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The coexistence of multiple distribution systems for financial services: the case of property-liability insurance

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Author Info

  • Allen N. Berger
  • J. David Cummins
  • Mary A. Weiss

Abstract

Property-liability insurance is distributed through a direct-writer system, where agents represent one insurer, and an independent-agency system, where agents represent several insurers. Independent-agency insurers have higher costs than direct writers. The market-imperfections hypothesis attributes the coexistence of the two types of insurers to impediments to competition, while the product-quality hypothesis holds that independent-agency insurers provide higher-quality services. The authors measure cost efficiency and profit efficiency for property-liability insurers and find strong support for the product-quality hypothesis, implying that independent-agency insurers produce higher-quality outputs and are compensated by higher revenues. Copyright 1997 by University of Chicago Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 95-22.

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Date of creation: 1995
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:95-22

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Keywords: Insurance ; Nonbank activities;

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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.
  2. Ferrier, Gary D. & Lovell, C. A. Knox, 1990. "Measuring cost efficiency in banking : Econometric and linear programming evidence," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1-2), pages 229-245.
  3. Greene, William H., 1990. "A Gamma-distributed stochastic frontier model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1-2), pages 141-163.
  4. Ronald R. Braeutigam & Mark V. Pauly, 1986. "Cost Function Estimation and Quality Bias: The Regulated Automobile Insurance Industry," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(4), pages 606-617, Winter.
  5. Lawrence B. Pulley & Allen N. Berger & David B. Humphrey, 1993. "Do consumers pay for one-stop banking? Evidence from a non-standard revenue function," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 93-30, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  6. 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.
  7. Loretta J. Mester, 1989. "Testing for Expense Preference Behavior: Mutual versus Stock Savings and Loans," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 20(4), pages 483-498, Winter.
  8. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
  9. Yuengert, Andrew M., 1993. "The measurement of efficiency in life insurance: Estimates of a mixed normal-gamma error model," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(2-3), pages 483-496, April.
  10. Allen Berger & John Leusner & John Mingo, 1994. "The Efficiency of Bank Branches," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 94-27, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  11. Allen N. Berger & David B. Humphrey, 1990. "Measurement and efficiency issues in commercial banking," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 151, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  12. Mayers, David & Smith, Clifford W, Jr, 1981. "Contractual Provisions, Organizational Structure, and Conflict Control in Insurance Markets," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(3), pages 407-34, July.
  13. Fecher, F. & Kessler, D. & Perelman, S. & Pestieau, P., 1991. "Productive performance of the french insurance industry," CORE Discussion Papers 1991025, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
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  15. Schmidt, Peter & Sickles, Robin C, 1984. "Production Frontiers and Panel Data," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 2(4), pages 367-74, October.
  16. Berger, Allen N. & Hancock, Diana & Humphrey, David B., 1993. "Bank efficiency derived from the profit function," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(2-3), pages 317-347, April.
  17. Ferrier, Gary D. & Grosskopf, Shawna & Hayes, Kathy J. & Yaisawarng, Suthathip, 1993. "Economies of diversification in the banking industry : A frontier approach," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 229-249, April.
  18. Gallant, A. Ronald, 1981. "On the bias in flexible functional forms and an essentially unbiased form : The fourier flexible form," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 211-245, February.
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  20. Winter Ralph A., 1994. "The Dynamics of Competitive Insurance Markets," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 379-415, September.
  21. Ralph A. Winter, 1991. "The Liability Insurance Market," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(3), pages 115-136, Summer.
  22. Lamm-Tennant, Joan & Starks, Laura T, 1993. "Stock versus Mutual Ownership Structures: The Risk Implications," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66(1), pages 29-46, January.
  23. J. David Cummins & Sharon Tennyson, 1992. "Controlling Automobile Insurance Costs," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 95-115, Spring.
  24. Paul L. Joskow, 1973. "Cartels, Competition and Regulation in the Property-Liability Insurance Industry," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 4(2), pages 375-427, Autumn.
  25. Berger, Allen N. & Hunter, William C. & Timme, Stephen G., 1993. "The efficiency of financial institutions: A review and preview of research past, present and future," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(2-3), pages 221-249, April.
  26. Mayers, David & Smith, Clifford W, Jr, 1988. "Ownership Structure across Lines of Property-Casualty Insurance," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(2), pages 351-78, October.
  27. Allen N. Berger & David B. Humphrey, 1990. "The dominance of inefficiencies over scale and product mix economies in banking," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 107, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  28. Marvel, Howard P, 1982. "Exclusive Dealing," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25(1), pages 1-25, April.
  29. McAllister, Patrick H. & McManus, Douglas, 1993. "Resolving the scale efficiency puzzle in banking," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(2-3), pages 389-405, April.
  30. Allen N. Berger & David B. Humphrey, 1992. "Megamergers in banking and the use of cost efficiency as an antitrust defense," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 203, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  31. Sass, Tim R & Gisser, Micha, 1989. "Agency Cost, Firm Size, and Exclusive Dealing," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(2), pages 381-400, October.
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