The recipients of the 2012 Mehr Award were Anders Grosen, from Aarhus University, and Peter Lochte Jorgensen, from Aarhus University, for “Life Insurance Liabilities at Market Value: An Analysis of Insolvency Risk,” JRI, March 2002, Vol. 69 #1, pp. 63-91.
This article takes a contingent claim approach to the market valuation of equity and liabilities in life insurance companies. A model is presented that explicitly takes into account the following: (i) the holders of life insurance contracts (LICs) have the first claim on the company’s assets, whereas equity holders have limited liability; (ii) interest rate guarantees are common elements of LICs; and (iii) LICs according to the so-called contribution principle are entitled to receive a fair share of any investment surplus. Furthermore, a regulatory mechanism in the form of an intervention rule is built into the model. This mechanism is shown to significantly reduce the insolvency risk of the issued contracts, and it implies that the various claims on the company’s assets become more exotic and obtain barrier option properties. Closed valuation formulas are nevertheless derived. Finally, some representative numerical examples illustrate how the model can be used to establish the set of initially fair contracts and to determine the market values of contracts after their inception.