Risk-Seeking Behavior and its Implications for the Optimal Decision Making of Annuity Insurers
North American Actuarial Journal, Forthcoming
43 Pages Posted: 12 May 2021 Last revised: 30 Aug 2021
Date Written: August 17, 2021
This study investigates risk-seeking and optimal decisions of annuity providers. On the basis of a sample of U.S. life and annuity (L/A) insurers between 1997 and 2016, the results show clear performance-dependent risk attitudes. Specifically, insurers with returns below aspiration levels take more risks, whereas those with returns above reference levels decrease their risk-seeking, which supports the basic propositions of the cumulative prospect theory (CPT). Given initial evidence of mixed risk preferences in the L/A insurance industry, we derive an annuity insurer’s optimal investment and business strategies in a CPT decision-making framework. We show that changing risk preferences considerably affect an annuity provider’s decisions. We further illustrate how risk management changes an annuity insurer’s optimal strategies. Our results suggest that risk management lowers downside risk and allows a loss-averse decision-maker to assume more risk and achieve a higher level of utility.
Keywords: cumulative prospect theory, risk-return relation, annuity business, changing risk preference, risk management
JEL Classification: G22, D03, D22
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation