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An Econometric Model of the Life Insurance Sector of the U.S. Economy

This article utilizes econometric methods to explain statistically the macroeconomic flows of funds through the life insurance sector of the U.S. economy. Equations are presented which deal with flows of total life insurance reserves, insurer administered pension reserves, and policy loans. Additional equations analyze fluctuations in life insurer acquisitions of corporate bonds, commercial mortgages, and other major types of assets. A primary goal of the model is to augment existing knowledge of the role of life insurance in the economy. In addition, the model can be used to forecast future fluctuations in the variables involved. To illustrate another application of the model, simulation experiments are conducted to explore the impact of variable policy loan interest rates on the extraordinary policy loan flows of 1966. According to the simulations, the use of a variable loan rate equivalent to the commercial bank prime rate would have reduced considerably the policy loan demand during that period. It is hoped that the model will stimulate further econometric research into insurance-related problems.

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