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Frontier Efficiency Methodologies to Measure Performance in the Insurance Industry: Overview, Systematization, and Recent Developments


  • Martin Eling

    (Institute of Insurance Science, Ulm University, Helmholtzstraße 22, 89069 Ulm, Germany)

  • Michael Luhnen

    (Institute of Insurance Economics, University of St. Gallen, Kirchlistrasse 2, 9010 St. Gallen, Switzerland)


The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview on frontier efficiency measurement in the insurance industry, a topic of great interest in the academic literature during the last several years. We provide a comprehensive survey of 95 studies with a special emphasis on innovations and recent developments. We review different econometric and mathematical programming approaches to efficiency measurement in insurance and discuss the choice of input and output factors. Furthermore, we categorise the 95 studies into 10 different areas of application and discuss selected results. While there is a broad consensus with regard to the choice of methodology and input factors, our review reveals large differences in output measurement. Significant need for future research can be identified, for example, with regard to analysis of organisational forms, market structure and risk management, especially in the international context.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Eling & Michael Luhnen, 2010. "Frontier Efficiency Methodologies to Measure Performance in the Insurance Industry: Overview, Systematization, and Recent Developments," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan;The Geneva Association, vol. 35(2), pages 217-265, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:gpprii:v:35:y:2010:i:2:p:217-265

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Robert B. Barsky & Miles S. Kimball & F. Thomas Juster & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1995. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Survey," NBER Working Papers 5213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Gupta, Aparna & Li, Lepeng, 2007. "Integrating long-term care insurance purchase decisions with saving and investment for retirement," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 362-381, November.
    3. Sloan, Frank A & Norton, Edward C, 1997. "Adverse Selection, Bequests, Crowding Out, and Private Demand for Insurance: Evidence from the Long-Term Care Insurance Market," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 201-219, December.
    4. Paul A. Samuelson, 2011. "Lifetime Portfolio Selection by Dynamic Stochastic Programming," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: THE KELLY CAPITAL GROWTH INVESTMENT CRITERION THEORY and PRACTICE, chapter 31, pages 465-472 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    5. de Meza, David & Webb, David C, 2001. "Advantageous Selection in Insurance Markets," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(2), pages 249-262, Summer.
    6. Leung, Siu Fai, 1994. "Uncertain Lifetime, the Theory of the Consumer, and the Life Cycle Hypothesis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(5), pages 1233-1239, September.
    7. Robert B. Barsky & F. Thomas Juster & Miles S. Kimball & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1997. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 537-579.
    8. Hanming Fang & Michael P. Keane & Dan Silverman, 2008. "Sources of Advantageous Selection: Evidence from the Medigap Insurance Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(2), pages 303-350, April.
    9. Brown, Jeffrey R. & Finkelstein, Amy, 2007. "Why is the market for long-term care insurance so small?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(10), pages 1967-1991, November.
    10. Christian Gollier, 2004. "The Economics of Risk and Time," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262572249, January.
    11. Amy Finkelstein & Kathleen McGarry, 2006. "Multiple Dimensions of Private Information: Evidence from the Long-Term Care Insurance Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 938-958, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Norashikin Ismail & Prof. Dr. Datuk Syed Othman Alhabshi & Prof. Obiyathulla Bacha, 2011. "Organizational Form And Efficiency: The Coexistence Of Family Takaful And Life Insurance In Malaysia," Journal of Global Business and Economics, Global Research Agency, vol. 3(1), pages 122-137, July.
    3. Hela Miniaoui & Anissa Chaibi, 2014. "Technical Efficiency of Takaful Industry: A Comparative Study of Malaysia and GCC Countries," Working Papers 2014-55, Department of Research, Ipag Business School.
    4. Jacob A. Bikker, 2016. "Performance of the Life Insurance Industry Under Pressure: Efficiency, Competition, and Consolidation," Risk Management and Insurance Review, American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 19(1), pages 73-104, March.
    5. Biener, Christian & Eling, Martin & Wirfs, Jan Hendrik, 2016. "The determinants of efficiency and productivity in the Swiss insurance industry," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 248(2), pages 703-714.
    6. Milton Nektarios & Panos Xenos & George Nektarios & Kostas Poulakis & Michalis Chouzouris, 2015. "Efficiency Analysis of Lloyd’s Syndicates: A Comparison of DEA and SFA Approaches," SPOUDAI Journal of Economics and Business, SPOUDAI Journal of Economics and Business, University of Piraeus, vol. 65(1-2), pages 27-46, January-M.
    7. Wanke, Peter & Barros, Carlos Pestana, 2016. "Efficiency drivers in Brazilian insurance: A two-stage DEA meta frontier-data mining approach," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 8-22.
    8. Huang, Wei & Eling, Martin, 2013. "An efficiency comparison of the non-life insurance industry in the BRIC countries," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 226(3), pages 577-591.
    9. repec:ipg:wpaper:2014-055 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Gustavo Ferro & Carlos A. Romero, 2011. "Comparación de medidas de cambio de productividad. Las aproximaciones de Malmquist y Luenberger en una aplicación al mercado de seguros," Working Papers hal-00597946, HAL.
    11. Biener, Christian & Eling, Martin, 2012. "Organization and efficiency in the international insurance industry: A cross-frontier analysis," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 221(2), pages 454-468.
    12. Schaper, Philipp, 2017. "Under pressure: how the business environment affects productivity and efficiency of European life insurance companiesAuthor-Name: Eling, Martin," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 258(3), pages 1082-1094.

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