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PowerPoint Slidesfor Professors

Spring 2010 Version

This file as well as all other PowerPoint files for the book, “Risk Management and Insurance: Perspectives in a Global Economy” authored by Skipper and Kwon and published by Blackwell (2007), has been created solely for classes where the book is used as a text. Use or reproduction of the file for any other purposes, known or to be known, is prohibited without prior written permission by the authors.

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W. Jean Kwon, Ph.D., CPCUSchool of Risk Management, St. John’s University101 Murray StreetNew York, NY 10007, USA

Phone: +1 (212) 277-5196E-mail:


Risk Management and Insurance: Perspectives in a Global Economy 20. The Nature and Importance of Insurance

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study points
Study Points
  • The insurance production process
  • Overview of insurance worldwide
  • The international dimensions of insurance supply
  • The role of insurance in economic growth
  • Determinants of insurance market structure
the role of capital and surplus
The Role of Capital and Surplus
  • Insurance policies as contingent claim contracts that rely on pricing Inversion
    • The product priced before actual production costs are known
    • Thus, insurers factor in a margin for unfavorable pricing deviations
  • The greater an insurer’s capital compared with its premium writings and liabilities – that is, the less its financial leverage – the greater the perceived security and the more favorable its reception among informed buyers.
  • Harmonization of the standards and valuation methods in insurance is one of the important objectives that the IASB hopes to achieve.
pricing and product development
Pricing and Product Development
  • Pricing (premium rates and reserves)
    • Use of best estimates as to future losses and expenses with an eye toward competitiveness
    • The greater the average period between premium receipt and loss payout, the greater the influence of investment returns in setting premium rates.
  • Product innovation and price competitiveness are often understandably crucial determinants of success, especially for new entrants.
  • Two key functions
    • Selection (or rejection) of application
    • Classification of “accepted” risks
  • It also requires knowledge of local conditions and the local environment.
claims settlement
Claims Settlement
  • Life insurance
    • Typically can be settled easily
    • A local presence of the insurance company is not required.
  • Health insurance
    • Claims ranging from simple to complex
    • Health insurance market structure of the country affect claim complexity.
  • In lines where losses require on-site examination (e.g., property insurance), some type of local presence is typically necessary.
claims settlement1
Claims Settlement
  • Claims personnel, with the assistance of an actuary, estimate amounts to be established as balance sheet liabilities (reserves) for unpaid nonlife claims. The reserves are also known as:
    • Policy reserves
    • Mathematical reserves
    • Technical provisions
  • Contract situs
    • The jurisdiction whose law applies to contract creation, interpretation and enforcement
    • One of principal consumer protection issues within the insurance pricing, underwriting and claim settlement process
distribution marketing channels
Distribution – Marketing Channels

Chapter 25 discusses distribution channels via other financial institutions

  • Direct response system
  • Distribution through agents
    • Captive (exclusive, tied) agents
    • Independent agents
  • Distribution through brokers
  • Distribution through other financial institutions
  • Countrywide variations exist.
investment management
Investment Management
  • Insurers are key institutional investors in capital markets worldwide.
  • Regulators and supervisors pay close attention to the composition and management of invested assets of insurance companies  Chapter 21
  • Nothing inherent in the investment management function requires a local presence.
investment management1
Investment Management
  • Foreign investments exacerbate the buyer’s (and the regulator’s) problem of information asymmetry.
    • National regulation typically places severe limits on foreign investments by domestic insurers.
  • A related but different concern arises with cross-border insurance trade.
    • If a foreign insurer in cross-border business fails to meet its obligations, the host-country insureds could be at a legal, not to mention a practical, disadvantage.
    • The resolution of this issue is essential if cross-border insurance is to grow.
nature of insurance companies
Nature of Insurance Companies

See also Chapter 24 (Insurance Regulation)

  • Ownership structure
    • Stock insurers
    • Mutual insurers
      • Assessment mutuals (e.g., Protection and Indemnity clubs)
      • Non-assessment mutuals
  • Licensing status
    • Admitted vs. nonadmitted insurers
    • Composite insurers
  • Place of domicile
    • Domestic vs. foreign insurer (alien insurer in the U.S.)
    • Home vs. foreign country
cross border insurance trade
Cross-border Insurance Trade

The E&S system is unique to the U.S. which maintains state regulation.

  • Pure cross-border insurance trade
  • Own-initiative cross-border insurance trade
  • Consumption-abroad cross-border insurance trade
  • Difference-in-conditions (DIC) and difference-in-limits (DIL) insurance trade
  • Excess and surplus (E&S) insurance
    • E&S brokers
establishment of insurance trade
Establishment of Insurance Trade
  • Agency
  • Branch
  • Subsidiary
  • Representative office
property rights and economic development
Property Rights and Economic Development
  • Property rights
    • The right to own and alienate real and personal property
    • The right to contract
    • The right to be compensated for damage resulting from the tortuous conduct of others
  • Private financial services will not flourish unless individuals’ ownership interests in property are well defined and protected.
property rights and economic development1
Property Rights and Economic Development
  • Any action that diminishes the value of one’s ownership interest in private property hinders private financial services development.
    • Failure to control inflation as an example
  • Private property rights, however, are restrictive by their nature.
    • Without some restraints, their complete exercise could actually interfere with the efficient functioning of markets.
financial development and economic growth
Financial Development and Economic Growth
  • Insurers perform the same types of functions and provide similar generic benefits as other financial intermediaries.
    • Financial services generally and insurance in particular are of primordial importance to economic development.
  • Financial services offer the possibility of providing such externalities, thereby enhancing economic growth.
    • Insurance and banking are important predictors of economic productivity.
    • Evidence exists of synergies among financial intermediaries.
    • The more developed and efficient a country’s financial market, the greater will be its contribution to economic prosperity.
benefits of insurance in economic growth
Benefits of Insurance in Economic Growth
  • Promote financial stability
  • Substitutes for and complements government security programs
  • Facilitates trade and commerce
benefits of insurance in economic growth1
Benefits of Insurance in Economic Growth

Discussion in pages 518-519!

  • Helps mobilize savings
    • Insurance and financial intermediation
    • Insurance enhance financial system efficiency in three ways
      • Reduce transaction costs associated with bringing together savers and borrowers
      • Create liquidity
      • Facilitate economies of scale in investment
    • Financial intermediaries vs. financial markets
    • Insurers vs. other financial intermediaries
benefits of insurance in economic growth2
Benefits of Insurance in Economic Growth
  • Enables risk to be managed more efficiently
    • Risk pricing
    • Risk transformation
    • Risk pooling and reduction
  • Encourages loss mitigation
  • Fosters a more efficient capital allocation
the costs of insurance to society
The Costs of Insurance to Society
  • Insurers incur sales, servicing, administration and investment management expenses.
    • The higher are such expenses, the less efficient are.
  • The existence of insurance encourages moral hazard.
    • All such moral hazard caused behavior causes premiums to be higher than they would be otherwise, represents a deadweight loss to society, can lead to disruptions in otherwise well-functioning markets, and truly is a societal cost of insurance.
economic factors
Economic Factors



demographic factors
Demographic Factors
  • Aging populations
  • Education
  • Household structure
  • Industrialization and urbanization
social factors
Social Factors

See also Chapter 11

  • Cultural perceptions of the role of insurance products can vary substantially.
    • Asia – life insurance as a savings instrument
    • Muslim society and insurance
political and legal factors
Political and Legal Factors
  • Improvements in a country’s political environment enhance insurance demand.
  • Governments make decisions that directly affect insurance demand and supply.
    • Insurance regulators worldwide typically determine whether a given insurance product can be sold within their jurisdiction through a policy review and approval process.
    • Tax laws and the premium approval process greatly influence product design, availability and value.
    • An improvement in legal systems had a significant and positive affect on life insurance demand.
  • The continuing globalization of financial services adds a new dimension to insurance consumption
    • Especially for markets that have been highly restrictive regarding new entrants
  • With increasing internationalization can come increased capital from abroad, product and marketing innovations, and different ways of managing companies.
    • More competition
    • More consumption
    • Product and marketing innovation
    • New management style
    • Greater consumer choice and value
discussion question 1
Discussion Question 1

For what reasons might two countries with roughly equivalent levels of per capita incomes exhibit vastly different insurance density and penetration figures?

discussion question 2
Discussion Question 2

With a few important exceptions, U.S. insurers seem to have less interest in international expansion than do many European insurers. Suggest some historical, cultural and other reasons that might explain this situation.

discussion question 3
Discussion Question 3
  • The life cycle hypothesis discussed in Chapter 2 suggests that individuals’ savings decisions are influenced by their location within their life cycle. Thus, during pre-adult years, we are net dissavers. During our early working years, we save some but usually to acquire durables. During our later working years, we tend to focus much more intensely on saving for retirement. During retirement, we tend to draw down savings.
    • Of what benefit might this hypothesis be to a life insurer contemplating expansion into other markets?
    • Of what benefit might this hypothesis be to a government thinking about how to encourage personal saving for retirement?
discussion question 4
Discussion Question 4

What specific economic, social, demographic and political factors do you find have affected consumption of (a) life insurance and (b) nonlife insurance in your country? Do you also find globalization of financial systems in general and insurance in particular has affected insurance consumption in the country?