Single- versus Multi-Channel Distribution Strategies in the German Life Insurance Market: A Cost and Profit Efficiency Analysis
AbstractUntil its liberalisation in 1994 exclusive agents dominated the distribution of products in the German life insurance industry. Since then, their importance has been declining for the benefit of both distribution via direct distribution channel and independent agents. However, the market shares of specialized direct and independent agent insurers have remained small, while multi-channel insurers increasingly incorporate direct and independent distribution channels, and represent the dominant distribution strategy. The aim of this paper is twofold: First, it analyses the performance of single and multi-channel distribution firms in the German life insurance. Thus, we are able to explain the development and the coexistence of the industries' distribution systems. Our study contributes to research on coexistence of different distribution systems in insurance industry which had been limited to the comparison of exclusive versus independent agent insurers so far. Second, our paper gives insight into cost and profit efficiency levels of German life insurance firms for the period 1997-2005, and delivers information about scale economies in the German life insurance industry. Applying an empirical framework developed by Berger et al. (1997) we estimate cost and profit efficiency for three groups of life insurance firms differing in their distribution systems: multichannel insurers, direct insurers, and independent agent insurers. Non-parametric DEA is used to estimate efficiencies for a sample of German life insurers for the years 1997-2005. Testing a set of hypothesis, we find economic evidence for the coexistence of the different distribution systems which is the absence of comparative performance advantages of specialised insurers. Further, we find evidence for scale economies in the German life insurance industry.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of Rostock, Institute of Economics, Germany in its series Thuenen-Series of Applied Economic Theory with number 81.
Length: 57 pages
Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
Insurance markets; distribution systems; efficiency analysis;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies
- L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
- L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2007-09-30 (All new papers)
- NEP-CSE-2007-09-30 (Economics of Strategic Management)
- NEP-EFF-2007-09-30 (Efficiency & Productivity)
- NEP-IAS-2007-09-30 (Insurance Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- KERSTENS, Kristiaan & VANDEN EECKAUT, Philippe, 1997.
"Estimating returns to scale using nonparametric deterministic technologies : a new method based on goodness-of-fit,"
CORE Discussion Papers
1997013, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
- Kerstens, Kristiaan & Vanden Eeckaut, Philippe, 1999. "Estimating returns to scale using non-parametric deterministic technologies: A new method based on goodness-of-fit," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 113(1), pages 206-214, February.
- Lucinda Trigo Gamarra, 2007. "Does the Product Quality Hypothesis Hold True? - Service Quality Differences between Independent and Exclusive Insurance Agents," Thuenen-Series of Applied Economic Theory 76, University of Rostock, Institute of Economics, Germany.
- Banker, Rajiv D., 1984. "Estimating most productive scale size using data envelopment analysis," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 35-44, July.
- R. D. Banker & A. Charnes & W. W. Cooper, 1984. "Some Models for Estimating Technical and Scale Inefficiencies in Data Envelopment Analysis," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 30(9), pages 1078-1092, September.
- Berger, Allen N & Cummins, J David & Weiss, Mary A, 1997.
"The Coexistence of Multiple Distribution Systems for Financial Services: The Case of Property-Liability Insurance,"
The Journal of Business,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 70(4), pages 515-46, October.
- Allen N. Berger & J. David Cummins & Mary A. Weiss, 1995. "The Coexistence of Multiple Distributions Systems for Financial Services: The Case of Property-Liability Insurance," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 95-13, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
- Allen N. Berger & J. David Cummins & Mary A. Weiss, 1995. "The coexistence of multiple distribution systems for financial services: the case of property-liability insurance," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 95-22, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- Fare, Rolf & Grosskopf, Shawna, 1985. " Nonparametric Cost Approach to Scale Efficiency," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 87(4), pages 594-604.
- 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.
- Wilson, Paul W, 1993. "Detecting Outliers in Deterministic Nonparametric Frontier Models with Multiple Outputs," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 11(3), pages 319-23, July.
- Allen N. Berger & J. David Cummins & Mary A. Weiss & Hongmin Zi, 2000.
"Conglomeration Versus Strategic Focus: Evidence from the Insurance Industry,"
Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers
99-29, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
- Berger, Allen N. & Cummins, J. David & Weiss, Mary A. & Zi, Hongmin, 2000. "Conglomeration versus Strategic Focus: Evidence from the Insurance Industry," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 323-362, October.
- Allen N. Berger & J. David Cummins & Mary A. Weiss & Hongmin Zi, 1999. "Conglomeration versus strategic focus: evidence from the insurance industry," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-40, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- Charnes, A. & Cooper, W. W. & Rhodes, E., 1978. "Measuring the efficiency of decision making units," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 2(6), pages 429-444, November.
- Fare, Rolf & Grosskopf, Shawna & Lovell, C A Knox, 1983. " The Structure of Technical Efficiency," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 85(2), pages 181-90.
- Elgeti, Rolf & Maurer, Raimond, 2000. "Zur Quantifizierung der Risikoprämien deutscher Versicherungsaktien im Kontext eines Multifaktorenmodells," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 00-43, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim & Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
- Paul J. M. Klumpes, 2004. "Performance Benchmarking in Financial Services: Evidence from the UK Life Insurance Industry," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 77(2), pages 257-274, April.
- DeYoung, Robert & Hasan, Iftekhar, 1998. "The performance of de novo commercial banks: A profit efficiency approach," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 565-587, May.
- Førsund, Finn R. & Kittelsen, Sverre A. C., 1998. "Productivity development of Norwegian electricity distribution utilities," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 207-224, September.
- Hancock, Diana, 1985. "The Financial Firm: Production with Monetary and Nonmonetary Goods," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(5), pages 859-80, October.
- J. David Cummins & Jack VanDerhei, 1979. "A Note on the Relative Efficiency of Property-Liability Insurance Distribution Systems," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(2), pages 709-719, Autumn.
- Regan, Laureen & Tennyson, Sharon, 1996. "Agent Discretion and the Choice of Insurance Marketing System," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39(2), pages 637-66, October.
- Mountain, Dean C. & Thomas, Hugh, 1999. "Factor price misspecification in bank cost function estimation," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 163-182, April.
- 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.
- Jaap Bikker & Michiel van Leuvensteijn, 2005. "An Exploration into Competition and Efficiency in the Dutch Life Insurance Industry," DNB Working Papers 047, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
- J. David Cummins & Hongmin Zi, 1997. "Comparison of Frontier Efficiency Methods: An Application to the U.S. Life Insurance Industry," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 97-03, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
- 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.
- Fenn, Paul & Vencappa, Dev & Diacon, Stephen & Klumpes, Paul & O'Brien, Chris, 2008. "Market structure and the efficiency of European insurance companies: A stochastic frontier analysis," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 86-100, January.
- 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.
- J. David Cummins & Mary A. Weiss & Hongmin Zi, 1999. "Organizational Form and Efficiency: The Coexistence of Stock and Mutual Property-Liability Insurers," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 45(9), pages 1254-1269, September.
- Allen N. Berger & David B. Humphrey, 1992. "Measurement and Efficiency Issues in Commercial Banking," NBER Chapters, in: Output Measurement in the Service Sectors, pages 245-300 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Martina Eckardt & Solvig Räthke-Döppner, 2010.
"The Quality of Insurance Intermediary Services-Empirical Evidence for Germany,"
Journal of Risk & Insurance,
The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 77(3), pages 667-701.
- Eckardt, Martina & Räthke-Döppner, Solvig, 2008. "The Quality of Insurance Intermediary Services – Empirical Evidence for Germany," MPRA Paper 10703, University Library of Munich, Germany.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Doris Neuberger).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.