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Ambiguity Aversion in the Field of Insurance: Insurers’ Attitude to Imprecise and Conflicting Probability Estimates

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  • Laure Cabantous

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Abstract

This article presents the results of a survey designed to test, with economically sophisticated participants, Ellsberg’s ambiguity aversion hypothesis, and Smithson’s conflict aversion hypothesis. Based on an original sample of 78 professional actuaries (all members of the French Institute of Actuaries), this article provides empirical evidence that ambiguity (i.e. uncertainty about the probability) affect insurers’ decision on pricing insurance. It first reveals that premiums are significantly higher for risks when there is ambiguity regarding the probability of the loss. Second, it shows that insurers are sensitive to sources of ambiguity. The participants indeed, charged a higher premium when ambiguity came from conflict and disagreement regarding the probability of the loss than when ambiguity came from imprecision (imprecise forecast about the probability of the loss). This research thus documents the presence of both ambiguity aversion and conflict aversion in the field of insurance, and discuses economic and psychological rationales for the observed behaviours. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Suggested Citation

  • Laure Cabantous, 2007. "Ambiguity Aversion in the Field of Insurance: Insurers’ Attitude to Imprecise and Conflicting Probability Estimates," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 62(3), pages 219-240, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:theord:v:62:y:2007:i:3:p:219-240
    DOI: 10.1007/s11238-006-9015-1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ertambang Nahartyo & Intiyas Utami, 2014. "Keeping Self-Interest under Control: Effects of Procedural Fairness and Project Success Rate in a Cost-Reduction Context," The Japanese Accounting Review, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University, vol. 4, pages 27-47, December.
    2. Lang, Matthias & Wambach, Achim, 2013. "The fog of fraud – Mitigating fraud by strategic ambiguity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 255-275.
    3. Heinrich, Tobias, 2013. "Endogenous negative stereotypes: A similarity-based approach," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 45-54.
    4. Christian Gollier, 2008. "Liquidité, incertitude et crise," Revue d'Économie Financière, Programme National Persée, vol. 7(1), pages 129-133.
    5. repec:pal:gpprii:v:42:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1057_s41288-016-0004-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Simon Quemin, 2016. "Intertemporal abatement decisions under ambiguity aversion in a cap and trade," Working Papers 1604, Chaire Economie du climat.
    7. Théodora Dupont-Courtade, 2012. "Insurance demand under ambiguity and conflict for extreme risks : Evidence from a large representative survey," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00718642, HAL.
    8. Dietz, Simon & Walker, Oliver, 2017. "Ambiguity and insurance: capital requirements andpremiums," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 68469, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    9. Marielle Brunette & Laure Cabantous & Stéphane Couture & Anne Stenger, 2009. "Assurance, intervention publique et ambiguïté : une étude expérimentale auprès de propriétaires forestiers privés," Économie et Prévision, Programme National Persée, vol. 190(4), pages 123-134.
    10. Véronique Le Bihan & Sophie Pardo, 2010. "Les limites de la couverture des risques en aquaculture : le cas des conchyliculteurs en France," Working Papers hal-00527115, HAL.
    11. Huang, Yi-Chieh & Tzeng, Larry Y. & Zhao, Lin, 2015. "Comparative ambiguity aversion and downside ambiguity aversion," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 257-269.
    12. Feduzi, Alberto & Runde, Jochen, 2011. "The uncertain foundations of the welfare state," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 80(3), pages 613-627.
    13. Mario Le Glatin & Pascal Le Masson & Benoit Weil, 2018. "Can organisational ambidexterity kill innovation? A case for non-expected utility decision making," Post-Print hal-01808566, HAL.
    14. Keck, Steffen & Diecidue, Enrico & Budescu, David V., 2014. "Group decisions under ambiguity: Convergence to neutrality," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 60-71.
    15. Alpaslan Akay & Peter Martinsson & Haileselassie Medhin & Stefan Trautmann, 2012. "Attitudes toward uncertainty among the poor: an experiment in rural Ethiopia," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 73(3), pages 453-464, September.
    16. Marco Rojas & Damián Vergara, 2018. "Ambiguity and Long-Run Cooperation in Strategic Games," Working Papers wp415, University of Chile, Department of Economics.
    17. Thibault Gajdos & Jean-Christophe Vergnaud, 2013. "Decisions with conflicting and imprecise information," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 41(2), pages 427-452, July.
    18. Huang, Rachel J. & Huang, Yi-Chieh & Tzeng, Larry Y., 2013. "Insurance bargaining under ambiguity," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 812-820.
    19. Fairley, Kim & Sanfey, Alan & Vyrastekova, Jana & Weitzel, Utz, 2012. "Social risk and ambiguity in the trust game," MPRA Paper 42302, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    20. repec:taf:jriskr:v:20:y:2017:i:2:p:237-255 is not listed on IDEAS

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