Tag Archives: catastrophe

Natural Catastrophe Insurance: How Should the Government Intervene?

An updated version of the joint paper with Benoit Le Maux is online on http://papers.ssrn.com/.

The present paper develops a new theoretical framework for analyzing the decision to provide or buy insurance against the risk of natural catastrophes. In contrast with conventional models of insurance, the insurer has a non-zero probability of insolvency that depends on the distribution of the risks, the premium rate, and the amount of capital in the company. Among several results, we show that risk-averse policyholders will accept to pay higher rates for a government-provided insurance with unlimited guarantee. However, depending on the correlation between and within the regional risks, a government program can be more attractive to high-correlation than to low correlation areas, which may lead to inefficiencies if the insurance ratings are not appropriately chosen.

Some stylized facts about large risk covers

A couple of weeks ago, David Cummins (here) was giving a talk in Laval University. And we’ve seen a series of extremely interesting graphs and figures about catastrophe reinsurance market, as well as Cat Bonds prices. The first one was the rate one line index for catastrophe reinsurance (the rate on line is the excess of loss premium expressed as a percentage of the reinsurance cover), from Guy Carpenter (2010, page 10 here).

Following hurricane Andrew in 1992, prices went up quite high. But following hurricane Katrina (which is, so far, the most costly insured disaster following the second World War, with a cost exceeding 70 billions US$ – 2008 $ – while Andrew was only 24 billions – again 2008 $), the bump is much smaller. I though cycles where much larger in the reinsurance industry.

Then there was a discussion about cat bond pricing, with a graph from Lane Financial (2010, page 13, here) with the ratio premium over expected loss

This is extremely interesting, even if it is only about cat bond, and not about reinsurance covers. Usually, when we introduce premium principles in actuarial courses, we start with the pure premium, i.e.

http://freakonometrics.blog.free.fr/public/perso2/chargement-PP-02.gifThen we explain that with such a price, ruin probability is certain (with an infinite time horizon), so we need to add a safety margin, and a standard idea (but that can be criticized since the expected value has – usually – nothing to do with the variability) is to add a loading proportional to the pure premium. Then the premium is

http://freakonometrics.blog.free.fr/public/perso2/chargement-PP-01.gifFor small risks, like motor insurance, the loading is not huge. Actually, if risks have finite variance, it can be obtained simply using the central limit theorem (but I’ll get back on that point in a couple of weeks). Here, we see that loading http://freakonometrics.blog.free.fr/public/perso2/thetaloading.gif can be large (up to 400% in 2009).

An finally an updated graph with a comparison between BB corporate bondscoupon, and BB catastrophe bonds coupon,

(I guess the source is again Morton Lane). I found surprising the recent gap (following Katrina) between the two spreads. I guess financial market started to be scared and understood that catastrophes are not that rare…. I wonder what 2008 and 2009 prices looked like.

Pricing catastrophe options in incomplete markets

The paper on the pricing of catastrophe options just appeared in the Proceedings of the Actuarial and Financial Mathematics Conference.

In complete markets, pricing financial products is easy (at least from a theoretical point of view). In incomplete markets (e.g. when the underlying process has jumps with random size, such as an insurance loss process), the price is no longer unique. So on the one hand, it becomes difficult to provide a tractable price of insurance-linked derivatives. On the other hand, when facing catastrophic losses, using the pure premium as a price might not be relevant (e.g. for solvency issues). Both financial market and (re)insurance industry have proposed techniques to price identical hedging products that can be related (e.g. Esscher transform and more generally distorted risk measures in insurance, Gerber-Shiu transform in finance). In this paper, we focus on indifference utility techniques, assuming that stock prices have jumps,related to major catastrophic losses, and thus, partial hedging should then be possible.

La conférence cette année se tiendra les 5 et 6 février (site) a Bruxelles.