Mortgage Life Insurance: A Rationale for a Time Limit in Switching Rights

25 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2014

See all articles by Bertrand Villeneuve

Bertrand Villeneuve

Université Paris-Dauphine, PSL Research University

Date Written: June 24, 2014


I examine competition in the sector of mortgage life insurance, in particular the Periodic Switching Right (PSR), by which the borrower can change his insurer once every period (say, every year). The PSR is likely to have pro competitive effects (lower premium), but by the same move, to lead to excessive segmentation. The main theoretical prediction of the PSR is that, in equilibrium, everyone will pay every year a premium reflecting his current risk, meaning that the risk of future risk evolution is not covered. This destruction of insurance is appreciated negatively by consumers. The trade-off is between, on the one hand, a lower price for insurance, and on the other hand, a lower quality of insurance. I simulate the cost of the PSR and find about 5%-15% of the total insurance cost. This order of magnitude is slightly smaller than the benefit one can expect from increased competition. All in all, a switching right limited in time would bring the benefits of competition and avoid most of the cost of segmentation.

Keywords: mortgage; life insurance; risk classification; regulation

JEL Classification: G22; G21; G18

Suggested Citation

Villeneuve, Bertrand, Mortgage Life Insurance: A Rationale for a Time Limit in Switching Rights (June 24, 2014). Available at SSRN: or

Bertrand Villeneuve (Contact Author)

Université Paris-Dauphine, PSL Research University ( email )

Place du Maréchal de Lattre de Tassigny
Paris, 75016

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