The Pension Research Council
Working Paper

Hidden Regret and Advantageous Selection in Insurance Markets

Rachel J. Huang, Alexander Muermann, and Larry Y. Tzeng
WP2007-32

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Abstract

We examine insurance markets in which there are two types of customers: those who regret suboptimal decisions and those who don’t. In this setting, we characterize the equilibria under hidden information about the type of customers and hidden action. We show that both pooling and separating equilibria can exist. Furthermore, there exist separating equilibria that predict a positive correlation between the amount of insurance coverage and risk type, as in the standard economic models of adverse selection, but there also exist separating equilibria that predict a negative correlation between the amount of insurance coverage and risk type, i.e. advantageous selection. Since optimal choice of regretful customers depends on foregone alternatives, any equilibrium includes a contract which is not purchased.