The Economics and Regulation of Captive Reinsurance in Life Insurance

36 Pages Posted: 20 May 2015

See all articles by Scott E. Harrington

Scott E. Harrington

University of Pennsylvania - Wharton School

Date Written: January 1, 2015


The use of captive reinsurance arrangements in life insurance has generated significant debate and led to recent adoption of new regulatory requirements by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). This paper provides an overview of the regulatory reserve requirements that spurred growth in captive reinsurance and how captive arrangements are used, including a summary of data on the use of captives made possible by new NAIC reporting requirements for captive reinsurance in 2013. It elaborates potential efficiencies and risks from the arrangements, and how insurers’ financial incentives, previous regulation, rating agency monitoring, and monitoring by non-insurance creditors mitigate those risks. A.M. Best ratings for life insurers with and without captive arrangements are summarized, documenting that most entities using captive reinsurance have relatively high ratings. The new NAIC regulatory framework for captive reinsurance arrangements and specific requirements for the amounts and types of assets permitted to back the arrangements are discussed.

Keywords: Captive reinsurance, life insurance, insurance regulation, insurance ratings

JEL Classification: G22, G28, G32

Suggested Citation

Harrington, Scott E., The Economics and Regulation of Captive Reinsurance in Life Insurance (January 1, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Scott E. Harrington (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Wharton School ( email )

3641 Locust Walk
Colonial Penn Center
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6358
United States
215-898-9403 (Phone)
215-573-2157 (Fax)


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