Ambiguity Aversion in the Field of Insurance: Insurersâ€™ Attitude to Imprecise and Conflicting Probability Estimates
This article presents the results of a survey designed to test, with economically sophisticated participants, Ellsbergâ€™s ambiguity aversion hypothesis, and Smithsonâ€™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 insurersâ€™ 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
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