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Performance of the Dutch non-life insurance industry: competition, efficiency and focus

  • J.A. Bikker
  • J. Gorter

This paper investigates competition in the Dutch non-life insurance industry indirectly by measuring scale economies and X-inefficiency, assuming that strong competition would force insurance firms to exploit unused scale economies and to push down inefficiencies. We observe substantial economies of scale (on average 11%) that are larger for smaller firms. Despite considerable consolidation in the industry over the last decade, scale economies have increased, as the optimal scale has outgrown the actual one. Comparing estimates across aggregation levels, we find that scale economies are smaller for groups and lines of business than they are for firms. Besides scale, focus and organizational form are important cost determinants as well: generally, specialized insurers have lower costs and face greater economies of scale. Estimates of thick frontier efficiency point to huge cost differences across firms and within lines of business. Overall, our results suggest that there is a lack of competitive pressure in the Dutch non-life insurance industry.

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File URL: http://dspace.library.uu.nl/bitstream/handle/1874/309536/08_01.pdf
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Paper provided by Utrecht School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 08-01.

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Date of creation: Jan 2008
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Handle: RePEc:use:tkiwps:0801
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  1. Geraldine Kaye, 1991. "Economies of Scale in UK Life Insurance Companies: An Empirical Approach," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 16(3), pages 302-314, July.
  2. Cummins, J. David & Rubio-Misas, Maria, 2006. "Deregulation, Consolidation, and Efficiency: Evidence from the Spanish Insurance Industry," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(2), pages 323-355, March.
  3. Yuengert, Andrew M., 1993. "The measurement of efficiency in life insurance: Estimates of a mixed normal-gamma error model," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(2-3), pages 483-496, April.
  4. J.A. Bikker, 1999. "Efficiency in the European banking industry: an exploratory analysis to rank countries," Research Series Supervision (discontinued) 18, Netherlands Central Bank, Directorate Supervision.
  5. Berger, Allen N. & Humphrey, David B., 1991. "The dominance of inefficiencies over scale and product mix economies in banking," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 117-148, August.
  6. Andrew M. Yuengert, 1993. "The measurement of efficiency in life insurance estimates of a mixed normal-gamma error model," Research Paper 9308, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  7. F. Fecher & D. Kessler & S. Perelman & P. Pestieau, 1993. "Productive performance of the French insurance industry," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 77-93, June.
  8. J. David Cummins & Mary A. Weiss & Hongmin Zi, 1998. "Organizational form and efficiency: an analysis of stock and mutual property-liability insurers," Working Papers 98-19, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  9. Loretta J. Mester, 1989. "Testing for expense preference behavior: mutual versus stock savings and loans," Working Papers 89-27, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  10. Luigi Prosperetti, 1991. "Economies of Scale in Italian Non-Life Insurance*," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 16(3), pages 282-292, July.
  11. J.A. Bikker, 2003. "Efficiency and Cost Differences across Countries in a Unified EuropeanBanking Market," DNB Staff Reports (discontinued) 87, Netherlands Central Bank.
  12. J. David Cummins & Mary A. Weiss, 1998. "Analyzing Firm Performance in the Insurance Industry Using Frontier Efficiency Methods," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 98-22, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  13. J. A. Bikker & M. van Leuvensteijn, 2008. "Competition and efficiency in the Dutch life insurance industry," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(16), pages 2063-2084.
  14. Manning, Willard G. & Mullahy, John, 2001. "Estimating log models: to transform or not to transform?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 461-494, July.
  15. Toivanen, Otto, 1997. "Economies of scale and scope in the Finnish non-life insurance industry," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 759-779, June.
  16. 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.
  17. Yukiko Hirao & Tomoo Inoue, 2004. "On the Cost Structure of the Japanese Property-Casualty Insurance Industry," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 71(3), pages 501-530.
  18. Kolari, James & Zardkoohi, Asghar, 1990. " Economies of Scale and Scope in Thrift Institutions: The Case of Finnish Cooperative and Savings Banks," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 92(3), pages 437-51.
  19. F Fecher & S Perelman & P Pestieau, 1991. "Scale Economies and Performance in the French Insurance Industry," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 16(3), pages 315-326, July.
  20. Jean Marc Suret, 1991. "Scale and Scope Economies in the Canadian Property and Casualty Insurance Industry," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 16(2), pages 236-256, April.
  21. Hanweck, Gerald A. & Hogan, Arthur M. B., 1996. "The structure of the property/casualty insurance industry," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 141-155, May.
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