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Monopolistic Insurance and the Value of Information

Listed author(s):
  • Arthur Snow

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA)

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    The value of information regarding risk class for a monopoly insurer and its customers is examined in both symmetric and asymmetric information environments. A monopolist always prefers contracting with uninformed customers as this maximizes the rent extracted under symmetric information while also avoiding the cost of adverse selection when information is held asymmetrically. Although customers are indifferent to symmetric information when they are initially uninformed, they prefer contracting with hidden knowledge rather than symmetric information since the monopoly responds to adverse selection by sharing gains from trade with high-risk customers when low risks are predominant in the insurance pool. However, utilitarian social welfare is highest when customers are uninformed, and is higher when information is symmetric rather than asymmetric.

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    Article provided by MDPI, Open Access Journal in its journal Risks.

    Volume (Year): 3 (2015)
    Issue (Month): 3 (July)
    Pages: 1-13

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    Handle: RePEc:gam:jrisks:v:3:y:2015:i:3:p:277-289:d:53174
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    1. Bertrand Villeneuve, 2000. "The Consequences for a Monopolistic Insurance Firm of Evaluating Risk Better than Customers: The Adverse Selection Hypothesis Reversed," The Geneva Risk and Insurance Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Association for the Study of Insurance Economics (The Geneva Association), vol. 25(1), pages 65-79, June.
    2. Malinvaud, E., 1972. "The allocation of individual risks in large markets," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 312-328, April.
    3. Pierre Picard, 2014. "Participating Insurance Contracts and the Rothschild-Stiglitz Equilibrium Puzzle," The Geneva Risk and Insurance Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Association for the Study of Insurance Economics (The Geneva Association), vol. 39(2), pages 153-175, September.
    4. John C. Harsanyi, 1953. "Cardinal Utility in Welfare Economics and in the Theory of Risk-taking," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61, pages 434-434.
    5. Meglena Jeleva & Bertrand Villeneuve, 2004. "Insurance contracts with imprecise probabilities and adverse selection," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 23(4), pages 777-794, May.
    6. repec:dau:papers:123456789/5358 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Geir B. Asheim & Tore Nilssen, 1997. "Insurance monopoly and renegotiation (*)," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 9(2), pages 341-354.
    8. John C. Harsanyi, 1955. "Cardinal Welfare, Individualistic Ethics, and Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63, pages 309-309.
    9. Harris Schlesinger & Emilio Venezian, 1986. "Insurance Markets with Loss-Prevention Activity: Profits, Market Structure, and Consumer Welfare," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(2), pages 227-238, Summer.
    10. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1977. "Monopoly, Non-linear Pricing and Imperfect Information: The Insurance Market," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(3), pages 407-430.
    11. Landsberger, Michael & Meilijson, Isaac, 1996. "Extraction of Surplus under Adverse Selection: The Case of Insurance Markets," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 234-239, April.
    12. Koch, Thomas G., 2014. "One pool to insure them all? Age, risk and the price(s) of medical insurance," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 1-11.
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