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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter April 15, 2009

Rationality at the Eve of Destruction: Insurance Stocks and Huge Catastrophic Events

Benjamin Kleidt , Dirk Schiereck and Christof Sigl-Grueb

We study the valuation impact on 148 insurance stocks caused by 25 of the largest catastrophic events that occurred in recent history. Because of their exceptional severity and the consequent high attention they experience in the media we expect to find significant overreactions of insurance stocks relative to the market, which would be in-line with an availability bias known from the behavioral finance literature. However, we have to realize that insurance stock investors behave not less rational than the market does under these conditions. A clear exception to this are the 9/11 terror attacks. In general we find that insurance stocks adjust gradually to a new valuation level.

Published Online: 2009-4-15

©2011 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston

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