Traditionally, individual states have shared responsibility for regulating the US insurance industry. The Dodd–Frank Act changes this by tasking the Federal Reserve with regulating the systemic risks that particularly large insurance organizations might pose and assigning the regulation of swap-based substitutes for insurance and reinsurance products to the SEC and CFTC. This paper argues that prudential regulation of large insurance firms and weaknesses in federal swaps regulation could reduce the effectiveness of state-based systems in protecting policyholders and taxpayers from nonperformance in the insurance industry. Swap-based substitutes for traditional insurance and reinsurance contracts offer protection sellers a way to transfer responsibility for guarding against nonperformance into potentially less-effective hands. The CFTC and SEC lack the focus, expertise, experience, and resources to adequately manage the ways that swap transactions can affect US taxpayers’ equity position in global safety nets, while regulators at the Fed refuse to recognize that conscientiously monitoring accounting capital at financial holding companies will not adequately protect taxpayers and policyholders until and unless it is accompanied by severe penalties for managers that willfully hide their firm’s exposure to destructive tail risks.
The author wishes to thank the Networks Financial Institute for financial support and Robert Dickler, Thomas Ferguson, and Jack Tatom for valuable comments on an earlier draft.
Kane, E. (2017), "Insurance Contracts and Derivatives that Substitute for them: How and Where Should their Systemic and Nonperformance Risks be Regulated?", Advances in Pacific Basin Business Economics and Finance (Advances in Pacific Basin Business, Economics and Finance, Vol. 5), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 1-17. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2514-465020170000001001Download as .RIS
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