Life insurance lapse behavior

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Life insurance lapse behavior / Stephen G. Fier, Andre P. Liebenberg
Sumario: Life insurance policy lapses are detrimental to issuing insurers when lapses substantially deviate from insurer expectations. The extant literature has proposed and tested, using macroeconomic data, several hypotheses regarding lapse determinants. While macroeconomic data are useful in providing a general test of lapse determinants, the use of aggregate data precludes an analysis of microeconomic factors that may drive the lapse decision. We develop and test a microeconomic model of voluntary life insurance lapse behavior and provide some of the first evidence regarding household factors related to life insurance lapses. Our findings support and extend the prior evidence regarding lapse determinants. Consistent with the emergency fund hypothesis we find that voluntary lapses are related to large income shocks, and consistent with the policy replacement hypothesis we find that the decision to lapse a life insurance policy is directly related to the purchase of a different life insurance policy. We also find that age is an important moderating factor in the lapse decision. Changes in income appear to more directly affect the decision to lapse for younger households, while they are generally unrelated to the lapse decision for older households
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