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Moral Hazard in Reinsurance Markets

  • Neil Doherty
  • Kent Smetters

This paper attempts to identify moral hazard in the traditional reinsurance market. We build a multi-period principle agent model of the reinsurance transaction from which we derive predictions on premium design, monitoring, loss control and insurer risk retention. We then use panel data on U.S. property liability reinsurance to test the model. The empirical results are consistent with the model's predictions. In particular, we find evidence for the use of loss sensitive premiums when the insurer and reinsurer are not affiliates (i.e., not part of the same financial group), but little or no use of monitoring. In contrast, we find evidence for the use of monitoring when the insurer and reinsurer are affiliates, where monitoring costs are lower, but little use of price controls.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9050.

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Date of creation: Jul 2002
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Doherty, Neil and Kent Smetters. "Moral Hazard In Reinsurance Markets," Journal of Risk and Insurance, 2005, v72(3,Sep), 375-391.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9050
Note: AP PE
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  1. Kenneth A. Froot & David S. Scharfstein & Jeremy C. Stein, 1992. "Risk Management: Coordinating Corporate Investment and Financing Policies," NBER Working Papers 4084, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Bond, E.W. & Crocker, K.J., 1993. "Hardball and the Soft Touch: The Economics of Optimal Insurance Contracts with Costly State Verification and Endogenous Monitoring Costs," Papers 10-93-1b, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  3. Greenwald, Bruce C & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1990. "Asymmetric Information and the New Theory of the Firm: Financial Constraints and Risk Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 160-65, May.
  4. Franklin Allen & Douglas Gale, 1995. "Financial markets, intermediaries, and intertemporal smoothing," Working Papers 95-4, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  5. Keith J. Crocker & John Morgan, 1998. "Is Honesty the Best Policy? Curtailing Insurance Fraud through Optimal Incentive Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(2), pages 355-375, April.
  6. Richard A. Lambert, 1983. "Long-Term Contracts and Moral Hazard," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 441-452, Autumn.
  7. Kenneth A. Froot & Paul G. J. O'Connell, 1997. "On The Pricing of Intermediated Risks: Theory and Application to Catastrophe Reinsurance," NBER Working Papers 6011, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Randall Geehan, 1977. "Returns to Scale in the Life Insurance Industry," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 8(2), pages 497-514, Autumn.
  9. Cremer, Jacques, 1995. "Arm's Length Relationships," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(2), pages 275-95, May.
  10. Bengt Holmstrom, 1997. "Moral Hazard and Observability," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1205, David K. Levine.
  11. Jewitt, Ian, 1988. "Justifying the First-Order Approach to Principal-Agent Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1177-90, September.
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