Valuation of guaranteed annuity options using a stochastic volatility model for equity prices

Guaranteed Annuity Options are options providing the right to convert a policyholder’s accumulated funds to a life annuity at a fixed rate when the policy matures. These options were a common feature in UK retirement savings contracts issued in the 1970’s and 1980’s when interest rates were high, but caused problems for insurers as the interest rates began to fall in the 1990’s.Currently, these options are frequently sold in the U.S. and Japan as part of variable annuity products.The last decade the literature on pricing and risk management of these options evolved.Until now, for pricing these options generally a geometric Brownian motion for equity prices is assumed. However, given the long maturities of the insurance contracts a stochastic volatilitymodel for equity prices would be more suitable. In this paper closed form expressions are derived for prices of guaranteed annuity options assuming stochastic volatility for equity prices and eithera 1-factor or 2-factor Gaussian interest rate model. The results indicate that the impact of ignoring stochastic volatility can be significant.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.

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