Form Over Matter: Differences in the Incentives to Convert Using Full Versus Partial Demutualization in the U.S. Life Insurance Industry
30 Pages Posted: 24 May 2012
Date Written: June 2012
We explore the recent wave of demutualizations in the U.S. life insurance industry and analyze if the motives were similar for mutual life insurers that fully demutualized versus those that converted to mutual holding company (MHC) form. We find that fully demutualizing insurers were primarily motivated by a desire to gain access to external capital markets while those that chose MHC were motivated by other incentives including a tax‐based incentive. We also document that after conversion, fully demutualizing insurers more aggressively increase their exposure to risks they have a comparative advantage to bear than do firms that convert to MHC.
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