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An Introduction to the Benefits…
June 2, 2006

By: Morton N. Lane, President; Jerome Kreuser

The use of optimizing models for portfolio selection and construction in the context of insurance is relatively new. Investment portfolio managers regularly rely on optimization, but underwriters are much more likely to use good old fashion trial and error, with some admittedly quite sophisticated, simulation techniques to developing underwriting portfolio strategies. The unique characteristics of insurance risk, e.g. long tails, one sided correlations etc, did not lend themselves to early optimization models but, certain technical breakthroughs have advanced optimization modeling and insurance risk is now a potentially important application. Moreover, once adopted, optimization techniques have considerable informational benefits over simulation.

The purpose of this paper is to illustrate these benefits. We do this in two ways. First by tracing out the numerical implications with a simple practical application; second, by introducing some of the algebra4 necessary to extract the benefits in more general and complicated cases. The techniques have been successfully applied in several large scale real situations and further technical details will be forthcoming in subsequent papers

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Unlovely Rita's Market Meter
September 24, 2005

By: Morton N. Lane, President

Thefollowing tables update the exhibits from last week’s note “Respondingto Katrina” in light of the potential impact of hurricane Rita on theTexas – Louisiana coast.  The message of the markets as of Fridayevening, when exact landfall and strength was unknown, is contained inthese updated tables.

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Responding to Katrina
September 16, 2005

By: Morton N. Lane, President

As of this writing it has been two and one half weeks since Katrina first made landfall (in Florida) and two weeks since Louisiana and New Orleans suffered their landfall and subsequent devastation.  And, as of yet, no one has a definitive estimate of the insured losses that will be suffered by the insurance and reinsurance industry as a result of Katrina.  The now most widely quoted estimate is by Risk Management Services (RMS) who released an estimate to their clients on Friday, September 9th that the total industry losses would be between $40 billion and $60 billion.  Shockingly high, but it is not exactly precise.

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Arbor I-Xth Series - Still a Win-Win?
September 1, 2005

By: Morton Lane, PhD

On Aug. 19, Swiss Re announced the tenth issue in its Arbor I series. Interest is currently being solicited and the contract will settle on Sept. 15, 2005.  Strictly, “being solicited” is inaccurate.  Technically, and more accurately, the window is open for investors to express any interest they have at the offered price.  Swiss Re is agnostic about whether they would want more or less at that price.  It has happened before that Swiss Re has announced a price and received no bids (Sakura in its sixth take down in September 2004).  It may happen again given that hurricane Katrina may spook investors.  However, one question we raise here is whether Arbor I is a fair deal at the current price.  Given the time of writing it is reasonable to ask the question in two parts.  First was the pre-Katrina price reasonable?  Second, how does Katrina affect the evaluation now (Sept 1)?

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A Look at Avalon Re and ILS Pricing at Mid-Year
September 1, 2005

By: Morton N. Lane, PhD

In Arthurian legend Avalon was the island paradise in the western seas to which King Arthur went at his death.  In naming its inaugural insurance linked security (ILS) Avalon, Oil Casualty Insurance Ltd. (OCIL) may have been trying to invoke the calming effect of a (risk-free?) paradise reached with this instrument, or it may have been alluding to (shareholders in) western seas.  Then again it may have just been a colorful first letter of the alphabet for what will be a series of such ILS.  Whatever its descriptive intention, however, Avalon has transported the world of ILS to a new insurance arena, namely the securitization of liability risk.  Heretofore, ILS have been dominated by catastrophe bonds, or at the very least short-tailed risk. Avalon has changed that.  It has opened the door to a wider class of securitization of insurance risk – general liability.

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Game On!
April 30, 2005

By: Morton N. Lane, President and Roger G. Beckwith, Vice President Lane Financial LLC

It has been a mantra for several years that the insurance and capital markets will converge.  The arguments are too compelling.  Capital markets are looking for uncorrelated risk, “searching for alpha”; insurance markets are always looking for sources of risk-taking capital.  Insurance risks are, by and large, uncorrelated with the financial market and, as of this writing, capital markets are searching for higher rewards (the usual complement of higher risk).  This juxtaposition of sound rationale and contemporary circumstance has caused a rapid advance in insurance/capital market convergence in the last twelve months.  It is no longer a speculation about if there will be convergence.  It is a situation, as sportscasters like to say, of “Game On!”

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Pricing Limit
August 15, 2004

By: Morton Lane, Ph.D.

Aviation insurers are often asked to provide limits of liability to insureds (a) that are  large and (b) whose exposures are difficult to assess.  This is particularly true of providers of coverage for product manufacturers and other products liability.  The question arises, for several insureds with little or no loss experience, how should such coverage be priced? In particular, is there some minimum price of limit?

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Review of Trends in Insurance Securitization
April 30, 2004

Presented at the 2004 Enterprise Risk Management Symposium sponsored by the Casualty Actuarial Society, the Society of Actuaries and Georgia State University.

By:  Morton Lane, President and Roger Beckwith, Vice President
Lane Financial LLC

The last twelve months have been something of a breakout year for insurance securitization. By our estimate $1.9 billion of securities were issued between 4/2003 and 3/2003 (our usual measuring interval). This represents a 50% increase over the previously most active year to date (1999). Sixteen securities, as defined herein, constitute the record issuance. But, as always, such measurements are subject to specification definition. During this period at least three other securities were issued that have not been included in this report, principally because of a lack of readily available data. Had they been included the issuance level would have been an additional $900 million.

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The Viability and Likely Pricing of "Cat Bonds" for Developing Countries
February 14, 2004 (Revised March 31, 2004)

Excerpt from Catastrophe Risk and Reinsurance: A Country Risk Management Perspective, Eugene N. Gurenko (ed.) 2004 (London: Risk Books)

By Morton N. Lane, Ph.D.

An inordinately large number of natural catastrophes occur in the developing world.  That is, they occur in those areas least likely to be able to handle the disaster’s human and economic consequences and quickly return to functioning societies.  In the developed world, when disasters hit, governments respond with aid but a large measure of restitution is provided by private insurance markets.  In the developing world, the usual sources of help are international reconstruction agencies like the World Bank and IMF, donor governments and charities.  The insurance markets provide very little help.

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Rationale and Results with the LFC CAT Bond Pricing Model
December 31, 2003

Published in Insurance and the State of the ART in Cat Bond Pricing, Etudes et Dossiers No. 278, Working Paper Series of The Geneva Association, January 2004

By Morton N. Lane, Ph.D.

Cat bond pricing presents theorists with both an opportunity and a challenge.  The opportunity is that for the first time ever, investors have been presented with explicit probability statistics about the likelihood of full repayment at maturity.  They receive these probability estimates at the time of issue.  Other fixed income securities may allude to likely default statistics, via a letter rating, but none, prior to the advent of cat bonds, did this with precision. Indeed, the rating agencies themselves used different metrics to arrive at their letter ratings, therefore representing different things.  In spite of this, the traded market often uses the letter ratings interchangeably as surrogate ranges of default probability.  The opportunity then is to observe transaction prices and examine them relative to precise statistics provided at issue. 

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