201 - An Empirical assessment of reinsurance risk

DNB Working Papers
Publicatiedatum 25 februari 2009

We analyse the effect of failing reinsurance cover on the stability of Dutch insurers. As insurers often reinsure themselves with other (re)insurers, losses could spread contagiously through the sector. Using a unique and confidential data set on reinsurance exposures, we perform a scenario analysis to measure contagion risks. Based on current exposures, we find no evidence of systemic risk in the Netherlands, even if multiple reinsurance companies fail simultaneously. Next, we analyse to what extent the financial position of individual primary insurers is affected following a particular shock, considering solvency, capital and profit levels. The life insurance industry is hardly affected by reinsurance failures. The non-life industry, however, is vulnerable to a crisis in the European reinsurance market. We also find that members of smaller insurance groups are particularly exposed. Keywords : reinsurance, contagion, simulation. JEL Codes: G20, G22