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How Does Background Risk Affect Investment Risk-taking? Evidence from Insurers’ Corporate Bond Portfolios Xuanjuan Chen, University of North Carolina Tong Yao, University of Arizona Tong Yu, University of Rhode Island. IIS 2006, Chicago. Bond Portfolio of an Average P&L Insurer. Questions.

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iis 2006 chicago

How Does Background Risk Affect Investment Risk-taking?Evidence from Insurers’ Corporate Bond PortfoliosXuanjuan Chen, University of North CarolinaTong Yao, University of ArizonaTong Yu, University of Rhode Island

IIS 2006, Chicago

  • Do insurance companies hold and trade on corporate bonds in response to background risks from their underwriting business?
  • Any effect of an insurer’s performance and loss experience on the interaction between background risk and bond investment?
  • Do financing constraints Matter?
major findings
Major Findings
  • Insurers with greater background risk take less risky bond portfolios
  • Corporate bond investment risk of poorly-performing insurers is positively correlated with background risk
  • The effect of background risk is stronger for insurers with higher financing constraints.
background risk literature
Background Risk Literature
  • Theoretical
      • General framework: Pratt (1964), Pratt and Zeckhauser (1987), Kimball (1993), Gollier and Pratt (1996)
      • Labor income risk: Bodie, Merton and Samuelson (1992), Koo (1998), Heaton and Lucas (2000c)
      • Housing risk: Cocco (2004), Yao and Zhang (2005)
  • Empirics
      • Labor income risk: Guiso, Jappelli and Terilizzesse (1996), Heaton and Lucas (2000b), Angerer and Lam (2006)
      • Housing risk: Yao and Zhang (2005)
other literature and major hypothesis
Other Literature and Major Hypothesis
  • Other insurance related studies
    • Badrinath, Kale and Ryan (1996)
    • Baranoff and Sager (2002)
    • Yu, Lin, Oppenheimer and Chen (2005)
  • Major Hypothesis
    • There is a negative relationship between bond risk taking and background risk
  • Fixed Investment Securities Database (FISD)
  • NAIC Schedule D data
  • NAIC data
  • A.M. Best
bond portfolio risk measures
Bond Portfolio Risk Measures
  • Bond Characteristics
    • Rating
    • Duration
    • Yield
  • Holding-based risk measures
  • Trading-based risk measures
measuring background risk
Measuring Background Risk
  • Asset book value
  • Loss volatility
  • Length of an insurer’s claim tails
  • Level of competition
  • Herfindahl index
  • Best’s rating
  • Policyholder surplus to total assets
effect of background risk on holding risk measures univariate analysis
Effect of Background Risk on Holding Risk Measures(Univariate Analysis)

(Table 4.A)

effect of background risk on holding risk measures multivariate analysis
Effect of Background Risk on Holding Risk Measures(Multivariate Analysis)

(Table 4.B)

effect of background risk on trading risk measures univariate analysis
Effect of Background Risk on Trading Risk Measures(Univariate Analysis)

(Table 5.A)

effect of background risk on trading risk measures multivariate analysis
Effect of Background Risk on Trading Risk Measures(Multivariate Analysis)

(Table 5.B)

gambling incentives
Gambling Incentives
  • Hypothesis: The gambling incentive of insurers with relatively poorer performance and worse performance reduce the effect of background risk on bond investment
  • Classifying Insurers into Performance Groups
    • Standardized unexpected losses
    • ROA
financing constraints
Financing Constraints
  • Hypothesis: an insurer’s is more sensitive to their background risk when facing financing constraint
    • E.g., Fazzari, Hubbard and Petersen (1988, 2000)
  • Measure of financing constraint
    • Mutual versus Stocks – effect is not strong
    • Affiliated versus Non-affiliated – strong effect
  • Asset and liability management of insurance companies
  • Asset management of institutional investors in general