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Flexible Life Annuities


  • Alexis Direr, Laboratoire d'Economie d'Orléans (LEO), rue de Blois - BP 6739, 45067 Orléans Cedex 2 France (

  • I thank the participants of the Paris School of Economics “Health and Insurance” workshop and the CESifo Venice Summer Institute Workshop on Longevity and Annuitization. Valuable comments by an anonymous referee are also gratefully acknowledged. Any errors or omissions remain my own.


Annuity contracts typically deliver a stream of income at a predetermined level in order to insure against the risk of longevity. This paper explores whether flexible annuities, which give subscribers the possibility to choose between different levels of annuity, are welfare enhancing. In the case where agents gradually discover their actual probability of survival, a predetermined and “one-size-fits-all” annuity plan is optimal. If an expenditure risk is added along with the longevity risk, a flexible annuity plan is better even though the consumption path cannot be isolated from uninsured expenses anymore.