Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The imperfect market for re-insurance

The insurance market is thought to be rather competitive, at least for the most common risks. That is in part because insurance companies are willing to take risks thanks to re-insurance, where they can insure large event risks and to some degree over-exposure. But there are rather few actors on the re-insurance market. Is this bad, and does it have an impact on the insurance market?

Sabine Lemoyne de Forges, Ruben Bibas and Stéphane Hallegatte play with a model of re-insurance and find that there is a trade-off. The lack of competition leads to sub-optimal re-insurance provision, obviously. But is also allows the few players to take on larger risks, some of which may not have been insured otherwise. And, the larger the re-insurers, the more resilient the market can be. As a regulator, this means that means that you may to let the re-insurance companies grow larger than want is optimal in terms of competition.

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