This paper deals with the optimal retention level under four competitive criteria: survival probability, expected profit, variance and expected shortfall of the insurer's risk. The aggregate claim amounts are assumed to be distributed as compound Poisson, and the individual claim amounts are distributed exponentially. We present an approach to determine the optimal retention level that maximizes the expected profit and the survival probability, whereas minimizing the variance and the expected shortfall of the insurer's risk. In the decision making process, we concentrate on multi-attribute decision making methods: the Technique for Order of Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution (TOPSIS) and the VlseKriterijumska Optimizacija I Kompromisno Resenje (VIKOR) methods with their extended versions. We also provide comprehensive analysis for the determination of the optimal retention level under both the expected value and standard deviation premium principles.