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Performance of the Dutch non-life insurance industry: competition, efficiency and focus

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  • Jacob Bikker
  • Janko Gorter

Abstract

This paper investigates competition in the Dutch non-life insurance industry indirectly by measuring scale economies and X-inefficiency, assuming that strong competition would force insurance firms to exploit unused scale economies and to push down inefficiencies. We observe substantial economies of scale (on average 11%) that are larger for smaller firms. Despite considerable consolidation in the industry over the last decade, scale economies have increased, as the optimal scale has outgrown the actual one. Comparing estimates across aggregation levels, we find that scale economies are smaller for groups and lines of business than they are for firms. Besides scale, focus and organizational form are important cost determinants as well: generally, specialized insurers have lower costs and face greater economies of scale. Estimates of thick frontier efficiency point to huge cost differences across firms and within lines of business.Overall, our results suggest that there is a lack of competitive pressure in the Dutch non-life insurance industry.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department in its series DNB Working Papers with number 164.

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Date of creation: Jan 2008
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Handle: RePEc:dnb:dnbwpp:164

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Web page: http://www.dnb.nl/en/
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Keywords: Non-life insurance; economies of scale; market structure; concentration; competition; X-efficiency; total cost function; aggregation: insurance groups; firms and lines of business;

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References

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  1. Cummins, J. David & Weiss, Mary A., 1993. "Measuring cost efficiency in the property-liability insurance industry," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(2-3), pages 463-481, April.
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  10. Berger, Allen N. & Humphrey, David B., 1991. "The dominance of inefficiencies over scale and product mix economies in banking," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 117-148, August.
  11. Jean Marc Suret, 1991. "Scale and Scope Economies in the Canadian Property and Casualty Insurance Industry," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 16(2), pages 236-256, April.
  12. Kolari, James & Zardkoohi, Asghar, 1990. " Economies of Scale and Scope in Thrift Institutions: The Case of Finnish Cooperative and Savings Banks," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 92(3), pages 437-51.
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  14. Jacob A. Bikker, 2001. "Efficiency in the European banking industry: an exploratory analysis to rank contries," Brussels Economic Review, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles, vol. 17.
  15. Hanweck, Gerald A. & Hogan, Arthur M. B., 1996. "The structure of the property/casualty insurance industry," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 141-155, May.
  16. J. A. Bikker & M. van Leuvensteijn, 2008. "Competition and efficiency in the Dutch life insurance industry," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(16), pages 2063-2084.
  17. Andrew M. Yuengert, 1993. "The measurement of efficiency in life insurance estimates of a mixed normal-gamma error model," Research Paper 9308, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  18. F Fecher & S Perelman & P Pestieau, 1991. "Scale Economies and Performance in the French Insurance Industry," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 16(3), pages 315-326, July.
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  20. Luigi Prosperetti, 1991. "Economies of Scale in Italian Non-Life Insurance*," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 16(3), pages 282-292, July.
  21. J. David Cummins & Maria Rubio-Misas, 2001. "Deregulation, Consolidation, and Efficiency: Evidence From the Spanish Insurance Industry," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 02-01, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
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Cited by:
  1. Huang, Wei & Eling, Martin, 2013. "An efficiency comparison of the non-life insurance industry in the BRIC countries," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 226(3), pages 577-591.
  2. J.A. Bikker & Laura Spierdijk, 2009. "Measuring and explaining competition in the financial sector," Working Papers 09-01, Utrecht School of Economics.

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