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International comparison of life insurers : Balance-sheet differences and their financial stability implications

April 18, 2017
Kazuaki Washimi, Hiroki Inaba, Kei Imakubo
Financial Systems and Bank Examination Department

Life insurers, unlike other financial institutions, play a unique role in investing in long-term assets in order to fulfill long-term insurance contracts. While this fundamental role is a common feature around the world, there are large differences in the insurance products they provide and in the investment assets they hold. These differences have led to a divergence in firm-level financial risks, such as duration mismatch between assets and liabilities, which could also result in variation in their systemic impact. With this motivation, this report provides an international comparison on the balance-sheet composition of life insurers in Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States.


Bank of Japan Review is published by the Bank of Japan to explain recent economic and financial topics for a wide range of readers. This report, 2017-E-2, is a translation of the original Japanese version, 2017-J-4, published in April 2017. The views expressed in the Review are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the Bank of Japan.

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