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Corporate Forms and Organizational Choice in International Insurance$
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Robin Pearson and Takau Yoneyama

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198739005

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198739005.001.0001

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Business Strategies under Conditions of Uncertainty

Business Strategies under Conditions of Uncertainty

The Rise of Mutual Life Insurers in Colonial Australia

Chapter:
(p.169) 8 Business Strategies under Conditions of Uncertainty
Source:
Corporate Forms and Organizational Choice in International Insurance
Author(s):

Monica Keneley

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198739005.003.0008

The early development of Australian life insurance was marked by the failure of stock companies to successfully establish a market presence. Mutual insurers emerged in the mid-nineteenth century in response to this gap in supply. The underlying rationale behind their establishment differed but the business model adopted proved remarkably successful. Mutual life insurers dominated the market for life insurance for nearly a century. This chapter investigates mutualism as a business strategy that addressed particular problems associated with doing business in a small and underdeveloped economy. Business and social networks were important facilitators of new business. In addition, most mutual life insurers had a social/philanthropic charter and they were able to utilize this to build business. An outcome of this mix was the emergence of a particular type of entrepreneurship that fostered innovative product development and cemented the role of mutual insurers as market leaders.

Keywords:   mutualism, life insurance, Australia, entrepreneurship, business strategies, mutual life insurers

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