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The structure of the global reinsurance market: An analysis of efficiency, scale, and scope

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  • Biener, Christian
  • Eling, Martin
  • Jia, Ruo

Abstract

We estimate economies of scale and scope as well as cost and revenue efficiency to explain the structure of the global reinsurance market, where large reinsurers dominate but both diversified and specialized reinsurers are competitive. The costs and benefits of size and product diversification are particularly relevant to the reinsurance industry, as risk diversification is central to the industry's business model. We find that reinsurers with total assets less than USD 2.9 billion exhibit scale economies, while those with total assets greater than USD 15.5 billion do not. Large reinsurers are characterized by high cost efficiency, while small reinsurers exhibit superior efficiency only when specialized. Large reinsurers also exhibit revenue scope economies when operating both life and nonlife reinsurance. Moreover, the evidence is in line with the efficient structure hypothesis: cost-efficient reinsurers can charge lower prices without sacrificing profitability.

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  • Biener, Christian & Eling, Martin & Jia, Ruo, 2017. "The structure of the global reinsurance market: An analysis of efficiency, scale, and scope," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 213-229.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jbfina:v:77:y:2017:i:c:p:213-229
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jbankfin.2017.01.017
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    Cited by:

    1. Eling, Martin & Jia, Ruo & Schaper, Philipp, 2017. "Get the Balance Right: A Simultaneous Equation Model to Analyze Growth, Profitability, and Safety," Working Papers on Finance 1716, University of St. Gallen, School of Finance.
    2. Biener, Christian & Eling, Martin & Jia, Ruo, 2017. "The structure of the global reinsurance market: An analysis of efficiency, scale, and scope," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 213-229.
    3. Noth, Felix & Rehbein, Oliver, 2017. "Badly hurt? Natural disasters and direct firm effects," IWH Discussion Papers 25/2017, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).

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    Keywords

    Insurance; Cost efficiency; Market structure; Economies of scale; Economies of scope; Data envelopment analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance

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