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External Financing and Insurance Cycles

In: The Economics of Property-Casualty Insurance

  • Anne Gron
  • Deborah J. Lucas

In this paper we explore the conjecture that the periodic episodes of high prices and constrained supply in the property- casualty industry are the result of temporary capital shortages. We do this by looking for increases in activities aimed at increasing capital at these times: dividend cuts, repurchase cuts, equity issues, and debt issues. We also look for evidence that the costs of raising external capital are unusually high relative to other industries by examining the market price response to security issues. We find that there is some evidence of payout policy changes in the expected direction, and also of an increased volume of debt and equity issues following low capacity periods. However, the total amount of capital obtained by security issues or reduced payouts appears to be small relative to the observed drops in net worth, suggesting that insurers rely primarily on future retained earnings to rebuild their capital position. When property-casualty insurers do go to the capital markets, we find no evidence that they receive an unusually poor reception. In fact, the market price reaction to equity issues appears to be considerably less negative than for industrial issuers but similar to that for banks and utilities.

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This chapter was published in:
  • David F. Bradford, 1998. "The Economics of Property-Casualty Insurance," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number brad98-1, Abril.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 6937.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:6937
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
    Phone: 617-868-3900
    Web page: http://www.nber.org
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    1. Robert A. Korajczyk & Deborah J. Lucas & Robert L. McDonald, 1989. "Understanding Stock Price Behavior around the Time of Equity Issues," NBER Working Papers 3170, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Chevalier, Judith A & Scharfstein, David S, 1996. "Capital-Market Imperfections and Countercyclical Markups: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 703-25, September.
    3. Anne Gron, 1994. "Capacity Constraints and Cycles in Property-Casualty Insurance Markets," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(1), pages 110-127, Spring.
    4. Steven M. Fazzari & R. Glenn Hubbard & BRUCE C. PETERSEN, 1988. "Financing Constraints and Corporate Investment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(1), pages 141-206.
    5. Masulis, Ronald W. & Korwar, Ashok N., 1986. "Seasoned equity offerings : An empirical investigation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1-2), pages 91-118.
    6. Raymond D. Hill, 1979. "Profit Regulation in Property-Liability Insurance," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 172-191, Spring.
    7. Asquith, Paul & Mullins, David Jr., 1986. "Equity issues and offering dilution," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1-2), pages 61-89.
    8. William B. Fairley, 1979. "Investment Income and Profit Margins in Property-Liability Insurance: Theory and Empirical Results," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 192-210, Spring.
    9. Mikkelson, Wayne H. & Partch, M. Megan, 1986. "Valuation effects of security offerings and the issuance process," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1-2), pages 31-60.
    10. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicholas S., 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 187-221, June.
    11. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicolás S., 1945-, 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Working papers 1523-84., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
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