financial Conglomerates?," Débats économiques et financiers 15, Banque de France.
    6. Bierth, Christopher & Irresberger, Felix & Weiß, Gregor N.F., 2015. "Systemic risk of insurers around the globe," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 232-245.
    7. Bijlsma, Melle & Vermeulen, Robert, 2016. "Insurance companies’ trading behaviour during the European sovereign debt crisis: Flight home or flight to quality?," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 137-154.
    8. Dungey, Mardi & Harvey, John & Volkov, Vladimir, 2017. "The changing international network of sovereign debt and financial institutions," Working Papers 2017-04, University of Tasmania, Tasmanian School of Business and Economics.
    9. Guochen Pan & Jingyan Guo & Qiaoling Jing, 2016. "The Relationship between Insurance Industry and Banking Sector in China: Asymmetric Granger Causality Test," Journal for Economic Forecasting, Institute for Economic Forecasting, vol. 0(2), pages 114-127, June.
    10. repec:eee:riibaf:v:42:y:2017:i:c:p:224-232 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Kubitza, Christian & Gründl, Helmut, 2016. "Systemic risk: Time-lags and persistence," ICIR Working Paper Series 20/16, Goethe University Frankfurt, International Center for Insurance Regulation (ICIR).
    12. Elia Berdin & Matteo Sottocornola, 2015. "Assessing Systemic Risk of the European Insurance Industry," EIOPA Financial Stability Report - Thematic Articles 6, EIOPA, Risks and Financial Stability Department.
    13. Kubitza, Christian & Regele, Fabian, 2017. "Persistence of insurance activities and financial stability," ICIR Working Paper Series 30/17, Goethe University Frankfurt, International Center for Insurance Regulation (ICIR).
    14. Berdin, Elia & Sottocornolay, Matteo, 2015. "Insurance activities and systemic risk," ICIR Working Paper Series 19/15, Goethe University Frankfurt, International Center for Insurance Regulation (ICIR).
    15. Biener, Christian & Eling, Martin & Jia, Ruo, 2016. "The Roles of Industry Idiosyncrasy, Cost Efficiency, and Risk in Internationalization: Evidence from the Insurance Industry," Working Papers on Finance 1602, University of St. Gallen, School of Finance.
    16. Peter Martey Addo, 2015. "Coupling direction of the European Banking and Insurance sectors using inter-system recurrence networks," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 15051, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
    17. Ralph S.J. Koijen & Motohiro Yogo, 2017. "Risk of Life Insurers: Recent Trends and Transmission Mechanisms," NBER Working Papers 23365, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Mühlnickel, Janina & Weiß, Gregor N.F., 2015. "Consolidation and systemic risk in the international insurance industry," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 18(C), pages 187-202.
    19. Berdin, Elia & Sottocornola, Matteo, 2015. "Insurance activities and systemic risk," SAFE Working Paper Series 121, Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt.
    20. Irresberger, Felix & Bierth, Christopher & Weiß, Gregor N.F., 2017. "Size is everything: Explaining SIFI designations," Review of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 7-19.
    21. repec:pal:gpprii:v:43:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1057_s41288-017-0049-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. repec:eee:riibaf:v:44:y:2018:i:c:p:49-63 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. Kasinger, Johannes & Pelizzon, Loriana, 2018. "Financial stability in the EU: A case for micro data transparency," SAFE Policy Letters 67, Goethe University Frankfurt, Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe.

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