The Cost of Financial Frictions for Life Insurers
Ralph S. J. Koijen
London Business School - Department of Finance; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
May 28, 2014
Fama-Miller Working Paper
Chicago Booth Research Paper No. 12-30
During the financial crisis, life insurers sold long-term policies at deep discounts relative to actuarial value. The average markup was as low as −19 percent for annuities and −57 percent for life insurance. This extraordinary pricing behavior was due to financial and product market frictions, interacting with statutory reserve regulation that allowed life insurers to record far less than a dollar of reserve per dollar of future insurance liability. We identify the shadow cost of capital through exogenous variation in required reserves across different types of policies. The shadow cost was $0.96 per dollar of statutory capital for the average company in November 2008.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 42
Keywords: Annuities, Capital regulation, Financial crisis, Leverage, Life insurance
JEL Classification: G01, G22, G28working papers series
Date posted: March 31, 2012 ; Last revised: May 29, 2014
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