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The Impact of Surplus Distribution on the Risk Exposure of With Profit Life Insurance Policies Including Interest Rate Guarantees


  • Kling, Alexander
  • Richter, Andreas
  • Ruß, Jochen


This paper analyzes the numerical impact of different surplus distribution mechanisms on the risk exposure of a life insurance company selling with profit life insurance policies with a cliquet-style interest rate guarantee. Three representative companies are considered, each using a different type of surplus distribution: A mechanism, where the guaranteed interest rate also applies to surplus that has been credited in the past, a slightly less restrictive type in which a guaranteed rate of interest of 0% applies to past surplus, and a third mechanism that allows for the company to use former surplus in order to compensate for underperformance in “bad” years. Our study demonstrates that regulators should be very careful in deciding which design of a distribution mechanism is to be enforced. Within our model framework, a distribution mechanism of the third type yields preferable results with respect to the considered risk measure. In particular, throughout the analysis, our representative company 3 faces ceteris paribus a significantly lower shortfall risk than the other two companies. Requiring “strong” guarantees puts companies at a significant competitive disad¬vantage relative to insurers which are subject to regulation that only requires the third type of surplus distribution mechanism. This is particularly true, if annual minimum participation in the insurer’s investment returns is mandatory for long term contracts.

Suggested Citation

  • Kling, Alexander & Richter, Andreas & Ruß, Jochen, 2006. "The Impact of Surplus Distribution on the Risk Exposure of With Profit Life Insurance Policies Including Interest Rate Guarantees," Discussion Papers in Business Administration 1220, University of Munich, Munich School of Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:lmu:msmdpa:1220

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bauer, Daniel & Kiesel, Rudiger & Kling, Alexander & Ru[ss], Jochen, 2006. "Risk-neutral valuation of participating life insurance contracts," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 171-183, October.
    2. Bjarke Jensen & Peter Løchte Jørgensen & Anders Grosen, 2001. "A Finite Difference Approach to the Valuation of Path Dependent Life Insurance Liabilities," The Geneva Risk and Insurance Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Association for the Study of Insurance Economics (The Geneva Association), vol. 26(1), pages 57-84, June.
    3. Grosen, Anders & Lochte Jorgensen, Peter, 2000. "Fair valuation of life insurance liabilities: The impact of interest rate guarantees, surrender options, and bonus policies," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 37-57, February.
    4. Tanskanen, Antti Juho & Lukkarinen, Jani, 2003. "Fair valuation of path-dependent participating life insurance contracts," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 595-609, December.
    5. Anna Rita Bacinello, 2003. "Fair Valuation of a Guaranteed Life Insurance Participating Contract Embedding a Surrender Option," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 70(3), pages 461-487.
    6. Grosen, Anders & Løchte Jørgensen, Peter, 2001. "Life Insurance Liabilities at Market Value," Finance Working Papers 01-4, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Business Studies.
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    More about this item


    life insurance; interest guarantees; surplus distribution;

    JEL classification:

    • G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies

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