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Imperfect Tests and Natural Insurance Monopolies

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  • Winand Emons

Abstract

This paper considers a housing insurance market in which buildings have different damage probabilities. Insurers use imperfect tests to find out about buildings’ damage types. The insurance market is a natural monopoly. If more than one insurer is active, high risk house owners continue to apply to insurers until they are eventually assigned to a low-risk class. First we show that the natural insurance monopoly need not be sustainable. Then we show that in the equilibrium industry structure the incumbent may accommodate entry even when the natural monopoly is sustainable. The theoretical findings are thus able to explain recent observations from Germany and Switzerland where housing insurance damage rates and prices went up drastically after the transition from state monopolies to competitive environments.
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Suggested Citation

  • Winand Emons, 1997. "Imperfect Tests and Natural Insurance Monopolies," Diskussionsschriften dp9704, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
  • Handle: RePEc:ube:dpvwib:dp9704
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    Cited by:

    1. Freixas Xavier & Hurkens Sjaak & Morrison Alan D & Vulkan Nir, 2007. "Interbank Competition with Costly Screening," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-27, May.
    2. Arthur Charpentier & Benoît Le Maux, 2010. "Natural Catastrophe Insurance: When Should the Government Intervene?," Working Papers hal-00536925, HAL.
    3. Charpentier, Arthur & Le Maux, Benoît, 2014. "Natural catastrophe insurance: How should the government intervene?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 1-17.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D42 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Monopoly
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • L12 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Monopoly; Monopolization Strategies
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets

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