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Efficient Monopolies: The Limits of Competition in the European Property Insurance Market

Author

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  • von Ungern-Sternberg, Thomas

    (Department of Economics, University of Lausanne)

Abstract

This book presents startling evidence that state monopolies can produce better outcomes than the free market. It provides an empirical comparison of the property insurance market in five European countries: Britain, Spain, France, Switzerland, and Germany. The market and cost structures of insurers in each country are described, and particular features of each market and the outcomes for customers examined. The regulatory frameworks vary widely from country to country and so do the market outcomes, both in terms of premium level and in terms of available insurance cover. In view of the increase in major floods and other forms of natural damage (such as subsidence) over the last decades, the non-availability of insurance cover in many competitive insurance systems is likely to become a major political issue. This book shows that state monopoly is an adequate policy response. Competitive insurance systems are shown to provide incomplete cover at a substantially higher cost. In mixed systems, where the private sector can obtain reinsurance from the state (such a system is being tried in France) the state tends to end up paying most of the costs (it reinsures most of the bad risks) while the private insurance companies keep most of the premium income. The book will be of interest to academic economists interested in privatization, regulation, the theory of the firm, and insurance; Policy-makers concerned with regulation and privatization; Insurance companies, regulators, and analysts.

Suggested Citation

  • von Ungern-Sternberg, Thomas, 2004. "Efficient Monopolies: The Limits of Competition in the European Property Insurance Market," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199268818.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxp:obooks:9780199268818
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Mario Jametti & Thomas von Ungern-Sternberg, 2005. "Assessing the Efficiency of an Insurance Provider—A Measurement Error Approach," The Geneva Risk and Insurance Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Association for the Study of Insurance Economics (The Geneva Association), vol. 30(1), pages 15-34, June.
    2. Paul Raschky, 2007. "Estimating the effects of risk transfer mechanisms against floods in Europe and U.S.A.: A dynamic panel approach," Working Papers 2007-05, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    3. S. Surminski & J. Aerts & W. Botzen & P. Hudson & J. Mysiak & C. Pérez-Blanco, 2015. "Reflections on the current debate on how to link flood insurance and disaster risk reduction in the European Union," Natural Hazards: Journal of the International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, Springer;International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 79(3), pages 1451-1479, December.
    4. Kousky, Carolyn, 2012. "Informing Climate Adaptation: A Review of the Economic Costs of Natural Disasters, Their Determinants, and Risk Reduction Options," Discussion Papers dp-12-28, Resources For the Future.
    5. Mario Jametti & Thomas von Ungern-Sternberg, 2010. "Risk Selection in Natural-Disaster Insurance," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 166(2), pages 344-364, June.
    6. Mario Jametti & Thomas von Ungern-Sternberg, 2009. "Hurricane Insurance in Florida," Quaderni della facoltà di Scienze economiche dell'Università di Lugano 0905, USI Università della Svizzera italiana.
    7. repec:hal:journl:hal-00536925 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Luechinger, Simon & Raschky, Paul A., 2009. "Valuing flood disasters using the life satisfaction approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(3-4), pages 620-633, April.
    9. Erwann Michel-Kerjan, 2013. "Finance des risques catastrophiques. Le marché américain est en plein bouleversement," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 64(4), pages 615-634.
    10. Paul Raschky & Hannelore Weck-Hannemann, 2007. "Charity hazard - A real hazard to natural disaster insurance," Working Papers 2007-04, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    11. Erwann O. Michel-Kerjan, 2010. "Catastrophe Economics: The National Flood Insurance Program," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(4), pages 165-186, Fall.
    12. E. Keskitalo & Gregor Vulturius & Peter Scholten, 2014. "Adaptation to climate change in the insurance sector: examples from the UK, Germany and the Netherlands," Natural Hazards: Journal of the International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, Springer;International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 71(1), pages 315-334, March.

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