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The Role of Financial Conditions in Portfolio Choices: The Case of Insurers

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  • Shan Ge
  • Michael S. Weisbach

Abstract

Many institutional investors depend on the returns they generate to fund their operations and liabilities. How do these investors’ financial conditions affect the management of their portfolios? We address this issue using the insurance industry because insurers are large investors for which detailed portfolio data are available, and can face financial shocks from exogenous weather events that help us establish causality. Among corporate bonds, for which we can control for regulatory treatment, results suggest that when Property & Casualty (P&C) insurers become more constrained due to operating losses, they shift towards safer bonds. The effect of losses on allocations is likely to be causal since it holds when instrumenting for losses with weather shocks. The change in allocations following losses is larger for smaller or worse-rated insurers and during the financial crisis, suggesting that the shift toward safer securities is driven by concerns about financial flexibility. The results highlight the importance of financial conditions in institutional investors’ portfolio decisions.

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  • Shan Ge & Michael S. Weisbach, 2019. "The Role of Financial Conditions in Portfolio Choices: The Case of Insurers," NBER Working Papers 25677, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:25677
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    Cited by:

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    3. Kubitza, Christian, 2021. "Investor-driven corporate finance: Evidence from insurance markets," ICIR Working Paper Series 43/21, Goethe University Frankfurt, International Center for Insurance Regulation (ICIR).
    4. Christian Kubitza, 2022. "Investor-Driven Corporate Finance: Evidence from Insurance Markets," ECONtribute Discussion Papers Series 144, University of Bonn and University of Cologne, Germany.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies
    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory 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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