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Efficiency and Profitability in Thailand’s Life Insurance Industry: A Cost Frontier Function and Hausman test, 1997-2002

Mohd Karim () and Ch. Jhantasana

International Journal of Applied Econometrics and Quantitative Studies, 2005, vol. 2, issue 4, 19-36

Abstract: Liberalized environments brought about by trade agreements and other restructuring of international markets under the General Agreement on Trade and Services (GATS) have increased market opportunities for foreign firms. This opening up of domestic market under GATS will cause the inflow of foreign insurance firm hence heighten competitive pressures. As such, insurance firm in Thailand need to be efficient to ensure their survival. Hence, the purpose of this paper is to evaluate the cost efficiency and its relationship with profitability in Thailand’s life insurance firms during the period 1997-2002 using the stochastic cost frontier approach. We find that the industry is on average 82 to 140 percent inefficient. There is no significant relationship between inefficiency and age. But, the mean inefficiency is positively correlated with size suggesting the need for rationalization in the insurance industry in Thailand. Consolidating the large number of smaller insurers should be high on the government’s agenda, and the capital requirements for life insurers need to be increase. We show that inefficiency is negatively correlated with ROE and ROA ratios. This shows that efficient firms, on average, have higher return on equity and on assets. This indicates that inefficiency has substantial effect on the profitability of life insurance companies.

Keywords: Cost efficiency; Profitability; Insurance industry; Thailand (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2005
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