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Natural catastrophes and insurance securitization: performance and risk implications for insurance and reinsurance firms

Hagendorff, Bjorn (2012) Natural catastrophes and insurance securitization: performance and risk implications for insurance and reinsurance firms. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Insurance and reinsurance firms have seen a remarkable increase in underwriting losses associated with natural catastrophes during the past decade. Yet, the volume of global risk-financing capacity of catastrophe events has remained limited to date. This raises concerns over the effect of insolvencies and disruptions in insurance and reinsurance markets in the event of a severe natural catastrophe. Insurance securitization has long been hailed as an important tool to increase the underwriting capacity of firms exposed to catastrophe risk. Surprisingly, however, global volumes of insurance securitization have remained low to date. The thesis provides the first comprehensive analysis of the expected losses to U.S. insurers (as reflected in stock market returns) linked to a series of large natural catastrophes. The results show that, overall, the expected performance implications of mega-catastrophes are by no means devastating for insurers as the sample of natural catastrophes causes only relatively modest value losses for firms with catastrophe exposure. The thesis also provides the first empirical investigation into both the performance effects and the risk effects for insurance and reinsurance firms which engage in insurance securitization by issuing catastrophe bonds. The results show that insurance securitization provides issuers with potential cost advantages (compared to other forms of catastrophe risk management) and that insurance securitization is an effective tool for hedging catastrophe risk. In sum, while the relatively modest performance effects of natural catastrophes on insurance firms put a ceiling on the potential benefits of insurance securitization to firms exposed to catastrophe risk, the thesis shows that catastrophe bonds have some benefits for their issuers. Therefore, this thesis argues that insurance securitization is less valuable as a tool for capacity building in the market for catastrophe underwriting and more useful as a tool to realize cost efficacies and hedging benefits for insurance and reinsurance firms.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
ISBN: 978-0-85731-248-8
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Leeds University Business School
Depositing User: Repository Administrator
Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2012 13:42
Last Modified: 01 Dec 2017 01:18
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/3130

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