Great (And Not so Great) Expectations: An Endogenous Economic Explication of Insurance Cycles and Liability Crises

The causes of insurance cycles and liability crises have been vigorously sought, claimed, and debated by academic investigators for years. The model provided here partially synthesizes several stands of this literature and provides an additional cause. In addition to causes such as the loss-shocks and interest-rate changes included as explanations in the literature, this model posits changing expectations about the parameters of corporate net income as causes of cycles and crises. Since both sides of the market form expectations about losses and interest rates, changes in both demand and supply in the market are incorporated in the explanation. Changing expectations during the crisis reduced supply and made it more inelastic. The same changing expectations increased demand and made it more inelastic and so amplified the effect due to a change in supply. The model predicts an increase in the equilibrium premium, when the mean and variance of losses increase. The model also predicts an increase in the equilibrium premium when the mean interest rate decreases and variance increases. The empirical results of cross-sectional regression and time-series analyses are consistent with the predictions. The analysis then provides some insight on how to dampen future cycles and reduce the effect of future liability crises.
New Valuation Techniques
Journal of Risk and Insurance
Lai, Gene C.
Witt, Robert C.
Fung, Hung-gay
MacMinn, Richard D.
Brockett, Patrick L.