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The Risk Management of Minimum Return Guarantees

We analyse contracts which pay out a guaranteed minimum rate of return and a fraction of a positive excess rate, which is specified on the basis of a benchmark portfolio. These contracts are closely related to unit-linked life-insurance/savings plans products and can be considered as alternatives to a direct investment in the underlying benchmark portfolio. The option embedded into the savings plan is in fact a power option, and thus the specification of the "fair" contract parameters is closely related to well known features of these financial derivatives. The key issue, both in order to rigorously justify valuation by arbitrage arguments and to prevent the guarantees from becoming uncontrollable liabilities to the issuer, is the risk management of the embedded options by a tractable and realistic hedging strategy. The long maturity of life-insurance products makes it necessary to lift Black/Scholes assumptions and consider an uncertain volatility scenario, thus explicitly taking into account "model risk". In this context, we show how to determine the contract parameters conservatively and implement robust risk management strategies. This highlights the necessity of a careful choice of guarantees which are granted to the insurance customer and suggests a new role for a type of "bonus account" customary in many life-insurance contracts.

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Paper provided by Quantitative Finance Research Centre, University of Technology, Sydney in its series Research Paper Series with number 102.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: 01 Jun 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published as: Mahayni, A. and Schlogl, E., 2003, "The Risk Management of Minimum Return Guarantees", BuR - Business Research, 1(1), 55-76.
Handle: RePEc:uts:rpaper:102
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  1. Heath, David & Jarrow, Robert & Morton, Andrew, 1992. "Bond Pricing and the Term Structure of Interest Rates: A New Methodology for Contingent Claims Valuation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(1), pages 77-105, January.
  2. Black, Fischer & Scholes, Myron S, 1973. "The Pricing of Options and Corporate Liabilities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 637-54, May-June.
  3. Bacinello, Anna Rita & Ortu, Fulvio, 1993. "Pricing equity-linked life insurance with endogenous minimum guarantees," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 245-257, June.
  4. Boyle, Phelim P. & Hardy, Mary R., 1997. "Reserving for maturity guarantees: Two approaches," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 113-127, November.
  5. Brennan, Michael J. & Schwartz, Eduardo S., 1976. "The pricing of equity-linked life insurance policies with an asset value guarantee," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 195-213, June.
  6. Harrison, J. Michael & Pliska, Stanley R., 1981. "Martingales and stochastic integrals in the theory of continuous trading," Stochastic Processes and their Applications, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 215-260, August.
  7. M. Avellaneda & A. Levy & A. ParAS, 1995. "Pricing and hedging derivative securities in markets with uncertain volatilities," Applied Mathematical Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 2(2), pages 73-88.
  8. Nielsen, J. Aase & Klaus Sandmann, 1995. "Equity-linked life insurance - a model with stochastic interest rates," Discussion Paper Serie B 291, University of Bonn, Germany, revised Mar 1995.
  9. Brennan, Michael J & Schwartz, Eduardo S, 1979. "Alternative Investment Strategies for the Issuers of Equity Linked Life Insurance Policies with an Asset Value Guarantee," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52(1), pages 63-93, January.
  10. Nicole El Karoui & Monique Jeanblanc-Picquè & Steven E. Shreve, 1998. "Robustness of the Black and Scholes Formula," Mathematical Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(2), pages 93-126.
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