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Valuing variable annuities with guaranteed minimum lifetime withdrawal benefits

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  • Steinorth, Petra
  • Mitchell, Olivia S.

Abstract

Variable annuities with guaranteed minimum lifetime withdrawal benefits (VA/GLWB) offer retirees longevity protection, exposure to equity markets, and access to flexible withdrawals in emergencies. We model how risk-averse retirees optimally withdraw from the products, balancing returns and the embedded longevity protection. Assuming reasonable individual preferences, the resulting cash flow generates a Money’s Worth Ratio of around 0.9 for our stylized VA/GLWB in the post-crisis product, considerably lower than what was offered prior to 2008. Sensitivity analyses with respect to portfolio choice, mortality, fees, and guaranteed withdrawal rates show that MWRs range from 0.80 to 1.0, with the portfolio choice making the biggest difference. For most parameter choices, the utility value of the VA/GLWB exceeds that of a similar mutual fund, but it is less than for a fixed annuity. Interestingly, VA/GLWB withdrawals in early retirement can optimally exceed contract maximum withdrawals, despite the fact that this reduces future withdrawal guarantees.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:insuma:v:64:y:2015:i:c:p:246-258
    DOI: 10.1016/j.insmatheco.2015.04.001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Pavel V. Shevchenko & Xiaolin Luo, 2016. "A unified pricing of variable annuity guarantees under the optimal stochastic control framework," Papers 1605.00339, arXiv.org.
    2. Pavel V. Shevchenko & Xiaolin Luo, 2016. "A Unified Pricing of Variable Annuity Guarantees under the Optimal Stochastic Control Framework," Risks, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(3), pages 1-31, July.

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