Do financial experts on the board matter? An empirical test from the United Kingdom's non-life insurance industry

Michael Adams, Wei Jiang

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We examine the relation between board-level financial expertise and six measures of performance using panel data drawn from the United Kingdom's (UK) non-life insurance industry. We find that collectively, financial experts have a beneficial influence on the performance outcomes of insurers. We also observe that board-level qualified accountants and actuaries are linked with superior performance in all six of our selected financial outcome measures. Professional insurance underwriters are associated with sound solvency levels (low leverage) and underwriting results, but not positive earnings-based measures. This suggests that underwriters may not be as adept at group-level earnings enhancement as accountants and actuaries. Additionally, we find that the introduction of IFRS 4 in 2004/5 did not have a significant impact on board composition and financial outcomes. Finally, we consider that our results could have commercial and/or policy implications.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Pages (from-to)168-195
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Accounting, Auditing and Finance
Issue number1
Early online date30 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020



  • Insurance
  • boards of directors
  • Financial Experts
  • UK

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