(Non-)Insurance Markets, Loss Size Manipulation and Competition - Experimental Evidence

Tinbergen Institute Discussion paper 16-033/VII

50 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2018

See all articles by Jeroen Hinloopen

Jeroen Hinloopen

CPB Netherlands Bureau of Economic Policy Analysis; University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam School of Economics (ASE); Tinbergen Institute

Adriaan R. Soetevent

University of Groningen

Date Written: April 26, 2016

Abstract

The common view that buyer power of insurers may effectively counteract provider market power critically rests on the idea that consumers and insurers have a joint interest in extracting price concessions. However, in markets where the buyer is an insurer, the interests of insurers and consumers to reduce prices may be importantly misaligned. The positive dependence between loss size and the insurer's expected profits limits the insurer's incentives to reign in loss sizes; in markets with small initial loss sizes, insurers may try to raise these in order to create demand for insurance.

After having defined insurance and non-insurance markets based on the initial loss size, we develop theory to show that insurers with buyer power have incentives to create insurance markets. Insurer competition will push their profits to zero but markets do not return to the initial non-insurance state. This constitutes a welfare loss. We design experimental insurance markets to test our theory and find support. Monopolistic insurer-subjects in non-insurance markets increase loss sizes to establish insurance markets. Insurer competition eliminates profits but not the loss size to uninsured consumers.

This provides an additional reason to be careful in granting insurers buyer power.

Keywords: insurance markets, risk elicitation, experiment, buyer power

JEL Classification: C92, D81, G22, I11, L13

Suggested Citation

Hinloopen, Jeroen and Soetevent, Adriaan R., (Non-)Insurance Markets, Loss Size Manipulation and Competition - Experimental Evidence (April 26, 2016). Tinbergen Institute Discussion paper 16-033/VII, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2771637 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2771637

Jeroen Hinloopen (Contact Author)

CPB Netherlands Bureau of Economic Policy Analysis ( email )

P.O. Box 80510
2508 GM The Hague, 2585 JR
Netherlands

University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam School of Economics (ASE) ( email )

Roetersstraat 11
Amsterdam, North Holland 1018 WB
Netherlands

Tinbergen Institute ( email )

Burg. Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, 3062 PA
Netherlands

Adriaan R. Soetevent

University of Groningen ( email )

P.O. Box 800
9700 AV Groningen
Netherlands
++ 31 50 363 7018 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.soetevent.com

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