The recipient of the 2008 Witt Award was Kenneth Froot, Harvard University, for “Risk Management, Capital Budgeting, and Capital Structure Policy for Insurers and Reinsurers,” JRI, June 2007, Vol. 74 #2, pp. 273-299.
This article builds on Froot and Stein in developing a framework for analyzing the risk allocation, capital budgeting, and capital structure decisions facing insurers and reinsurers. The model incorporates three key features: (i) value-maximizing insurers and reinsurers face product-market as well as capital-market imperfections that give rise to well-founded concerns with risk management and capital allocation; (ii) some, but not all, of the risks they face can be frictionlessly hedged in the capital market; and (iii) the distribution of their cash flows may be asymmetric, which alters the demand for underwriting and hedging. We show these features result in a three-factor model that determines the optimal pricing and allocation of risk and capital structure of the firm. This approach allows us to integrate these features into: (i) the pricing of risky investment, underwriting, reinsurance, and hedging; and (ii) the allocation of risk across all of these opportunities, and the optimal amount of surplus capital held by the firm.