Market Pricing of Political Risk: Evidence from the Property-Liability Insurance Industry
Journal of Insurance Issues, Vol. 31, No. 2, pp. 98-119, 2008
22 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2009
Date Written: December 1, 2008
On September 14, 2005, a press report announced the Mississippi Attorney General’s intention to file a suit against the insurance industry forcing homeowners’ insurers to pay flood damage claims despite the standard water damage exclusion. This increase in uncertainty regarding whether insurance contracts would be upheld in Mississippi resulted in an increase in political risk. We use an event study methodology to measure the equity market’s reaction to this change in political risk. We find negative and significant average abnormal returns on the announcement date for insurers that wrote policies in Mississippi, amounting to an estimated average loss in market value of approximately $225 million. By contrast, insurers with no Mississippi exposure experienced insignificant abnormal returns. We do not, however, find a significant relationship between our continuous proxy for exposure extent and abnormal returns. Our results provide some evidence suggesting that political risk is rationally priced by equity market participants.
Keywords: Political risk, event study, Hurricane Katrina
JEL Classification: G14, G22, G28
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation