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Life Insurance Ownership by Italian Households: A Gender-Based Differences Analysis

Listed author(s):
  • Elisa Luciano

    (Collegio Carlo Alberto, University of Turin, Corso Unione Sovietica 218 bis, 10134 Turin, Italy)

  • J François Outreville

    (Burgundy School of Business, rue Sambin, 21006 Dijon, France)

  • Mariacristina Rossi

    (Collegio Carlo Alberto, University of Turin, Corso Unione Sovietica 218 bis, 10134 Turin, Italy)

The purpose of this study is to analyse, for men and women, the microeconomic determinants of life insurance purchases. Indeed, only a few papers have tried to justify rigorously the gender-based differences in life insurance ownership. On the basis of survey data collected by the Bank of Italy in 2012 (the Survey on Income and Households), we estimate the propensity to buy and the willingness to pay for a life insurance contract. We examine the differences between two types of contracts, that is, traditional life and term life insurance and show that, in all cases, women are less likely to be insured than are men. The demand for insurance is highly correlated with income, family structure and employment status. Geographical variables within Italy significantly affect the demand too. We introduce novel variables that measure the financial status of households and their proximity to the financial market or, similarly, their familiarity with financial market opportunities. These determinants turn out to be significant and affect demand almost as much as traditional variables. To study policy implications, we calculate the probabilities of having either traditional life or term insurance, under several scenarios for the determinants of demand. Again, financial market proximity plays a key role.

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Article provided by Palgrave Macmillan & The Geneva Association in its journal The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance Issues and Practice.

Volume (Year): 41 (2016)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 468-490

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Handle: RePEc:pal:gpprii:v:41:y:2016:i:3:p:468-490
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