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Private Insurance Against Systemic Crises?

32 Pages Posted: 26 Aug 2009  

Hans Gersbach

ETH Zurich - CER-ETH -Center of Economic Reseaarch; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: June 2009

Abstract

Insurance contracts contingent on macroeconomic shocks or on average bank capital could be a way of insuring against systemic crises. With insurance, banks are recapitalized when negative events would otherwise cause a write down of capital or even bank insolvency. In a simple model we illustrate the working of these contracts and how insurance could be achieved. We identify the main pitfalls of this approach: the insurance capacity of an economy may be too limited, insurance must be mandatory, insurance does not curb excessive risk taking (unobservable or observable), the insurers may go bankrupt in crises, and managerial restrictions on a rising bank equity capital limit insurance. Finally we discuss some complementary regulatory measures to foster the effectiveness of crisis insurance. In particular, we suggest mandatory purchase of insurance contracts against systemic crises by managers of large banks.

Keywords: automatic recapitalization, banking crises, banking regulation, financial intermediation, insurance contracts

JEL Classification: D41, E4, G2

Suggested Citation

Gersbach, Hans, Private Insurance Against Systemic Crises? (June 2009). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP7342. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1461971

Hans Gersbach (Contact Author)

ETH Zurich - CER-ETH -Center of Economic Reseaarch ( email )

Zürichbergstrasse 18
Zurich, 8092
Switzerland
+41 44 632 82 80 (Phone)
+41 44 632 18 30 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

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