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Cash holdings between public and private insurers ‒ a partial adjustment approach

Xiaoying Xie, Yuling Wang, Guiqin Zhao and Weili Lu

Journal of Banking & Finance, 2017, vol. 82, issue C, 80-97

Abstract: Cash holdings of financial institutions, especially private firms, have been understudied in existing literature. This paper fills that gap by examining the cash holdings of US property-liability insurers in order to analyze the difference in cash holdings and cash adjustments between public and private stock insurers and between mutual and stock insurers within the private insurer category. We find that public insurers hold much less cash than private stock insurers, which differs from the findings for non-financial firms. Additionally, we find that mutual insurers hold less cash than private stock insurers. Public insurers adjust their cash holdings much faster toward their target cash levels than private stock insurers do when facing an extreme cash shortfall, but their adjustment speed is indifferent from that of private stock insurers when both having excess cash. Mutual insurers are able to adjust cash holdings slightly faster than private stock insurers when there is an extreme cash shortfall but are indifferent in adjustment speed from private stock insurers when having excess cash in hand. Overall, our results are more consistent with the financing frictions hypothesis of cash holdings and are inconsistent with the owner-manager agency problems of free cash flow.

Keywords: Cash holdings; Excess cash; Property-liability insurance; Private firm; Mutual insurer; Partial adjustment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: G22 G32 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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Handle: RePEc:eee:jbfina:v:82:y:2017:i:c:p:80-97