Insurance corporations and pension funds in OECD countries
Insurance companies and pension funds are part of complex systems of private insurance and public social protection created to reduce the cost of economic hazards. In the current phase of the business cycle, with many OECD countries struggling with low economic growth, high public deficits and debts, ageing populations and expensive welfare systems, private insurance is bound to play an increasing role. The aim of this paper is to provide an overview of the evolution of insurance companies and pension funds in OECD countries over the period 1995-2009. Secondly, it examines the impact of this evolution on householdsï¿½ financial wealth. The paper finds that both insurance companies and private pensions still account for a small share of the financial sector as a whole and that the recent financial crisis has significantly reduced their asset value. These institutions nonetheless account for an increasing share of householdsï¿½ financial assets. The paper also calls for further improvements in the consistency between supervisory and national accounting standards and in overall data quality to enhance cross-country data comparability and support the policy-making process.
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