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A Note on the Relative Efficiency of Property-Liability Insurance Distribution Systems

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  • J. David Cummins
  • Jack VanDerhei

Abstract

Property-liability insurance is distributed through two major marketing channels -- the independent and the exclusive agency systems. Independent agents place business with several companies, while exclusive agents write insurance for only one company. We find that the independent agency system is less efficient than the exclusive agency system. The efficiency differential did not change significantly during the period 1968 through 1976. When we used the total rather than the underwriting costs to measure expenses, we found that the relative but not the absolute expense differential was reduced. This suggests that the inefficiencies of the independent agency companies stem from marketing and administrative rather than loss adjustment procedures. The findings imply that regulators should play a more active role in the dissemination of information on property-liability insurance prices.

Suggested Citation

  • J. David Cummins & Jack VanDerhei, 1979. "A Note on the Relative Efficiency of Property-Liability Insurance Distribution Systems," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(2), pages 709-719, Autumn.
  • Handle: RePEc:rje:bellje:v:10:y:1979:i:autumn:p:709-719
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    Cited by:

    1. Weiss, Mary A. & Choi, Byeongyong Paul, 2008. "State regulation and the structure, conduct, efficiency and performance of US auto insurers," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 134-156, January.
    2. Raphael, Steven & Rice, Lorien, 2002. "Car ownership, employment, and earnings," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 109-130, July.
    3. Posey, Lisa L. & Tennyson, Sharon, 1998. "The coexistence of distribution systems under price search: Theory and some evidence from insurance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 95-115, March.
    4. Yu-Luen Ma & Nat Pope & Xiaoying Xie, 2014. "Contingent Commissions, Insurance Intermediaries, and Insurer Performance," Risk Management and Insurance Review, American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 17(1), pages 61-81, March.
    5. Alma Cohen & Liran Einav, 2007. "Estimating Risk Preferences from Deductible Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 745-788, June.
    6. Martina Eckardt & Solvig Räthke-Döppner, 2010. "The Quality of Insurance Intermediary Services-Empirical Evidence for Germany," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 77(3), pages 667-701.
    7. Chang Vincent Y. & Wang Jennifer L. & Tzeng Larry Y., 2010. "A Reexamination of the Relationship between Organizational Forms and Distribution Channels in the U.S. Property Liability Insurance Industry," Asia-Pacific Journal of Risk and Insurance, De Gruyter, vol. 4(2), pages 1-26, July.
    8. Hanweck, Gerald A. & Hogan, Arthur M. B., 1996. "The structure of the property/casualty insurance industry," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 141-155, May.
    9. Parente, Ronaldo & Choi, Byeongyong Paul & Slangen, Arjen H.L. & Ketkar, Sonia, 2010. "Distribution system choice in a service industry: An analysis of international insurance firms operating in the United States," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 275-287, September.
    10. Dionne, Georges & Harrington, Scott, 2017. "Insurance and Insurance Markets," Working Papers 17-2, HEC Montreal, Canada Research Chair in Risk Management.
    11. Hecht, Jason, 1999. "Modeling market shares of the leading personal automobile insurance companies," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 279-296, May.
    12. Felder, Stefan, 1996. "Fire insurance in Germany: A comparison of price-performance between state monopolies and competitive regions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 1133-1141, April.
    13. David Cummins, J. & Sommer, David W., 1996. "Capital and risk in property-liability insurance markets," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(6), pages 1069-1092, July.
    14. Michael Powers & Martin Shubik & Shun Yao, 1998. "Insurance market games: Scale effects and public policy," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 67(2), pages 109-134, June.
    15. Leverty, J. Tyler & Grace, Martin F., 2010. "The robustness of output measures in property-liability insurance efficiency studies," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(7), pages 1510-1524, July.
    16. Saowaros Yaisawarng & Preecha Asavadachanukorn & Suthathip Yaisawarng, 2014. "Efficiency and productivity in the Thai non-life insurance industry," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 41(2), pages 291-306, April.
    17. Trigo Gamarra, Lucinda, 2007. "Does the product quality hypothesis hold true? Service quality differences between independent and exclusive insurance agents," Thuenen-Series of Applied Economic Theory 76, University of Rostock, Institute of Economics.
    18. repec:pal:gpprii:v:42:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1057_s41288-016-0036-x is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Outreville, J. François & Proulx, Carol, 1985. "Fusions et économies de dimension sur le marché des assurances générales au Québec," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 61(3), pages 350-361, septembre.
    20. Andrew C. Worthington & Emily V. Hurley, 2000. "Technical, allocative and cost efficiency in the Australian general insurance industry," School of Economics and Finance Discussion Papers and Working Papers Series 074, School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology.
    21. Yap Yin Choo, 2012. "Efficiency and scale economies in the Japanese non-life insurance industry," International Journal of Financial Services Management, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 5(3), pages 239-255.
    22. Trigo Gamarra, Lucinda, 2007. "Single- versus multi-channel distribution strategies in the German life insurance market: A cost and profit efficiency analysis," Thuenen-Series of Applied Economic Theory 81, University of Rostock, Institute of Economics.
    23. Gene C. Lai & Piman Limpaphayom, 2003. "Organizational Structure and Performance: Evidence From the Nonlife Insurance Industry in Japan," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 70(4), pages 735-757.

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