XXV Edition

1-2 December 2016"

Systemic Risk in Financial Markets: How Systemically Important are Insurers?

Kaserer Christoph, Technical University of Munich
Klein Christian, Technical University of Munich

We study how insurers contribute to systemic risk in financial markets. Systemic risk is measured as the market value of distressed losses to financial institutions' creditors, and in terms of tail interdependence between individual financial institutions and the broader financial system. The global financial system is represented by 183 major banks and insurers over the pre-crisis and crisis periods from January 2005 through December 2014. On the sector level, we find that the insurance sector generally contributes relatively little to the aggregate amount of systemic risk in the global financial system; during the financial crisis and the European sovereign debt crisis, its systemic risk share averaged 9 percent. On the level of individual institutions, however, several multi-line and life insurers appear as systemically risky as the riskiest banks. Our results indicate that insurers' level of systemic risk varies by line of insurance, and provide a preliminary affirmation that some insurers are systemically important financial institutions. We discuss several important implications for the regulation of systemic risk in financial markets.

Area: Financial Stability

Keywords: financial crisis, European sovereign debt crisis, systemic risk, global systemically important insurer, credit default swap

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