Marginal Cost of Risk-Based Capital and Risk-Taking

54 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2017 Last revised: 26 Mar 2019

See all articles by Tao Chen

Tao Chen

Nanyang Business School, Nanyang Technological University

Jing Rong Goh

Risk Lighthouse International, Singapore

Shinichi Kamiya

Nanyang Business School, Nanyang Technological University

Pingyi Lou

Fudan University

Date Written: December 1, 2017

Abstract

This paper explores the impact of capital adequacy requirements on the investment behavior of insurance companies from a new perspective. We specifically investigate one important feature of Risk-Based Capital (RBC) system, the square root rule in aggregating risk categories. We show that the simple square root rule of the RBC calculation formula causes difference in the marginal RBC cost of holding risky fixed-income securities across different insurance companies and across time. We find that insurers facing a lower RBC cost of fixed-income investment purchase more of risky fixed-income securities than those who face a higher RBC cost. Using Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Katrina as exogenous shocks to RBC cost, we find that insurers suffered more in the two disasters took more risk in their fixed-income investment in the following year and that their overall risk and probability of insolvency also increased. These special cases highlight the side-effect of current US RBC calculation rule implicitly assuming independence between risk categories, and provide an important regulatory implication for minimum capital calculation in capital regulation regimes.

Keywords: Risk-based capital; Risk taking; Capital regulation; Insurance companies

JEL Classification: G18, G22, G32

Suggested Citation

Chen, Tao and Goh, Jing Rong and Kamiya, Shinichi and Lou, Pingyi, Marginal Cost of Risk-Based Capital and Risk-Taking (December 1, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2943371 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2943371

Tao Chen

Nanyang Business School, Nanyang Technological University ( email )

Singapore, 639798
Singapore

Jing Rong Goh

Risk Lighthouse International, Singapore ( email )

Shinichi Kamiya

Nanyang Business School, Nanyang Technological University ( email )

Singapore, 639798
Singapore

Pingyi Lou (Contact Author)

Fudan University ( email )

600 Guoquan Rd
Shanghai, 200433
China

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