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The Quality of Insurance Intermediary Services – Empirical Evidence for Germany

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  • Eckardt, Martina
  • Räthke-Döppner, Solvig

Abstract

Insurance intermediaries help consumers to economize on information and transaction costs in insurance markets. However, competing insurance intermediaries provide heterogeneous services, which are difficult to assess by incompletely informed consumers. Transaction costs economics, search theory and principal agent theory provide arguments on product quality differences between the two main distribution channels in insurance markets (exclusive agents vs. independent intermediaries). The present paper uses a sample of 927 insurance intermediaries in Germany. By performing OLS estimations we test the impact of the different distribution channels, but also of other factors relating to the information processing activities on intermediaries’ service quality. Depending on the proxies used for service quality, we find mixed evidence for the “product quality” hypothesis according to which independent intermediaries provide better service quality than exclusive agents. We find that service quality depends also to a large extent on the information gathering and processing activities of the individual intermediaries.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 10703.

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Date of creation: Sep 2008
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:10703

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Keywords: Insurance Distribution Channels; Service Quality;

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  1. Posey, Lisa L. & Tennyson, Sharon, 1998. "The coexistence of distribution systems under price search: Theory and some evidence from insurance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 95-115, March.
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  7. Marvel, Howard P, 1982. "Exclusive Dealing," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25(1), pages 1-25, April.
  8. 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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  10. Damian Ward, 2003. "Can Independent Distribution Function as a Mode of Corporate Governance?: An Examination of the UK Life Insurance Market," Journal of Management and Governance, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 361-384, December.
  11. Eckardt, Martina, 2002. "Agent and Broker Intermediaries in Insurance Markets -- An Empirical Analysis of Market Outcomes," Thuenen-Series of Applied Economic Theory 34, University of Rostock, Institute of Economics.
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  17. Darby, Michael R & Karni, Edi, 1973. "Free Competition and the Optimal Amount of Fraud," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 67-88, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Christiansen, Marcus & Eling, Martin & Schmidt, Jan-Philipp & Zirkelbach, Lorenz, 2012. "Who is Changing Health Insurance Coverage? Empirical Evidence on Policyholder Dynamics," Working Papers on Finance 1223, University of St. Gallen, School of Finance.
  2. Richard Brophy, 2012. "Development of insurance regulation in Ireland," Journal of Financial Regulation and Compliance, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 20(3), pages 248-263, July.
  3. Dan Constantin Danuletiu & Adina Elena Danuletiu, 2011. "Trends And Challenges Of Romanian Brokerage Insurance Market," Annales Universitatis Apulensis Series Oeconomica, Faculty of Sciences, "1 Decembrie 1918" University, Alba Iulia, vol. 2(13), pages 24.

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