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Budget-constrained optimal insurance with belief heterogeneity

Mario Ghossoub

Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, 2019, vol. 89, issue C, 79-91

Abstract: We re-examine the problem of budget-constrained demand for insurance indemnification when the insured and the insurer disagree about the likelihoods associated with the realizations of the insurable loss. For ease of comparison with the classical literature, we adopt the original setting of Arrow (1971), but allow for divergence in beliefs between the insurer and the insured; and in particular for singularity between these beliefs, that is, disagreement about zero-probability events. We do not impose the no sabotage condition on admissible indemnities. Instead, we impose a state-verification cost that the insurer can incur in order to verify the loss severity, which rules out ex post moral hazard issues that could otherwise arise from possible misreporting of the loss by the insured. Under a mild consistency requirement between these beliefs that is weaker than the Monotone Likelihood Ratio (MLR) condition, we characterize the optimal indemnity and show that it has a simple two-part structure: full insurance on an event to which the insurer assigns zero probability, and a variable deductible on the complement of this event, which depends on the state of the world through a likelihood ratio. The latter is obtained from a Lebesgue decomposition of the insured’s belief with respect to the insurer’s belief.

Keywords: Optimal insurance; Retention function; Deductible; Heterogeneous beliefs; Monotone likelihood ratio; Monotone hazard ratio (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C02 D86 G22 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1016/j.insmatheco.2019.09.002

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