Donatella Porrini

Asimmetrie informative e concorrenzialità nel mercato assicurativo italiano

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A particular and important characteristic of the insurance market is the presence of asymmetric information, a phenomenon studied in the economic theory of insurance. The existence of "adverse selection" and "moral hazard" problems are present not only on the demand side, in the sense that the customers may not perfectly know the insurance product and the quality of the insurer, but also on the supply side, in the sense that it is impossible for the insurance companies to perfectly observe the characteristics and the behaviour of the insured individuals. The traditional remedies suggested by economic theory are in fact applied in the insurance market as contractual differentiation and risk classification are used to reduce and partly solve the asymmetric information problems of the insurance companies. These information problems and the suggested remedies may justify an information exchange and the adoption of common policies among the insurance companies. This paper suggests that further research is deemed necessary to see if those additional procedures can eventually have consequences on competition in the insurance market. A decision of the Antitrust Authority in 1994 regarding the major italian insurance companies operating in the "other risks than collision" car insurance sector gives us the opportunity to empirically analyse this "trade-off" and to evaluate if in general such possibly anticompetitive practices by the insurance companies can be justified by the presence of an asymmetric distribution of the information in the insurance market.


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