Hedging Costs for Variable Annuities Under Regime-Switching

  • Parsiad Azimzadeh
  • Peter A. Forsyth
  • Kenneth R. Vetzal
Part of the International Series in Operations Research & Management Science book series (ISOR, volume 209)


A general methodology is described in which policyholder behaviour is decoupled from the pricing of a variable annuity based on the cost of hedging it, yielding two weakly coupled systems of partial differential equations (PDEs): the pricing and utility systems. The utility system is used to generate policyholder withdrawal behaviour, which is in turn fed into the pricing system as a means to determine the cost of hedging the contract. This approach allows us to incorporate the effects of utility-based pricing and factors such as taxation. As a case study, we consider the Guaranteed Lifelong Withdrawal and Death Benefits (GLWDB) contract. The pricing and utility systems for the GLWDB are derived under the assumption that the underlying asset follows a Markov regime-switching process. An implicit PDE method is used to solve both systems in tandem. We show that for a large class of utility functions, the pricing and utility systems preserve homogeneity, allowing us to decrease the dimensionality of the PDEs and thus to rapidly generate numerical solutions. It is shown that for a typical contract, the fee required to fund the cost of hedging calculated under the assumption that the policyholder withdraws at the contract rate is an appropriate approximation to the fee calculated assuming optimal consumption. The costly nature of the death benefit is documented. Results are presented which demonstrate the sensitivity of the hedging expense to various parameters.



This work was supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Global Risk Institute in Financial Services (Toronto).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Parsiad Azimzadeh
    • 1
  • Peter A. Forsyth
    • 1
  • Kenneth R. Vetzal
    • 2
  1. 1.Cheriton School of Computer ScienceUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada
  2. 2.School of Accounting and FinanceUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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