Date of Award

Fall 2009

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Applied Economics

First Advisor

Greg Nini

Second Advisor

Scott Harrington

Third Advisor

John Core


This paper provides evidence that insurance executives respond to their compensation incentives by adjusting observable risk-management policy variables – the reinsurance purchase decision, type of business conducted, and firm leverage. Executive incentives are modeled by the executive sensitivity of wealth to stock price (Delta) and stock volatility (Vega). Firms respond to increased executive incentives to bear risk by purchasing less reinsurance, but also conducting less business in long-tailed lines – a change which rewards the executive through increased market volatility. The cost of altering executive incentives to effect firm policy is much less than a similar change in firm structural variables.