On the Implications of the Internet for Insurance Markets and Institutions

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By most accounts, the Internet and related advances in information technology significantly affect financial services in general and insurance markets and institutions in particular. Coupled with other important trends such as globalization and regulatory reform, these changes are forcing far-reaching changes upon the insurance industry and making it more competitive. This article focuses specifically on the implications of the Internet for insurance markets and institutions. The conventional wisdom that the Internet constitutes a sufficient condition for the disintermediation of traditional insurance distribution networks is called into question. To the extent that the Internet reduces transaction costs, it will create opportunities for new intermediaries as well as for existing ones. It will also influence product design, in some cases making it economically attractive to unbundle and repackage various forms of coverage. By removing entry barriers and reducing insurance costs, the Internet will also provide a private market solution to a major insurance regulatory concern—enhancing insurance affordability and availability.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1098-1616.00014

Publication date: September 1, 2002

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