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External Financing and Insurance Cycles

  • Anne Gron
  • Deborah 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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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5229.

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Date of creation: Aug 1995
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Gron, Anne and Deborah Lucas. "External Financing and Insurance Cycles". The Economics of Property-Casualty Insurance. Edited by David F. Bradford, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1998, pp. 5-27.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5229
Note: CF
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  1. Steven Fazzari & R. Glenn Hubbard & Bruce C. Petersen, 1987. "Financing Constraints and Corporate Investment," NBER Working Papers 2387, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Asquith, Paul & Mullins, David Jr., 1986. "Equity issues and offering dilution," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1-2), pages 61-89.
  5. Judith A. Chevalier & David S. Scharfstein, 1994. "Capital Market Imperfections and Countercyclical Markups: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 4614, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  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. Raymond D. Hill, 1979. "Profit Regulation in Property-Liability Insurance," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 172-191, Spring.
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