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Efficiency in the international insurance industry: A cross-country comparison

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  • Eling, Martin
  • Luhnen, Michael

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to provide new empirical evidence on frontier efficiency measurement in the international insurance industry, a topic of great interest in the academic literature during the last several years. A broad efficiency comparison of 6462 insurers from 36 countries is conducted. Different methodologies, countries, organizational forms, and company sizes are compared, considering life and non-life insurers. We find a steady technical and cost efficiency growth in international insurance markets from 2002 to 2006, with large differences across countries. Denmark and Japan have the highest average efficiency, whereas the Philippines is the least efficient. Regarding organizational form, the results are not consistent with the expense preference hypothesis, which claims that mutuals should be less efficient than stocks due to higher agency costs. Only minor variations are found when comparing different frontier efficiency methodologies (data envelopment analysis, stochastic frontier analysis).

Suggested Citation

  • Eling, Martin & Luhnen, Michael, 2010. "Efficiency in the international insurance industry: A cross-country comparison," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(7), pages 1497-1509, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jbfina:v:34:y:2010:i:7:p:1497-1509
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