Journal Article

SPDAs and GICs: like money in the bank?


Abstract: We argue that changes in the life insurance industry have created a nontrivial moral hazard. We document the industry's shift from sales of life insurance to sales of mainly rate-of-return oriented investments like single premium deferred annuities (SPDAs) and guaranteed investment contracts (GICs). We describe the system of explicit and implicit guarantees that state governments and the industry provide to SPDA and GIC investors. We argue that these guarantees create moral hazards that have contributed to insurance company failures and misallocation of resources. We summarize reformers' proposals to enhance both the explicit guarantees and the regulation of insurance companies and argue that maintaining the degree of regulatory tightness required for such proposals to succeed will be difficult. We suggest an alternative: eliminate guarantees of SPDAs, GICs, and similar products (and possibly promote full disclosure practices and earmarked investments like variable annuities).

Keywords: Insurance industry;

Access Documents

File(s): File format is application/pdf http://minneapolisfed.org/research/qr/qr1631.pdf

File(s): File format is text/html http://minneapolisfed.org/research/qr/qr1631.html

Authors

Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

Part of Series: Quarterly Review

Publication Date: 1992

Volume: 16

Issue: Sum

Pages: 2-17