Success of Mergers and Acquisitions in the Insurance Industry: What Can We Learn From Previous Empirical Research?
Doctoral Thesis / Dissertation from the year 2014 in the subject Business economics - Banking, Stock Exchanges, Insurance, Accounting, grade: 1,3, University of Cologne (Seminar für Allg. BWL, Risikomanagement und Versicherungslehre), language: English, abstract: Since the 20th century, the insurance industry has experienced an unprecedented wave of M&A. However, in spite of the drastic increase in insurance M&A activity, there has been little consistent empirical evidence on the value enhancement of these deals. Hence, many open questions still exist in this research area. The most fundamental questions are whether insurance M&A actually create value and what determinants influence the success of these undertakings. This thesis attempts to find answers to these questions by first examining the status quo of academic literature published in this field of research and bringing together the empirical findings on the success of insurance M&A and its influencing factors. Overall, the literature review outlines that insurance M&A on average tend to create value for shareholders of the target firms as well as for the combined entity of acquirer and target. Moreover, shareholders of acquiring US insurance firms, on average, also benefit from these corporate undertakings. However, negative short-term as well as long-term wealth effects for acquiring insurers' shareholders are the common finding in capital market studies analyzing the effects of M&A transactions in the European insurance industry. Secondly, the reliability and validity of the findings of previous research are tested in an own empirical analysis which uses a fairly new approach to evaluating the success of M&A by using the idea of stochastic dominance (SD). More precisely, using a sample of 102 transactions conducted by publicly traded Western European insurance firms between the years 1993 and 2009, this work analyzes whether investors in acquiring insurance firms benefit from M&A by comparing return distributions of acquiring firm portfolios with benchmark portfolios using the first two orders of SD. The results show that insurance M&A trigger a negative short-term capital market reaction for acquiring European insurance firms. However, this short-term underperformance diminishes over time, and over a longer period of time of up to three years after M&A announcement, there is no underperformance of acquiring European insurers. In conclusion, based on the accumulated evidence from past empirical studies as well as the empirical investigation of this thesis, it can be concluded that M&A, not only in the US insurance market but also in the European insurance market, seem to be a viable model and are likely to lead to success for all parties involved.