nep-ias New Economics Papers
on Insurance Economics
Issue of 2011‒01‒30
ten papers chosen by
Soumitra K Mallick
Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management

  1. Forest property insurance: an application to mediterranean woodlands By António Pinheiro; Nuno Ribeiro
  2. Supply and Effects of Specialty Crop Insurance By Ethan Ligon
  3. Social Support Shopping: Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity in Disability Insurance Reform By Borghans, Lex; Gielen, Anne C.; Luttmer, Erzo F.P.
  4. Migration and social insurance By Helmuth Cremer; Catarina Goulão
  5. International financial flows, real exchange rates and cross-border insurance By Francesca Viani
  6. Catastrophe risks: the case of seisms By Robert Kast
  7. Unions and Upward Mobility for Asian American and Pacific Islander Workers By John Schmitt; Hye Jin Rho; Nicole Woo
  8. Optimal strategies of hedging portfolio of unit-linked life insurance contracts with minimum death guarantee By Oberlain Nteukam Teuguia; Frédéric Planchet; Pierre-Emanuel Thérond
  9. Deepwater Drilling: Law, Policy, and Economics of Firm Organization and Safety By Cohen, Mark A.; Gottlieb, Madeline; Linn, Joshua; Richardson, Nathan
  10. Economic crises, high public pension spending and blame-avoidance strategies: Pension policy retrenchments in 14 social-insurance countries, 1981 - 2005 By Fernandez, Juan J.

  1. By: António Pinheiro (Universidade de Évora, Departamento de Economia); Nuno Ribeiro (Universidade de Évora, Departamento de Fitotecnia)
    Abstract: Fire is the biggest forest enemy in many countries, especially in those that have dry and hot climates. Fire destroys biomass and makes forest production a very risky business. Forest insurance could decrease fire risk and would contribute to make forest activities more profitable. Nowadays, in many countries, it is not easy to find companies that want to insure forests stands. The most important reasons to explain this fact are the followings. First, in many countries, forest insurance is not mandatory; so many farmers don?t make it. This increases the risk premium that insurance companies ask for those that were willing to make the insurance contract. Second, insurance companies need to have models based on desegregated and reliable data that allow them estimating the probability of fire occurrences. Finally, it is very difficult for insurer to estimate the real value of the stands (forests) because their values vary from species to species and for the same species with the age and market prices. So, it is difficult for insurer to practice fair and reasonable insurance premiums. The main objective of this paper is to present simple models that help to estimate ?fair? insurance risk premiums, contributing in this way to make forest business more appealing and sustainable.
    Keywords: forest fire, insurance, risk premium, forest property insurance.
    JEL: G22 Q23 Q54
    Date: 2011
  2. By: Ethan Ligon
    Abstract: The federal government has developed a large number of programs to insure various “specialty crops” over the last two decades; a given program is peculiar to a particular county and crop. This development has been particularly notable in California, because of its size and the diversity of crops produced there. If the extension of federal crop insurance programs to cover fruit and vegetable production has affected either producer or consumer welfare, then we would expect to see this reflected in output and prices. Exploiting variation in the timing of program introduction in different locations for different crops to estimate the effect of crop insurance on the output and prices of the insured crops. We find that the supply of and demand for insurance for tree crops is much larger than for non-tree crops. Crop insurance has a small but significant negative effect on prices of insured crops. This last finding is consistent with the view that demand for such highly disaggregated commodities is likely to be highly elastic. A consequence is that crop insurance for these specialty crops has little benefit for consumers, even when it generates a large supply response.
    JEL: D2 Q12
    Date: 2011–01
  3. By: Borghans, Lex (Maastricht University); Gielen, Anne C. (IZA); Luttmer, Erzo F.P. (Dartmouth College)
    Abstract: This paper examines how a change in the generosity of one social assistance program generates spillovers onto other social assistance programs. We exploit an age discontinuity in the stringency of the 1993 Dutch disability reforms to estimate the causal effect of exit from disability insurance (DI) on participation in other social assistance programs. We find strong evidence of "social support shopping": 43 percent of those induced to leave DI due to the reform receive an alternative form of social assistance two years after the implementation of the reform. As a result, for each Euro saved in DI benefits, the government has to spend an extra 60 cents in other social assistance programs. This crowd-out rate grows from 60% to 69% if we also take into account the response of the partners’ of those affected by the DI reform. The crowd-out effect declines over time, but is still 25% eight years after the reform.
    Keywords: crowd-out, spillover effects, social insurance, income assistance, welfare, regression discontinuity, administrative data
    JEL: H53 J22 I38
    Date: 2010–12
  4. By: Helmuth Cremer (Toulouse School of Economics); Catarina Goulão (Toulouse School of Economics)
    Abstract: In Europe there are countries whose welfare system is more in the tradition of Beveridge (based on universal flat benefits) and others whose system is mainly Bismarkian (based on benefits related to past contributions).Labor mobility across different countries raises concerns about the sustainability of the most generous and redistributive insurance systems. We address the sustainability of more redistributive insurance systems in a context of labor mobility. In a two/countries seting We find out that a Bismarkian insurance policy is never affected by migration but that the Beveridgean one is. Moreover, our results suggest that the race-to-the-bottom affecting tax rates may be more important under Beveridge-Beveridge competition than under Beveridge-Bismarck competition .Additionally, Bismarkian governments may find it beneficially to adopt a Beveridgean policy.
    Keywords: Social insurance, tax competition, mobility, economic integration
    JEL: H23 H70
    Date: 2010
  5. By: Francesca Viani (Banco de España)
    Abstract: Whether cross-border financial market integration has raised global insurance, is still a controversial issue in the literature. If this is so, what should we observe in the data? The insurance literature emphasizes that efficient risk-sharing requires financial markets to channel resources to countries that have been made temporarily poorer by some negative conjuncture, net of physical capital accumulation. This standard condition, which provides the basis for virtually every test of international insurance, is however derived focusing on only one of the two channels of cross-border insurance, the financial flows channel, implicitly assuming no interaction between this and the other channel, international relative price fluctuations. This paper shows that testable conditions can only be derived theoretically placing the interaction between prices and financial flows centerstage in the analysis. Using a two-country general equilibrium model with endogenous portfolio diversification, I show that financial flows and relative prices can be either complements or substitutes in providing insurance. In the case of complementarity, financial inflows raise the international price of a country's output. This implies the standard condition. In the case of substitutability prices and flows transfer purchasing power in opposite directions. This implies a different condition: efficient financial markets are required to channel resources "upstream", from relatively poorer to relatively richer countries. The conditions for substitutability appear to be quantitatively and empirically plausible.
    Keywords: International financial flows, risk-sharing, terms of trade
    JEL: F3 F4 G1
    Date: 2011–01
  6. By: Robert Kast
    Abstract: Catastrophes and risks have had a great influence on the evolution of human development. We analyze behaviors in front of risks, then we consider some basic principles that have guided private and public behaviors. Managing risks has become a specialty for finance and insurance, but they are not the only institutions that allow to confront them. We conclude on an example of how public funds, private insurance and reinsurance companies can work together and use financial markets in order to cover financial risks due to seisms.
    Date: 2010
  7. By: John Schmitt; Hye Jin Rho; Nicole Woo
    Abstract: Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) are, with Latinos, the fastest growing ethnic group in the U.S. workforce. In 2009, Asian American and Pacific Islanders were one of every 20 U.S. workers, up from one in 40 only 20 years earlier. AAPIs, again with Latinos, are also the fastest growing ethnic group in organized labor, accounting for just under one-in-20 unionized workers in 2009. Even after controlling for workers’ characteristics including age, education level, industry, and state, unionized AAPI workers earn about 14.3 percent more than non-unionized AAPI workers with similar characteristics. This translates to about $2.50 per hour more for unionized AAPI workers. Unionized AAPI workers are also about 16 percentage points more likely to have health insurance and about 22 percentage points more likely to have a retirement plan than their non-union counterparts. The advantages of unionization are greatest for AAPI workers in the 15 lowest-paying occupations. Unionized AAPI workers in these low-wage occupations earn about 20.1 percent more than AAPI workers with identical characteristics in the same generally low-wage occupations. Unionized AAPI workers in low-wage occupations are also about 23.2 percentage points more likely to have employer- provided health insurance and 26.3 percentage points more likely to have a retirement plan through their job.
    Keywords: unions, wages, benefits, pension, health insurance, asian
    JEL: J J1 J3 J31 J32 J41 J5 J58 J6 J68 J88
    Date: 2011–01
  8. By: Oberlain Nteukam Teuguia (SAF - Laboratoire de Sciences Actuarielle et Financière - Université Claude Bernard - Lyon I : EA2429); Frédéric Planchet (SAF - Laboratoire de Sciences Actuarielle et Financière - Université Claude Bernard - Lyon I : EA2429); Pierre-Emanuel Thérond (SAF - Laboratoire de Sciences Actuarielle et Financière - Université Claude Bernard - Lyon I : EA2429)
    Abstract: Dans ce papier, nous nous intéressons à la couverture des contrats en unités de compte avec garanties décès. Nous présentons des stratégies de couverture opérationnelles permettant de réduire de façon significative les coûts futurs liés à ce type de contrats. Suivant les recommandations des nouveaux référentiels (IFRS, Solvabilité 2 et MCEV), la prime de risque est introduite dans les évaluations. L‟optimalité des stratégies est constatée au moyen de la comparaison des indicateurs de risque (Pertes espérée, écart type, VaR, CTE et perte Maximale) des stratégies dans le modèle standard de Black-Scholes et dans le modèle à sauts de Merton. Nous analysons la robustesse des stratégies à une hausse brutale de la mortalité future et à une forte dépréciation du prix de l‟actif sous-jacent.
    Keywords: Unit-linked; Death guarantee; Hedging strategies; Transaction and error of re-hedging costs; risk indicators; stress-testing
    Date: 2011–02–01
  9. By: Cohen, Mark A. (Resources for the Future); Gottlieb, Madeline (Resources for the Future); Linn, Joshua (Resources for the Future); Richardson, Nathan (Resources for the Future)
    Abstract: Although the causes of the Deepwater Horizon spill are not yet conclusively identified, significant attention has focused on the safety-related policies and practices—often referred to as the safety culture—of BP and other firms involved in drilling the well. This paper defines and characterizes the economic and policy forces that affect safety culture and identifies reasons why those forces may or may not be adequate or effective from the public’s perspective. Two potential justifications for policy intervention are that: a) not all of the social costs of a spill may be internalized by a firm; and b) there may be principal-agency problems within the firm, which could be reduced by external monitoring. The paper discusses five policies that could increase safety culture and monitoring: liability, financial responsibility (a requirement that a firm’s assets exceed a threshold), government oversight, mandatory private insurance, and risk-based drilling fees. We find that although each policy has a positive effect on safety culture, there are important differences and interactions that must be considered. In particular, the latter three provide external monitoring. Furthermore, raising liability caps without mandating insurance or raising financial responsibility requirements could have a small effect on the safety culture of small firms that would declare bankruptcy in the event of a large spill. The paper concludes with policy recommendations for promoting stronger safety culture in offshore drilling; our preferred approach would be to set a liability cap for each well equal to the worst-case social costs of a spill, and to require insurance up to the cap.
    Keywords: Deepwater Horizon, BP oil spill, safety culture, government policy, liability caps, financial responsibility, insurance
    Date: 2011–01–12
  10. By: Fernandez, Juan J.
    Abstract: This paper examines the determinants of the timing of public pension policy retrenchments in 14 affluent democracies. Available research does not satisfactorily capture the multidimensionality of these legislative events, because it relies on indicators of pension policy provisions for current pensioners even though recent retrenchment pension reforms have been characterized by phased-in or grandfathering measures. Instead, this paper identifies these events by considering the individual long-term implications of each pension reform passed in 14 OECD social-insurance countries between 1981 and 2005. Based on a synthetic review of the pension policy literature, data from financial projections, and principles from the economics of welfare programs, I identify 62 pension retrenchments passed in these countries. My argument is that macroeconomic conditions, size of public pension system, and stage in the electoral cycle shape the likelihood of pension retrenchments. Results obtained from conditional frailty models for recurrent and sequential events support this argument. The interval between pension retrenchments is shorter in countries with low economic growth and high public pension spending, as well as in countries in a post-election year. -- Dieses Papier betrachtet die zeitlichen Muster von Rentenkürzungen und deren Determinanten in wohlhabenden Demokratien. Die derzeitige Forschung berücksichtigt die Multidimensionalität dieser legislativen Maßnahmen nur unzureichend, da sie sich auf die Indikatoren für die aktuelle Rentnerpopulation konzentriert, obwohl diese in Zusammenhang mit bereits eingeleiteten oder früheren gesetzlichen Maßnahmen stehen. Die vorliegende Studie hingegen bezieht die Langzeitfolgen der Rentenreformen und deren Entwicklung in vierzehn OECD Ländern im Zeitraum von 1981 bis 2005 in die Analyse ein. Auf der Grundlage einer zusammenfassenden Bestandsaufnahme der Literatur zur Rentenpolitik, von Daten aus finanziellen Hochrechnungen sowie der ökonomischen Prinzipien von Wohlfahrtsprogrammen werden in diesen Ländern zunächst insgesamt 62 Rentenkürzungsmaßnahmen identifiziert. Zur Erklärung der zeitlichen Abfolge der Maßnahmen werden die makroökonomischen Bedingungen, die Größe des Rentensystems sowie die Zeitpunkte der Anpassungen im Wahlzyklus herangezogen. Die unter Anwendung konditionaler Frailty-Modelle erzielten Resultate stützen das Argument, dass die häufigsten Rentenkürzungen sich in Ländern im Jahr nach der Wahl sowie in Ländern mit geringem Wirtschaftswachstum und hohen Rentenausgaben finden.
    Date: 2010

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