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Optimal risk financing in large corporations through insurance captives

Abstract

A captive is an insurance or reinsurance company established by a parent group to finance its own risks. Captives mix internal risk pooling between the business units of the parent group and risk transfer toward the reinsurance market. We analyze captives from an optimal insurance contract perspective. The paper considers the vertical contractual chain that links firstly business units to insurance captives or to "fronters" through insurance contracts, secondly fronters to reinsurance captives through the cession of risks and thirdly insurance or reinsurance captives to reinsurers through cessions or retrocessions. In particular, the risk cession by fronters to a reinsurance captive trades o¤ the benefits derived from recouped premiums and from the risk sharing advantage of an "umbrella reinsurance policy", against the risks that result from the captive liabilities. The optimal captive scheme depends on the price of coverage in insurance and reinsurance markets and on the parent group's corporate capital. Since these variables fluctuate across time, the analysis developed in this paper corroborates the intertemporal variability of captives activity.self-insurance, captive, reinsurance, risk management

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