Longevity Risk, Cost of Capital and Hedging for Life Insurers Under Solvency II
30 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2013
Date Written: September 23, 2013
The cost of capital is an important factor determining the premiums charged by life insurers issuing life annuities. Insurers will be able to offer more finely priced annuities if they can reduce this cost whilst maintaining solvency. This capital cost can be reduced by hedging longevity risk with longevity swaps, a form of reinsurance. We assess the costs of longevity risk management using longevity swaps compared to costs of holding capital under Solvency II. We show that, using a reasonable market price of longevity risk, the market cost of hedging longevity risk for earlier ages is lower than the cost of capital required under Solvency II. Longevity swaps covering higher ages, around 90 and above, have higher market hedging costs than the saving in the cost of regulatory capital. The Solvency II capital regulations for longevity risk generates an incentive for life insurers to hold longevity tail risk on their own balance sheets, rather than transfer this to the reinsurance or the capital markets. This aspect of the Solvency II capital requirements is not well understood and raises important policy issues for the management of longevity risk.
Keywords: capital management, solvency, longevity risk, reinsurance, securitization
JEL Classification: G22, G23, G32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation