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The Cost of Financial Frictions for Life Insurers

Author

Listed:
  • Motohiro Yogo

    (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis)

  • Ralph Koijen

    (University of Chicago)

Abstract

During the financial crisis, life insurers sold long-term insurance policies at firesale prices. In January 2009, the average markup, relative to actuarial value, was $-25$ percent for 30-year term annuities as well as life annuities and $-52$ percent for universal life insurance. This extraordinary pricing behavior was a consequence of financial frictions and statutory reserve regulation that allowed life insurers to record far less than a dollar of reserve per dollar of future insurance liability. Using exogenous variation in required reserves across different types of policies, we identify the shadow cost of financial frictions for life insurers. The shadow cost of raising a dollar of excess reserve was nearly \$5 for the average insurance company in January 2009.

Suggested Citation

  • Motohiro Yogo & Ralph Koijen, 2012. "The Cost of Financial Frictions for Life Insurers," 2012 Meeting Papers 83, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed012:83
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Maurer, Raimond & Mitchell, Olivia S. & Rogalla, Ralph & Siegelin, Ivonne, 2016. "Accounting and actuarial smoothing of retirement payouts in participating life annuities," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, pages 268-283.
    2. Jose-Victor Rios Rull & Jonathan Heathcote & Dirk Krueger & Andy Glover, 2011. "Intergenerational Redistribution in the Great Recession," 2011 Meeting Papers 141, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Ralph S.J. Koijen & Stijn Nieuwerburgh & Motohiro Yogo, 2016. "Health and Mortality Delta: Assessing the Welfare Cost of Household Insurance Choice," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 71(2), pages 957-1010, April.
    4. Alexander Ludwig & Matthias Schön, 2013. "Endogenous Grids in Higher Dimensions: Delaunay Interpolation and Hybrid Methods," Working Paper Series in Economics 65, University of Cologne, Department of Economics, revised 11 Jun 2014.
    5. Berdin, Elia, 2016. "Interest rate risk, longevity risk and the solvency of life insurers," ICIR Working Paper Series 23/16, Goethe University Frankfurt, International Center for Insurance Regulation (ICIR).
    6. Eric Monnet & Damien Puy, 2016. "Has Globalization Really Increased Business Cycle Synchronization?," IMF Working Papers 16/54, International Monetary Fund.
    7. Behn, Markus & Haselmann, Rainer & Vig, Vikrant, 2016. "The limits of model-based regulation," Working Paper Series 1928, European Central Bank.
    8. Berdin, Elia & Pancaro, Cosimo & Kok Sørensen, Christoffer, 2016. "A stochastic forward-looking model to assess the profitability and solvency of European insurers," SAFE Working Paper Series 137, Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt.
    9. Philip Vermeulen, 2016. "Estimating the Top Tail of the Wealth Distribution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 646-650.
    10. Berdin, Elia & Pancaro, Cosimo & Kok Sørensen, Christoffer, 2016. "A stochastic forward-looking model to assess the profitability and solvency of European insurers," SAFE Working Paper Series 137, Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt.
    11. Ralph S.J. Koijen & Motohiro Yogo, 2017. "Risk of Life Insurers: Recent Trends and Transmission Mechanisms," NBER Working Papers 23365, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Yogo, Motohiro & Koijen, Ralph S.J., 2014. "Shadow Insurance," Staff Report 505, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    13. Ralph S. J. Koijen & Motohiro Yogo, 2016. "Shadow Insurance," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 84, pages 1265-1287, May.
    14. Bo Becker & Marcus Opp, 2013. "Regulatory reform and risk-taking: replacing ratings," NBER Working Papers 19257, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Bijlsma, Melle & Vermeulen, Robert, 2016. "Insurance companies’ trading behaviour during the European sovereign debt crisis: Flight home or flight to quality?," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, pages 137-154.
    16. Robert Vermeulen & Marco Hoeberichts & Bořek Vašíček & Diana Žigraiová & Kateřina Šmídková & Jakob Haan, 2015. "Financial Stress Indices and Financial Crises," Open Economies Review, Springer, pages 383-406.
    17. Eric Zwick & James Mahon, 2014. "Do financial frictions amplify fiscal policy? Evidence from business investment stimulus," Working Papers 1415, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
    18. Focarelli, Dario, 2017. "Why Insurance Regulation is Crucial for Long-term Investment and Economic Growth," SEP Working Papers 2017/1, LUISS School of European Political Economy.
    19. Maurer, Raimond & Mitchell, Olivia S. & Rogalla, Ralph & Siegelin, Ivonne, 2016. "Accounting and actuarial smoothing of retirement payouts in participating life annuities," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, pages 268-283.
    20. repec:eee:jfinec:v:126:y:2017:i:1:p:1-35 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Behn, Markus & Haselmann, Rainer & Vig, Vikrant, 2014. "The limits of model-based regulation," SAFE Working Paper Series 75, Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt.
    22. Enders, Zeno & Kleemann, Michael & Müller, Gernot, 2013. "Growth expectations, undue optimism, and short-run fluctuations," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 80009, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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