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

  • J. David Cummins
  • Jack VanDerhei

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.

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Article provided by The RAND Corporation in its journal Bell Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 10 (1979)
Issue (Month): 2 (Autumn)
Pages: 709-719

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Handle: RePEc:rje:bellje:v:10:y:1979:i:autumn:p:709-719
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