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Organizational Form and Insurance Company Performance: Stocks versus Mutuals

  • Patricia Born
  • William M. Gentry
  • W. Kip Viscusi
  • Richard J. Zeckhauser

One unusual feature of the U.S. property-casualty insurance industry is the coexistence of stock and mutual companies. This paper explores the performance of these forms in the industry through a dynamic assessment of how mutual and stock insurance companies respond to differences in their underwriting environment. Agency theories suggest that the stock company may be more 'opportunistic' and less obligated to their insureds than mutuals. This article assesses the responses by stock and mutual firms to changes in the underwriting environment from 1984 to 1991, using measures of individual firms' performance, by state and by line, in eight different lines of insurance. Stock companies are more likely than mutuals to reduce their business in unprofitable situations, and have higher losses than mutuals for a given amount of premiums.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w5246.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5246.

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Date of creation: Sep 1995
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Publication status: published as Born, Patricia; William M. Gentry, W. Kip Viscusi, Richard J. Zeckhauser."Organizational Form and Insurance Company Performance: Stocks versus Mutuals". The Economics of Property-Casualty Insurance. Edited by David F. Bradford, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1998,pp. 167-192
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5246
Note: CF IO
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  1. Benjamin E. Hermalin and Nancy E. Wallace., 1992. "The Determinants of Efficiency and Solvency in Savings and Loans," Economics Working Papers 92-195, University of California at Berkeley.
  2. Hansmann, Henry, 1985. "The Organization of Insurance Companies: Mutual versus Stock," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(1), pages 125-53, Spring.
  3. Richard J. Zeckhauser & John Pound, 1990. "Are Large Shareholders Effective Monitors? An Investigation of Share Ownership and Corporate Performance," NBER Chapters, in: Asymmetric Information, Corporate Finance, and Investment, pages 149-180 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Cummins, J. David & Weiss, Mary A., 1993. "Measuring cost efficiency in the property-liability insurance industry," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(2-3), pages 463-481, April.
  5. Fama, Eugene F & Jensen, Michael C, 1983. "Separation of Ownership and Control," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 301-25, June.
  6. Lamm-Tennant, Joan & Starks, Laura T, 1993. "Stock versus Mutual Ownership Structures: The Risk Implications," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66(1), pages 29-46, January.
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