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Are non-risk based capital requirements for insurance companies binding?

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  • de Haan, Leo
  • Kakes, Jan

Abstract

We investigate whether insurers base their solvency margins on risk factors even when operating under a supervisory regime where minimum solvency requirements do not fully take such risk factors into account. To do this, we use a dataset of about 350 Dutch insurers from all major lines of business during the pre-Solvency II period 1995-2005. We find that the levels of insurers' actual solvency margins are related to their risk characteristics and not to regulatory solvency requirements. Consequently, the vast majority of insurers hold much more capital than required, i.e. non-risk based capital requirements generally are not binding. Requirements are found to affect solvency adjustment behaviour, though. More specifically, below-target capital ratios are raised most rapidly by those insurers whose targets are relatively close to the regulatory minimum. One implication from our results is that, because insurers already follow a risk-based approach, the transition to the new European regulatory framework, Solvency II, is likely to be smooth.

Suggested Citation

  • de Haan, Leo & Kakes, Jan, 2010. "Are non-risk based capital requirements for insurance companies binding?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(7), pages 1618-1627, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jbfina:v:34:y:2010:i:7:p:1618-1627
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    Cited by:

    1. Hakenes, Hendrik & Schnabel, Isabel, 2011. "Bank size and risk-taking under Basel II," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(6), pages 1436-1449, June.
    2. 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.
    3. Fier, Stephen G. & McCullough, Kathleen A. & Carson, James M., 2013. "Internal capital markets and the partial adjustment of leverage," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 1029-1039.
    4. Dionne, Georges & Harrington, Scott, 2017. "Insurance and Insurance Markets," Working Papers 17-2, HEC Montreal, Canada Research Chair in Risk Management.
    5. 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.
    6. repec:spr:empeco:v:52:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s00181-016-1107-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Weiß, Gregor N.F. & Mühlnickel, Janina, 2014. "Why do some insurers become systemically relevant?," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 13(C), pages 95-117.
    8. 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.
    9. Marín Díazaraque, Juan Miguel & Albarrán Lozano, Irene & Alonso, Pablo J., 2011. "Why using a general model in Solvency II is not a good idea : an explanation from a Bayesian point of view," DES - Working Papers. Statistics and Econometrics. WS ws113729, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Estadística.
    10. repec:bla:jrinsu:v:83:y:2016:i:4:p:1007-1043 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. 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.
    12. de Haan, Leo & Kakes, Jan, 2011. "Momentum or contrarian investment strategies: Evidence from Dutch institutional investors," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(9), pages 2245-2251, September.
    13. Selim Mankaï & Aymen Belgacem, 2013. "Interactions Between Risk-Taking, Capital, and Reinsurance for Property-Liability Insurance Firms," EconomiX Working Papers 2013-23, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
    14. Pasiouras, Fotios & Gaganis, Chrysovalantis, 2013. "Regulations and soundness of insurance firms: International evidence," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 66(5), pages 632-642.
    15. Altuntas, Muhammed & Berry-Stölzle, Thomas R. & Wende, Sabine, 2015. "Does one size fit all? Determinants of insurer capital structure around the globe," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 251-271.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Insurance companies Capital structure Solvency requirements;

    JEL classification:

    • G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill

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