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Euro area insurers and the low interest rate environment

Author

Listed:
  • Berdin, Elia
  • Kok, Christoffer
  • Mikkonen, Katri
  • Pancaro, Cosimo
  • Simon, Josep Maria Vendrell

Abstract

The current environment of protracted low interest rates poses major challenges to euro area insurance companies. This special feature discusses how a prolonged low-yield period might affect the profitability and the solvency of euro area insurers. In the article, it is argued that if interest rates were to stay low for a long time, this could have material implications for the profitability and the solvency of many insurers. However, it is also shown that the impact of low interest rates is likely to differ markedly across insurance companies depending on their business model and balance sheet structure. In particular, the impact is expected to be highest for small and medium-sized life insurers with large government bond portfolios and high guarantees to policyholders that reside in countries where these guarantees are rigid and where contracts embed a long time to maturity. JEL Classification: G00

Suggested Citation

  • Berdin, Elia & Kok, Christoffer & Mikkonen, Katri & Pancaro, Cosimo & Simon, Josep Maria Vendrell, 2015. "Euro area insurers and the low interest rate environment," Financial Stability Review, European Central Bank, vol. 2.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecb:fsrart:2015:0002:2
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    File URL: https://www.ecb.europa.eu//pub/pdf/fsr/art/ecb.fsrart201511_02.en.pdf
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Bonizzi, Bruno, 2017. "Institutional investors’ allocation to emerging markets: A panel approach to asset demand," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 47-64.
    2. Berdin, Elia & Pancaro, Cosimo & Kok Sørensen, Christoffer, 2016. "A stochastic forward-looking model to assess the profitability and solvency of European insurers," ICIR Working Paper Series 21/16, Goethe University Frankfurt, International Center for Insurance Regulation (ICIR).
    3. Patty Duijm & Ilke van Beveren, 2020. "Product diversification as a performance boosting strategy? Drivers and impact of diversification strategies in the property-liability insurance industry," DNB Working Papers 677, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Euro area insurers; low interest rate environment;

    JEL classification:

    • G00 - Financial Economics - - General - - - General

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