This is the part of the research where the research methodology that is used in analysing the data so as to complete the research in effective way is being done. This is the section that helps the researcher to identify the manner in which the research is being conducted. It is done through application of different techniques and methods from which investigator is able to draw a valid conclusion. It is seen that the research in the common parlance is done so as to search for getting the knowledge.
As per Clifford woody, “ Research comprises of defining and redefining problems formulating the hypothesis or the suggested solutions which collects, organise and evaluate the data. Hence it is important for the researcher to decide as to appropriate techniques and the methods so as to conduct the research in effective manner.
This has been seen that the range of methodologies and models are through scholars from time to time which helps the researcher to complete the objective of research in best manner. Also the techniques and the methods which are suitable to the study into the consideration are decided in this section of research. Hence the section of research methodology is highly important and it sets the guidelines for the researcher to take place.
It is seen that the research is an academic activity which should be used in a technical sense. While conducting the research there are various steps that are taken into consideration which includes choosing the topic, developing the research question, writing the research proposal, creating a research plan, procrastination, realistic planning, collecting data making pilot studies and giving the summary about the results that were discussed in the research.
The research divided into different methods which includes the qualitative research methods and quantitative research. In this research proposal the method which is used is quantitative research method which helps the researcher to get statistical data to analyse the situation of lapse rate in insurance sector in South Africa.
3.2 Aims of study
The aim of the study is considered as broad statement that describes the outcomes of the research. This is considered as the general outcomes of the research which helps in painting the picture of the research project. It emphasises what is to be accomplished in the report. It also helps in addressing the long term projects outcomes which should reflect the aspirations and the expectations of the research topic. The questions that are related to the research are considered as follows:
What policyholder features determine short term insurance lapse?
What macroeconomic variables influence short term insurance lapse?
How do short-term insurers manage lapse?
3.3 Research Design and Methods
The research design is considered as the emphasis that identifies the ways through which the research is to be conducted. There are different types of research design that are taken into consideration so that descriptive, exploratory and experimental analysis can be done. It is seen that the descriptive design emphasis on presenting the research through the detailed description which is done through the existing facts and the figures. While the exploratory research on the other hand emphasises on investigating new concepts and the models.
At last the experimental design is considered as method where the scientific or the mathematical analysis of the problems that are related to the research are done. The present study is related to the lapse that occurs in the insurance sector due to which the short term insurance is hampered in South Africa. Though the descriptive design is taken into consideration for this research which helps to provide the details analysis of different aspect which is related to the current field.
The method that is used in this approach is mixed method. As the research is based on the qualitative and the quantitative method. This would help the investigator to perform the research more effectively and this would give most satisfying outcome for research question.
3.4 Research paradigm
The research paradigm is defined as the small example or the pattern that are used to illustrate the procedures, processes and the theoretical points. According to the definition that is given by Thomas Kuhn's it is the underlying assumptions and the intellectual structure on the basis of which the research development and the field of inquiry is based upon. The research paradigm can be defined into two different forms which includes the positivist approach and the naturalist approach.
The positivist approach is dependent upon the reality of the single, tangible and the fragment able approaches. Also this approach is based on the concept of dualism. Various time and context free generalisation are considered as main concepts of this approach. Here the enquiry is value free.
While as a naturalist it is seen that realities are multiple and are constructed or holistic. Also in this approach only time based and the context based working hypotheses are possible. Here the inquiry is value bounded.
3.5 Population and sample of the study
A sample can be defined as a small group of persons that are chosen either on biased and unbiased basis from a large population. The reason behind choosing a sample is to take feedback of such respondents and gather data more appropriately, for taking their opinion to address research problems.
3.6 Sampling Method
Sampling is considered as one of the most important part of the research methodology. It is used by the researchers for selecting a small sample from total population. It is fact that, population is very large and this is not possible for investigators to study the entire population. Thus, sampling is a small sub set of the large number of the group. The reliability of the research is depended on the outcomes of the research study. There are two types of sampling which are portability and non-probability.
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Here, within probability technique sample is chosen on random basis where each participant of large group get chance to being selected. While under non-probability technique, respondents are chosen on non-random basis. In this present report, researcher has used probability sampling in which simple random sampling is taken to choose a sample. Scholar has make use of questionnaire which will be used when conducting interview of a sample population. Here respondents are classified as policyholders, age group and different sectors.
3.7 Data Collection
Data collection is also an essential part of a research that helps in obtaining reliable and valid data for conducting an investigation. It defines as a systematic process to collect the information from various authenticate sources, for addressing the issues mentioned within a particular research.
Therefore, it refers to a vital part of study that helps in conducting a research more appropriately. Data in this regard can be collected by using two main methods viz. primary and secondary methods, where both provides various techniques to address research question. Here, primary data can be collected by the efforts of researchers through self-conducting interviews, questionnaire survey, focused group discussion and more.
This would provide authenticate and reliable information which is not used before in any past research. Other than this, data collected through secondary methods can be obtained at large scale by using books, journals, scholarly articles through internet access.
But data collected from secondary sources are less reliable as well as not so authenticate. In this present research, research has collected the data from primary sources. Scholars have explored various articles from internet source to conduct literature review and develop questionnaire to ascertain influence of factors on short-term insurance policy lapse.
3.8 Data Analysis
It is also considered as one of the most important part of research study, where specific information is gathered to analyse a data and draw valid conclusion accordingly. Data analysis can be defined as a process that logically applied to a statical research to describe as well as measure the information to check its feasibility and reliability. Hereby, scholar also get opportunity to make appropriate decisions by data analysis to address research problems in ethical manner. Data can be gathered by using primary and secondary techniques as per requirement of research. In this present research, researcher has used both primary and secondary resources to collect data to examine factors that affects lapse rates within South African short term insurance industry.
3.9 Reliability and Validity of study
Reliability and validity is an important measurement tool regarding stability in test scores. In research, researcher have to measure and validate intended of measurement. Researcher have to validate content validity by questionnaire. Researcher depends on subject matter of that is an important tool to measure to judge reliability of research. In an research questionnaire plays very important role in case researcher found abstractness in that case they have to conduct construct validity which plays very important role to reach at desirable goals and objectives. To make research reliable and validate researcher have to use measurement tool to create or produce accurate findings by comparing with standards to reach at desirable goals and objectives.
To measure reliability of research organisation have to prepare proper questionnaire in which observance of results after change in situation also be consider. The another most important part to judge reliability of research is internal consistency in questions by giving responses in consistent manner to reach at desirable outcomes. In order to reach at desirable outcomes and goals accuracy and validity are help by observing taste and preferences of consumer base to reach at desirable goals and objectives.
3.10 Ethical Consideration
It refers to most important of research where researchers must possessed knowledge about ethics while conducting their research. By concerning on such adherence, they can maintain reliability as well as validity of research in ethical manner. It is also considered as initial steps where scholars must focus on seeking consent of participants while collecting primary data, for their involvement in the same. Under this present research, scholars have seek consent of entire respondents on paper where terms and conditions of research are mentioned in order to protect interest and personal information of them. Apart from this, secondary information has also obtained by taking approval and permission from related authorities to copyright the data.
Chapter 4- Presentation of Results
Under this section, the above stated methodological tools have been applied in a real case scenario. This section helps the researcher as well as readers organize the data in a meaningful manner ensuring achievement of goals of the research. Additionally, this section provides a summary of the problem being researched, the methodology applied and the inferences drawn from the results generated. It is more focused on the actual research carried out by the methodologists rather than explaining the prior research work conducted by other scholars. The results derived in this research proposal are based on descriptive as well as inferential statistical techniques. As per Weiss and Weiss (2012), Descriptive Statistics provides a summarised form of information regarding the characteristics observed in the entire sample of a population.
Some of the measures employed under this gambit of statistics are central tendency, variability and dispersion. On the other hand, Inferential Statistical, as the name suggests, uses sample to make inferences by critically examining each sample value. It is used where the population size is large and it is not possible to study each data value present in that data set.
In this research proposal, both descriptive as well as inferential statistical methods have been used to analyse the underlying factors affecting the lapse rate in short-term insurance sector of South Africa. As per the study conducted, the main factors that were identified as responsible for impacting lapse rates were:
Alternative investment Options.
Customer Specific Features.
By conducting various statistical tools of descriptive statistics, the following results were derived in terms of Range, Minimum, Maximum, Mean, Standard Deviation and Variance. Here, V2 denotes Age of the Policy Holder; V5 denotes Policy start date; V6 denotes Policy End Date; V7 denotes Policy Duration; V8 represents Policy Premium paid by the holders on such short-term insurance policies and V9 represents Sum Insured.
Valid N (listwise)
The Column 'N' of this table indicates the number of non-missing or valid values. This indicates that the number of observations utilised while carrying out the current analysis. It is the number of valid observations that are available for the given variable. One can observe that for V2, age, the number of observations used are 29,031.
Here, the total number of observations includes both non-missing values (N) as well as missing values. For V2 (Age), the minimum age of policyholders is ascertained at 21 while the maximum age of the policyholders is 91. The 'Range' column is the difference between the maximum and minimum values for each independent variable. Hence, for V2, the age of policyholders ranges between 91 and 21 years, thus, giving us a difference of 70.
Mean is the average value present across the observations. Here, the Mean has been further divided into two parts viz. Statistics and Standard Error. Here, the statistics for V2 Mean is 49.89 with a standard error of 0.070. This explains that there is 7% probability of variation in the given statistic of mean attributable to the age of policyholders.
It is important to note that the mean value depends on the number of large or small values present in the data set. For V9, Sum Insured, this value is as high as 193097.65 since these observations contain maximum monetary value of the policy for which the insurance has been undertaken by the policyholder. It is only sensible to say that the standard error also increases with an increase in mean statistic.
Standard Deviation is the measure of dispersion from the actual values. It is the square root of Variance. On the other hand, variance is the measure of variability that aims to check how far the variables are from each other. Here, V2 has a standard deviation of 11.91 which states that the age of policyholders is widely dispersed from the mean of 49.89 years. This is more meaningful than Variance since variance generated here is a product of corrected Sum of Squared distances of data values rather than index itself which is not of much use for this analysis.
In order to have a detailed analysis of Variance, ANOVA has been taken into consideration which indicates sum of squares, degree of freedom (df), Mean Square and F-values. This table helps in understand how different combinations of factors affect or create variability and affect the lapse rate for insurance sector in South Africa.
Sum of Squares
V5 * V2
V6 * V2
V7 * V2
V8 * V2
V9 * V2
V14 * V2
From the above table, it can be observed that each column has a between groups and within groups row that indicates the weights given to these values combined as well as individually. For V5*V2, that is, the age and the policy start date, sum of squares of data values is 599882429.39 (Combined) and 10948978180.79 (within groups).
These are taken as Regression and Residual Statistics respectively. Hence, one can say that when age factor and policy start date are taken into consideration the relationship between the two is strong. Therefore, they are likely to affect the lapse rate. Lapse rate talks about the termination of life insurance before the policy end date occurs due to various reasons such as death or failure of premium payments made.
The degree of freedom of the combined variables is 68 whereas residually it is 28962 giving a total degree of freedom of 29030. Therefore, it can be said that for between groups, only 68 statistic are free to vary while within the group this statistic is highly variable without violating the constraints imposed on it.
This indicates that both age and policy start date are highly variable residually whereas the two are not able to impact much on the lapse rate when combined. Note that almost all combinations, when used between groups, are not able to vary as much as they would if they were allotted within the groups signally that there are more violations bound to occur when more than one underlying factor of lapse rate is happening at the same time.
Hence, lapse rate are likely to increase as there are more number of factors are affecting each other simultaneously.
The mean square is the product derived after dividing Sum of Squares by their respective degree of freedom values. It is the risk function containing both variance as well as the bias. These indicate the accuracy with which the observations are able to predict the parameters. Since every study includes a certain degree of bias, it is not possible to have a zero or negative mean square value. Lastly, the F-values have been calculated using these Mean squares to understand the statistical significance of the observations taken into consideration.
Taking a confidence level of 95%, it can be inferred that policy duration (V7), age (V2) and policy start date (V5) hold the most significance in the related study. Therefore, they are the main factors affecting the lapse rate occurrences in short-term insurance sector of South Africa.
This figure indicates a bell-shaped distribution for the factors taken into consideration for the study, hence, showing that there is a normal distribution present in the given data set. The highest point shows the mean value of 1.9, a standard deviation of 1 with number of observations coming to 29033. Since the factors are closely tied to each other it can be inferred that no factor is able to impact the lapse rates singularly, they are only effective when more than one occur, as was proved true in the ANOVA Study above.
Chapter 5- Discussion
This part of research summarise the entire information in a precise manner, which is obtained by using various methodologies. It would help other researchers in analysing what has been investigated through other project-makers. The reason behind making discussion on a given topic and data obtained by conducing primary and secondary research, is to make valid conclusion on given research problems. This would help in obtaining outcomes and achievement of main objectives in given period of time.
Along with this, it also aid project team to interpret as well as describe the significance of findings and outcomes in light of what has been achieved. By addressing research questions, they can also furthermore explain some any new understanding or reflecting some insights which emerged as a result of findings.
In this regard, to make discussion, it is essential for researchers to link the entire matter with aims and objectives as well as suitable hypothesis. Through this process, effective recommendations can be made to resolve and mitigate the mentioned research issues.
In context with present research, the main objective is to identify factors which affects lapse rates on short term insurance industry within South Africa. For this purpose, literature review has conducted to examine impact of policy makers as well as macroeconomic variables on short term insurance lapse rates. This would help in providing recommendation for mitigating the same, more efficiently.
Impact of policyholder characteristics on short term insurance lapse rates:
From findings in literature review, it has been analysed that a lapse defines as an event which includes the termination of coverage by policyholder or insured person. It is generally happened when if a personal contract regardless of fund, is fully terminated and administered at a division level, policyholder.
It includes the risk of loss as well as adverse changes in insurance liabilities' value and volatility of policy lapse rates, renewals, terminations and surrenders. As per opinion of Walsh and et. al. (2017), it has analysed that within life insurance industry, the contracts are mostly accompanied by risks. Here, lapse includes specifically termination risk which is considered as the cancellation of a life insurance policy, either by policyholder or insurance company.
It is terminated when policyholder fails to pay premium amount on due date or after the actual grace period. Therefore, in such case, it majorly impacts on short term insurance lapse rates. In such case, where policyholders exercise rights for terminating a contract is considered as main issue of increasing lapse rates. The reason behind termination is not making timely and enough premium payments for covering the expenses of policy.
Therefore, for diminishing such negative effects of lapse, the measured loss is covered under new policy prices. Through past review of statistical data, it has been analysed that in South Africa- insurance premium has been dropped by 15% in 2016 as compared to 2012. Due to this fallen in premium policies, share of South African premiums from insurance market has also fallen from 76% to 69%. In addition to this, it has also evaluated that within this respective country, short term insurance sector also grows slowly in digitalised manner.
Because today people demand for digital engagement from every company including insurance premium. Therefore, insurance companies have to digitalised their business for achievement of their key objectives i.e. reducing the lapse rate. In this regard, providing short term insurance plan help in decreasing lapse rate. Henceforth, it is estimated that this will the revenue rate by R115.2 billion of insurance industry by 2020.
As per various surveys it has evaluated that short term insurance providers by offering innovative plans and leveraging new opportunities, can meet strategic imperatives as well. Lapse influences liquidity and profitability of policy holders in various terminologies. For example- Insurers might get suffer from heavy losses due to lapsed policies which may happened because of no premium payment. Along with this, insurer may also faces loss of profits which may get after maturity of contracts.
Similarly, adverse selection of mortality and morbidity, exposure of liquidity risk in case of forcing policyholders to pay their surrender value to cover many lapsed policies, etc. are some major issues, faced by insurers. Therefore, at the same time, it leads to directly impact on lapse rates within South Africa.
As per views of Doherty (2015), it has been analysed that today insurance sector plays most crucial role in every country, for developing the financial and economic conditions. Companies dealing in such sector provide effective financial plans and schemes like pension funds that influence people to make investment in the same, to cover life risk. The increasing growth and success of insurance markets that covers a large part of entire financial sector, can affect financial system's stability.
In context with South Africa, it has examined that over past two decades, there has been a dramatic change within financial services, which is provided by insurance sector. Here, insurance represents a significant share of financial sector, therefore, it refers as a whole economy also.
Insurance companies offer some attractive contracts also such as saving vehicles, company's assets, particularly within life sector. In this regard, ageing population also contributes to such trend. The financial difference among working people and retired population have also be managed by insurance companies. This might be a problem particularly in countries on South African states. Therefore, most of the African countries used to privatized their pension system and population also intend to purchase products of life insurance, that turned into long-term saving their life and cover insurance of assets and properties. Hereby, insurance companies have three separable basic functions, it includes- insurance scheme for protection to risk to people by transferring risk to institutions, that are able to manage the same in better manner in exchange for premium. Therefore, this would reflect that insurance sector has an impact on both individuals and firms' actions.
Another function includes risks, that are spread by selling insurance products to various individuals, for avoiding risks and losses that will occur due to certain situation. At last, in order to reduce level of risk, insurance companies also improve resource allocation, by allocating sufficient amount of premium to both individuals and firms. In this regard, by providing a protection to population against early death, was considered as a principal role of life insurers in past, where premiums paid as claims through policyholders, were also influenced by time of death of individuals. But, now a days, there has been a lot of change has occurred in activities, which are provided by life insurance companies are referred as more similar like banks' schemes.
These kinds of new products of life insurers are basically sold on the basis of investment features such as liquidity and return. For an instance, universal, investment and unit-linked contracts are some products that are offered with different investment characteristics. Within non-life insurance era, nature of such unexpected events as well as level of damage, mostly influence the amount of claims which insurers have to pay. But in context with portfolio of policyholder, which is diversified as well large enough, hereby, claims must be equal to premiums' value.
Impact of macroeconomic variables on short term insurance lapse rates:
As per views and opinion of Meagher (2018), Lapsations can be defined as inability to pay premium related to renewal of policies. It is considered as the best way by which individuals or firms are able to continue their insurance policies as well as enjoys free risk at the time of uncertainty.
However, there are some possibilities also may occur where individuals feel unable to pay premium on time that leads in breach of contract as well. This kind of situation is not considered as relevant or profitable for insurance companies and individuals too. There are several reasons present due to which individuals lapse their insurance policies. In creates negative impact on performance of such companies.
There are some issues such as dishonesty, higher risk, hidden policies, more rules and regulations at the tome of requirement. Insurance is the secure concept which is planned to secure future. This is the way through which individuals feels that there is requirement of some changes which is relevant for making future safe and secure. But as per research, it is found that people of South Africa breach their contract in between due to different reasons. Through perception of Weiss and Weiss (2012), it has been analysed that there are various elements present in macroeconomic environment, that impact on short term insurance lapse rates. It includes interest rate, underwriting and catastrophe risk etc. which are considered as main risks in terms of liability side of balance-sheet of insurers. While the asset side of same, insurers have to remain vulnerable to risks, which mainly associated with credit and systemic risk, market and liquidity risk, so on.
Therefore, insurance companies in this regard, have to deal with these types of risks that may threaten their stability in marketplace. On comparing insurers with non-traditional business, such insurance companies of South Africa that are based on traditional business, are considered as not so resistant towards financial and economic changes. However, among the non-traditional business activities that are provided by insurers, usually belong to insurance-linked securities or financial guarantee insurance. Similarly, another major factor that impact on short term lapse rates is market risk. It arise from market movements that put a huge impact on both liability and asset side of balance sheets. In terms of insurer’s point of view, market risk can be demonstrated as an extent to which value of asset is not compensated through changes in liability value. These changes are occurred due to market movements in terms of exchange rates, equity prices, interest rates and more.
Hereby, the main risk for companies dealing in life insurance sector are associated with movements in interest rates. As this would influence assets and liabilities' value. Along with this, it also affects policyholders in indirect manner. However, it has also observed that changes in interest rates are not considered as a main risk of life insurers because duration of non-life insurance contracts is usually short term. But, it can influence the investment's rate of return. An increase in interest rates lead to lapse insurance policies due to high expectation of policyholders related to borrowing costs.
Since duration of liabilities is generally higher than duration of assets, therefore, companies associated within insurance sector have to face the risk related to reinvestment. As due to market movement, insurers also have faced struggle with less interest rates. Therefore, major issue in this regard is lower yielding investments, that result to fail insurers to meet the prior return assumptions. The level of duration that mismatch between assets and liabilities has also impacted on degree of reinvestment risk, that insurers have to deal with.
Furthermore, credit risk is also considered as one of the main key risks for companies dealing in insurance sector. As per views of Babor and et. al. 2017, credit risk can be defined as a likelihood whereby a counter-party fail to meet its obligations. Borrowers, re-insurers, policyholders, brokers, debtors and more, are considered as counter-parties of insurance company, that affected by credit risk. This may be arise due to various financial instruments like securitisations, guarantees and more. Other than this, liquidity risk is another associated risk that impact on short-term insurance policy. This kind of risk related to inability of insurer in terms of liquidate assets, when it is necessary to fund its obligations when they are due. Therefore, all such issues and risks, are lead to increase lapse rates that impact majorly on short-term insurance.
Strategies to mitigate lapse rates
According to view point of Mikkelson (2016), it has analysed that due to certain possibilities like lack of financial resources, lack of knowledge about terms and conditions of insurance policies. improper planning related to finance, irregular income and more, that create problems for individuals to pay their premium of time. This would lead to enhance lapse rates which directly impact on operations of insurance company in negative manner. Along with this, there are many changes also take place in insurance policies due to change in laws and regulations.
Therefore, to mitigate lapse rates, insurance companies of South Africa and other countries to communicate to these types of changes in policies and any legal modifications to customers, so that they can become aware about such alterations. In this regard, it will give time to insurers to think how to pay premium on time, which would lead to reduce lapse rates. This may help in paying policies of premium on regular basis and make able to insurance companies to maintain long term relations with consumers. But for this purpose, insurance industry also need to concern on motivating and encouraging customers to pay their premium on time, by offering them attractive discounts on regular interval of time. By developing different policies, companies can gain high satisfaction of consumers and can motivate them to pay premium on regular basis. Furthermore, by resolving complaints of customers related to repayment of premium and grievances, aid insurance companies to satisfied them and reduce chance of policy lapse. Since insurance companies sometime fail to create transparency in business by not revealing certain clauses to their clients.
Therefore, in such case, it results to get dissatisfaction of consumers and decrease customer engagement also. To deal with mention condition, insurance companies must create proper change in policies and insurance schemes, which are more significant as well as relevant to create transparency in business by providing entire information related to terms and conditions to people. Hereby, customer relations are also considered as the most important aspect, that helps to get positive impact on insurance companies, due to change in insurance plans and policies.
Therefore, by adhering such policies, policyholders can make necessary modifications in plans which prove fruitful to gain high revenues and customer satisfaction. Along with this, companies must develop a proper communication system in order to reduce communication gap. All such strategies help insurance companies in decreasing rate of short-term lapse rate.
Chapter 6: Conclusion and Recommendation
While conducting research several limitation is face by the research such as time duration because concept of insurance company is wide which require proper time for conducting research. Time management play important role in achieving goal and objective of research in effective manner. It is necessary to divide time within each and every activity of research for conducting them in better manner but due to wide concept of insurance this became difficult for investigator person. Along with this, it is not easy to excess data of insurance company because there is requirement of taking permission from legal bodies which is not easy task as well as have proper process that will be time consuming.
Akesson, B., Braganza, M. and Root, J., 2018. Is theory development essential for the social work dissertation?. Social Work Education. 37(2). pp.209-222.
Alhassan, A. L. and Biekpe, N., 2016. Competition and efficiency in the non-life insurance market in South Africa. Journal of Economic Studies. 43(6). pp.882-909.
Alhassan, A. L., Addisson, G. K. and Asamoah, M. E., 2015. Market structure, efficiency and profitability of insurance companies in Ghana. International Journal of Emerging Markets. 10(4). pp.648-669.
Asah, F., Fatoki, O. O. and Rungani, E., 2015. The impact of motivations, personal values and management skills on the performance of SMEs in South Africa. African Journal of Economic and Management Studies. 6(3). pp.308-322.
Babor, T. F. and et. al., 2017. Vulnerability to alcohol‐related problems: a policy brief with implications for the regulation of alcohol marketing. Addiction. 112. pp.94-101.
Barrett, C. B. and et. al., 2019. The economics of poverty traps. University of Chicago Press.
Biggam, J., 2015. Succeeding with your master's dissertation: a step-by-step handbook. McGraw-Hill Education (UK)
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