By Ornella Ricci (auth.)
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Extra resources for Corporate Governance in the European Insurance Industry
In both industries, the most commonly investigated items are the dimension of the board and its degree of independence; both in the banking and in the insurance sectors, results are mixed, and it appears very difficult to set some golden rules or principles based on the idea that ‘one size fits all’. However, there are also some differences. In the banking literature, there is a much larger number of corporate governance studies, with quite different findings before and after the financial crisis period, especially with respect to the issue of board independence.
The authors define this result as puzzling since the independence of the board is generally considered as a proxy for more transparency and less agency costs. However, it seems resistant to several model specifications and robustness checks. A very interesting study by Hardwick et al. (2011) deals with the UK life insurance industry. As the other cited papers, it focuses on the relationship between internal corporate governance variables and firm performance measured with an efficient-frontier approach.
After the crisis, most studies cast some doubts on past results: Adams (2012) outlines that banks, on average, do not have worse governance with respect to nonfinancial firms and that financial institutions receiving TARP funds have more independent boards and lower director compensation with respect to their counterparts in non-financial firms. In her opinion ‘what this suggests is that board independence may not necessarily be beneficial for banks. Independent directors may not always have the expertise necessary to oversee complex banking firms’ (Adams, 2012, p.
Corporate Governance in the European Insurance Industry by Ornella Ricci (auth.)