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Systematic longevity risk: to bear or to insure?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 November 2019

Ling-Ni Boon
Aegon, Aegonplein 50, 2591 TV Den Haag, the Netherlands
Marie Brière*
Amundi, 91 boulevard Pasteur, 75015Paris, France Université Paris Dauphine, PSL Research University, Place du Maréchal de Lattre de Tassigny, 75775Paris Cedex 16, France Université Libre de Bruxelles, Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management, Centre Emile Bernheim, Av. F.D. Roosevelt, 50, CP 145/1, 1050Brussels, Belgium
Bas J. M. Werker
Netspar and Tilburg University, P.O. Box 90153, 5000LETilburg, the Netherlands
*Corresponding author. Email:


We compare two contracts for managing systematic longevity risk in retirement: a collective arrangement that distributes the risk among participants, and a market-provided annuity contract. We evaluate the contracts’ appeal with respect to the retiree's welfare, and the viability of the market solution through the financial reward to the annuity provider's equityholders. We find that individuals prefer to bear the risk under a collective arrangement than to insure it with a life insurers' annuity contract subject to insolvency risk (albeit small). Under realistic capital provision hypotheses, the annuity provider is incapable of adequately compensating its equityholders for bearing systematic longevity risk.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2019

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