Multivariate probit models for conditional claim-types
This paper considers statistical modeling of the types of claim in a portfolio of insurance policies. For some classes of insurance contracts, in a particular period, it is possible to have a record of whether or not there is a claim on the policy, the types of claims made on the policy, and the amount of claims arising from each of the types. A typical example is automobile insurance where in the event of a claim, we are able to observe the amounts that arise from say injury to oneself, damage to one's own property, damage to a third party's property, and injury to a third party. Modeling the frequency and the severity components of the claims can be handled using traditional actuarial procedures. However, modeling the claim-type component is less known and in this paper, we recommend analyzing the distribution of these claim-types using multivariate probit models, which can be viewed as latent variable threshold models for the analysis of multivariate binary data. A recent article by Valdez and Frees [Valdez, E.A., Frees, E.W., Longitudinal modeling of Singapore motor insurance. University of New South Wales and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Working Paper. Dated 28 December 2005, available from: http://wwwdocs.fce.unsw.edu.au/actuarial/research/papers/2006/Valdez-Frees-2005.pdf] considered this decomposition to extend the traditional model by including the conditional claim-type component, and proposed the multinomial logit model to empirically estimate this component. However, it is well known in the literature that this type of model assumes independence across the different outcomes. We investigate the appropriateness of fitting a multivariate probit model to the conditional claim-type component in which the outcomes may in fact be correlated, with possible inclusion of important covariates. Our estimation results show that when the outcomes are correlated, the multinomial logit model produces substantially different predictions relative to the true predictions; and second, through a simulation analysis, we find that even in ideal conditions under which the outcomes are independent, multinomial logit is still a poor approximation to the true underlying outcome probabilities relative to the multivariate probit model. The results of this paper serve to highlight the trade-off between tractability and flexibility when choosing the appropriate model.
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