Why are Insurance Companies Different? The Limits of Convergence Among Financial Institutions*
Banks and insurance companies maintain structural differences, limiting the extent of convergence due to factors such as demographics, the structure of liabilities, the scale of operations, regulation and accounting practices and distribution channels. Demography directly affects the needs of consumers regarding the risks to be covered; the structure of liabilities is important due to the limited possibilities to hedge many of them; the securitization process has been less relevant for insurance companies than for other financial intermediaries; regulation is different and implemented by different authorities; accounting is usually carried out on a price basis in the banking sector and on a cost basis in the insurance sector; and distribution channels require different expertise. A simulation model highlights the role of some of these factors and the peculiarities of managing insurance companies. The Geneva Papers (2008) 33, 363–388. doi:10.1057/gpp.2008.13
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