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Correlated Risks: A Conflict of Interest Between Insurers and Consumers and Its Resolution

  • Patrick Eugster

    ()

    (Socioeconomic Institute, University of Zurich)

  • Peter Zweifel

    ()

    (Socioeconomic Institute, University of Zurich)

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    This contribution starts out by noting a conflict of interest between consumers and insurers. Consumers face positive correlation in their assets (health, wealth, wisdom, i.e. skills), causing them to demand a great deal of insurance coverage. Insurers on the other hand eschew positively correlated risks. It can be shown that insurance contributes to a reduction of their asset volatility only if unexpected deviations of payments from expected value correlate negatively across lines of insurance. Analyzing deviations from trend in aggregate insurance payments, one finds the following for the United States and Switzerland. Private U.S. but not Swiss insurance has a hedging effect for consumers, while both social insurance schemes expose consumers to excess asset volatility. In the insurance systems of both countries, the private component fails to offset deviations in the social component (and vice versa). As to the supply of insurance, cointegration analysis indicates the absence of common trends. Therefore, insurance companies could offer combined policies to the benefit of consumers, hedging their underwriting risks both domestically and internationally.

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    File URL: http://www.soi.uzh.ch/research/wp/2006/wp0604.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2006
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich in its series SOI - Working Papers with number 0604.

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    Length: 23 pages
    Date of creation: Apr 2006
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:soz:wpaper:0604
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    1. Lalive, Rafael & Schmutzler, Armin, 2005. "Competition for Railway Markets: The Case of Baden-Württemberg," CEPR Discussion Papers 5396, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Stefan Boes & Markus Lipp & Rainer Winkelmann, 2005. "Money Illusion Under Test," SOI - Working Papers 0514, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich.
    3. Sandra Hanslin & Rainer Winkelmann, 2006. "The Apple Falls Increasingly Far: Parent-Child Correlation in Schooling and the Growth of Post-Secondary Education in Switzerland," SOI - Working Papers 0603, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich.
    4. Dennis L. Gärtner & Daniel Halbheer, 2008. "Are There Waves in Merger Activity After All?," Working Papers 0092, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU).
    5. Philippe Mahler & Rainer Winkelmann, 2005. "Single Motherhood and (Un)Equal EducationalOpportunities: Evidence for Germany," SOI - Working Papers 0512, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich.
    6. Yves Schneider & Peter Zweifel, 2005. "Spatial Effects in Willingness-to-Pay: The Case of Two Nuclear Risks," SOI - Working Papers 0502, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich, revised Sep 2007.
    7. Samuel Muehlemann & Juerg Schweri & Rainer Winkelmann & Stefan C. Wolter, 2005. "A Structural Model of Demand for Apprentices," CESifo Working Paper Series 1417, CESifo Group Munich.
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