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MGT604 - Management of Financial Institutions - Lecture Handout 35

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Role of Insurance Companies

Insurance, in law and economics, is a form of risk management primarily used to hedge against the risk of a contingent loss. Insurance is defined as the equitable transfer of the risk of a loss, from one entity to another, in exchange for a premium. Insurer, in economics, is the company that sells the insurance. Insurance rate is a factor used to determine the amount, called the premium, to be charged for a certain amount of insurance coverage. Risk management, the practice of appraising and controlling risk, has evolved as a discrete field of study and practice.

Principles of insurance

Commercially insurable risks typically share seven common characteristics.

  1. A large number of homogeneous exposure units. The vast majority of insurance policies are provided for individual members of very large classes. Automobile insurance, for example, covered about 175 million automobiles in the United States in 2004.[2] The existence of a large number of homogeneous exposure units allows insurers to benefit from the so-called “law of large numbers,” which in effect states that as the number of exposure units increases, the actual results are increasingly likely to become close to expected results. There are exceptions to this criterion. Lloyd's of London is famous for insuring the life or health of actors, actresses and sports figures. Satellite Launch insurance covers events that are infrequent. Large commercial property policies may insure exceptional properties for which there are no ‘homogeneous’ exposure units. Despite failing on this criterion, many exposures like these are generally considered to be insurable.
  2. Definite Loss. The event that gives rise to the loss that is subject to insurance should, at least in principle, take place at a known time, in a known place, and from a known cause. The classic example is death of an insured on a life insurance policy. Fire, automobile accidents, and worker injuries may all easily meet this criterion. Other types of losses may only be definite in theory. Occupational disease, for instance, may involve prolonged exposure to injurious conditions where no specific time, place or cause is identifiable. Ideally, the time, place and cause of a loss should be clear enough that a reasonable person, with sufficient information, could objectively verify all three elements.
  3. Accidental Loss. The event that constitutes the trigger of a claim should be fortuitous, or at least outside the control of the beneficiary of the insurance. The loss should be ‘pure,’ in the sense that it results from an event for which there is only the opportunity for cost. Events that contain speculative elements, such as ordinary business risks, are generally not considered insurable.

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MGT604 - Management of Financial Institutions - Lecture Handout 18

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ROLE OF COMMERCIAL BANKS

Asset composition

Assets of banking sector, as per cent of GDP, have been on the decline. Slowdown in asset growth was also accompanied by changing share of different groups. Negative growth in the assets of foreign banks during 1998 and 1999 was the prime reason behind declining growth in overall assets of the banking sector. Share of NCBs have been decreasing since private
banks were allowed to operate in 1992. In terms of asset share, private banks are now as large as foreign banks.

Problem bank management

The central bank is the sole authority to supervise, monitor and regulate financial institutions. It is also responsible to safeguard the interest of depositors and shareholders of these institutions. Lately, SBP took actions against two private banks which became a threat to viability of the financial system in the country. These were Indus Bank and Prudential
Commercial Bank. On the basis of detailed investigations, the license of Indus Bank was cancelled on September 11, 2000. After successful negotiations, management and control of Prudential Bank handed over to Saudi-Pak group.

Outlook

Commercial banks have been going through the process of restructuring. There are efforts to reduce lending rates. The SBP has been successful in implementing its policies. Most of the banks have been able to adjust to new working environment. The proposed increase in capital base will provide further impetus to financial system in the country.
In the post September 11 era, the GoP borrowing from SBP and commercial banks is expected to come down substantially and private sector borrowing to increase. However, a temporary decline in repayment ability of borrowers may increase provisioning for the year 2001. The situation is expected to improve in year 2002. Unless efforts are made by banks to shrink spread, depositors will not be able to get return which corresponds with the rate of inflation in the country. Privatization of NCBs is expected to be delayed due to external factors. However, it is an opportunity for the banks to further clean their slate. Pakistan’s banking sector like many other developing countries had been faced with several problems and difficulties such as:
Most of the financial assets and deposits were owned by nationalized commercial banks (NCBs) which suffered from a highly bureaucratic approach, overstaffing, unprofitable branches and poor customer service.

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