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Jel Classification:G22 

Report
A post-mortem of the life insurance industry's bid for capital during the financial crisis

The 2008-2009 financial crisis was the most serious shock to the U.S. financial system since the Great Depression of the 1930s. A number of large financial institutions failed during the crisis. Many institutions that survived did so only because of extraordinary actions undertaken by company management to maintain solvency, or through the extension of extraordinary support by the federal government and the Federal Reserve System. The impact of the financial crisis on the banking sector has been the subject of extensive research, discussion, and debate. Academic and policy researchers, as ...
Current Policy Perspectives , Paper 15-8

Working Paper
Loan Modifications and the Commercial Real Estate Market

Banks modify more CRE loans than CMBS, contributing to better loan performance when property incomes decline. However, banks have higher delinquency rates for less-stressed loans, consistent with modification policies encouraging strategic default. Motivated by these facts, we develop a tradeoff theory model in which lenders vary in their modification technologies. Modification frictions discourage strategic renegotiation, enabling CMBS to offer higher LTV loans and attract borrowers seeking higher leverage. The model produces cross-lender differences in LTVs and spreads consistent with the ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2022-050

Working Paper
Equilibrium Labor Market Search and Health Insurance Reform

We present and empirically implement an equilibrium labor market search model where risk averse workers facing medical expenditure shocks are matched with firms making health insurance coverage decisions. Our model delivers a rich set of predictions that can account for a wide variety of phenomenon observed in the data including the correlations among firm sizes, wages, health insurance offering rates, turnover rates and workers? health compositions. We estimate our model by Generalized Method of Moments using a combination of micro datasets including Survey of Income and Program ...
Working Papers , Paper 727

Working Paper
Consumers and Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP Protection) on Vehicle Financing Contracts: A First Look

Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) shields purchasers from financial risks of losses exceeding insured collateral values if vehicles become total losses. Yet surprisingly little is known about the sales of this product, or consumers' attitudes toward it. In this study, we report the results of a representative national survey conducted by the Survey Research Center (SRC) of the University of Michigan. The SRC interviewed 1,206 individuals in the fall of 2020. This survey shows that consumers purchased GAP in about 39 percent of nanced vehicle transactions. Consumers purchase GAP more often ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2022-062

Working Paper
Pricing of Climate Risk Insurance: Regulation and Cross-Subsidies

Homeowners’ insurance, a $15 trillion market by coverage, provides households financial protection from climate losses. Insurance premiums (rates) are subject to significant regulations at a state level in the United States. Using novel data on filings made by insurers to regulators, we propose a metric to quantify the extent of regulation in individual states. We provide evidence of decoupling of insurance rates from their underlying risks and identify regulation as a driving force behind this pattern. Rates are least reflective of risk in states we classify as "high friction", ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2022-064

Working Paper
Bond Insurance and Public Sector Employment

This paper uses a unique data set of local governments’ bond issuance, expenditure, and employment to study the impact of the monoline insurance industry’s demise on local governments’ operations. To show causality, I use an instrumental variable approach that exploits persistent insurance relationships and the cross-sectional variation in insurers’ exposure to high-quality residential mortgage-backed securities. Governments associated with ailing insurers issued less debt, cut expenditures, and hired fewer workers. These effects are persistent. Partial equilibrium calculations show ...
Working Papers , Paper 22-03

Working Paper
Self-fulfilling Runs: Evidence from the U.S. Life Insurance Industry

Is liquidity creation in shadow banking vulnerable to self-fulfilling runs? Investors typically decide to withdraw simultaneously, making it challenging to identify self-fulfilling runs. In this paper, we exploit the contractual structure of funding agreement-backed securities offered by U.S. life insurers to institutional investors. The contracts allow us to obtain variation in investors' expectations about other investors' actions that is plausibly orthogonal to changes in fundamentals. We find that a run on U.S. life insurers during the summer of 2007 was partly due to self-fulfilling ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2015-32

Working Paper
The Resolution of a Systemically Important Insurance Company during the Great Depression

This paper explores the economic issues related to systemically important insurance companies, using an example from the Great Depression, the National Surety Company. National Surety was a large and diverse insurance company that experienced a major crisis in 1933 due to losses from its guarantees of mortgage-backed securities. A liquidity crisis ensued, as policyholders staged a massive run on the company, demanding the return of their unearned premiums. The New York State Insurance Commissioner stepped in with a reorganization plan that split the company in two, out of fear that a ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2016-5

Working Paper
What's Wrong with Annuity Markets?

We show that the supply of life annuities in the U.S. is constrained by interest rate risk. We identify this effect using annuity prices offered by U.S. life insurers from 1989 to 2019 and exogenous variations in contract-level regulatory capital requirements. The cost of interest rate risk management accounts for at least half of the average life annuity markups or eight percentage points. The contribution of interest rate risk to annuity markups sharply increased after the great financial crisis, suggesting new retirees' opportunities to transfer their longevity risk are unlikely to improve ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2021-044

Working Paper
AIG in Hindsight

The near-failure on September 16, 2008, of American International Group (AIG) was an iconic moment in the financial crisis. The decision to rescue AIG was controversial at the time and remains so. Large bets on real estate pushed AIG to the brink of bankruptcy. In one case, AIG used securities lending to transform insurance company assets into residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) and collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), ultimately losing at least $21 billion and threatening the solvency of the life insurance companies. AIG also sold insurance on multi-sector CDOs, backed by real ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2014-7

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Durkin, Thomas A. 9 items

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