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The Productivity of European Life Insurers: Best-Practice Adoption vs. Innovation

Author

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  • Fabio Bertoni

    (Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, Politecnico di Milano—Piazza Leonardo da Vinci 32, Milan 20133, Italy. E-mails: fabio.bertoni@polimi.it; annalisa.croce@polimi.it)

  • Annalisa Croce

    (Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, Politecnico di Milano—Piazza Leonardo da Vinci 32, Milan 20133, Italy. E-mails: fabio.bertoni@polimi.it; annalisa.croce@polimi.it)

Abstract

The aim of this work is to investigate the drivers of productivity evolution in the European life insurance industry in the aftermath of the enforcement of the Third Directive. We apply Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) to a panel of 602 life insurance companies operating in five European countries (Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the U.K.) between 1997 and 2004 and develop a generalized Malmquist efficiency decomposition to gauge the relative importance of two sources of productivity change: the improvement of best-practices via innovation, and the adoption of practices currently adopted by local or foreign best-in-class insurers. We find that productivity increased on an annual basis by 6.71 per cent; the increase has been mostly due to innovation in best-practices (6.67 per cent), while best-practice adoption contributed by a mere 0.04 per cent. Our findings also indicate that, over the period of our analysis, innovation of best-practices was attributable to technological change. We find no evidence, instead, that productivity has been driven by a shift in the risk profile of insurers.

Suggested Citation

  • Fabio Bertoni & Annalisa Croce, 2011. "The Productivity of European Life Insurers: Best-Practice Adoption vs. Innovation," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan;The Geneva Association, vol. 36(2), pages 165-185, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:gpprii:v:36:y:2011:i:2:p:165-185
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. repec:wsi:jfexxx:v:02:y:2015:i:01:n:s2345768615500105 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. 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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