Keeping Up With The Market – February 2023

Every month, we help you keep up with the Belgian and Luxembourg insurance markets.

  1. Partnership 
  2. Product 
  3. Market 
  4. Financial results 
  5. Legislation 



Custodix hub

In Luxembourg, Luxhub and Vermeg, a software specialist, join forces to launch Custodix Hub. Custodix Hub is a solution created to collect data from depository banks so that life insurers can more easily organize them. (Check out their presentation

The main reason for this partnership is the cost of data management for life insurance companies, especially in the context of digital evolution. Indeed, data becoming increasingly sophisticated and the ability to process different formats are main factors of rise in costs.

Custodix Hub allows the automation of processes and the structuration of data coming from depository banks. These data, such as movements in securities and securities positions, are processed in specific formats, proper to banks, which makes it difficult for life insurance companies to process.

Custodix Hub, therefore, provides an opportunity to facilitate the process of a format change for insurers.



AXA has introduced a new service as part of its group hospital insurance: a second medical opinion. This second opinion includes an online consultation with a doctor and a physical consultation in a hospital.

To request this second opinion, the policyholder will be accompanied by a personal assistant throughout the process.

This service is launched to meet the needs of policyholders who are diagnosed with a serious illness or who have to undergo a major operation. In addition, this service is a complement to the range of services offered for health insurance.




AG College: new training program by AG Insurance

AG launched a new training program called AG College. The objective? Training AG’s own talent in order to meet the recruitment challenges of the market.

Concretely, the 6-months program includes technical trainings, a first evaluation after 3 months and a final evaluation. If candidates successfully pass the final evaluation, they get a permanent contract as a file administrator for car insurance or health care.

AG College, a first in the sector, has been created in partnership with the AG’s HR teams, AG Business Schools and Fopas.


Natural disasters: single compensation scheme to be set up

By the end of 2022, 97% of the files concerning the victims of the floods that hit Belgium in 2021 had been completed.

However, the amount of the capped intervention to which insurers have to limit themselves in order to maintain their solvency is considered insufficient. The insurers have therefore decided, in consultation with the authorities, to set up a single compensation scheme to ensure the compensation of policyholders who are victims of future natural disasters.

Hilde Vernaillen, President of Assuralia, stresses that without a single compensation scheme applicable to the whole country, it is impossible for insurers to cover the risk properly and to reinsure it at a decent price. Therefore, a harmonized system is necessary to avoid a solvency problem for insurers or higher premiums for consumers.


Fewer requests from motorists submitted to the Pricing Agency

This year, only 33,255 applications for motor insurance from ‘uninsurable’ motorists were submitted to the Pricing Agency, a decrease of 6.4% compared to 2021.

It is worth noting that the number of applications increases each year, but the rate of increase is lower each time.

In 2022, 24,036 contracts were agreed with insurance companies.


AXA’s digitalisation programme and climate commitment

AXA Belgium is a leading insurer when it comes to developing efficient digital customer experiences and its digitalization strategy does not end there. Indeed, 73% of the customer experience is digitalised and takes place on MyAXA, which has seen a 50% increase in the number of users. MyAXA allows consumers to report a claim directly via the application.

Additionally, in the context of protection against climate risks, AXA has also introduced the Eco Repair Score, a tool that defines the environmental impact of repairing damaged vehicles. In addition, the AXA Research Fund as well as the River Cleanup action and the Climate School are other tools deployed by the insurer to display its commitment to the climate.


Financial results


As regards its non-life insurance activity, KBC reported an amount of 204 million euros for its technical income. This amount represents an increase of 4% compared to 2021. Earned premiums remained stable compared to the previous quarter. In addition, the amount of reinsurance transferred decreased and technical expenses increased.

Regarding life insurance, technical income reached 16 million euros, an increase of 6 million compared to the previous year. The sale of life insurance products, including branch 23 products and products with a guaranteed interest rate, also increased by 34% compared to 2021.

In addition, KBC also announced its partnership with PetExpert to offer insurance for our dogs and cats.

Allianz Benelux

Allianz Benelux also published its results for the previous year. Its net result amounted to 217 million, an increase compared to 2021.

Non-life premium income reached 1,582 million euros, an increase of 2.4%. However, premium income on the life segment fell by 18.4% to 1,864 million euros.

The operating result of its non-life segment increased compared to 2021, reaching 185.1 million euros. On the life segment, the result also increased to 160.1 million euros, partly due to a higher investment margin.


It is now Ageas‘ turn to publish its results. The Belgian insurer reports a net result of 1.01 billion, an increase of 20% compared to 2021.

This net result is explained by the purchase of the Fresh bonds and RPN(i) securities, two financial securities inherited from Fortis Bank. However, analysts advise to exclude these as they do not provide any information on the performance of Ageas’ activities. For instance, if the profits generated by the NPRs are not taken into account, the net result would be equivalent to 871 million.

On the life segment, premium income increased by 1%, driven by good results in the Asian market. The European markets showed a decline in life business.

On the non-life segment, premium income increased by 4%, reflecting growth in all markets.


Unlike its competitors, AXA‘s turnover increased but its net income decreased by 11%.

Indeed, its turnover reached 102.3 billion euros. However, its net income fell by 11%, due to the unfavourable situation of the financial markets. At group level, revenues for the P&C and health businesses increased by 2% and 16% respectively.

In Belgium, turnover increased by 3% to reach 3.58 billion euros. The health business in particular stood out, with a 9% increase, followed by the non-life business, which rose by 3%.

Results for life insurance stagnated, due to the change in legislation for the pension of the self-employed.



The EESC opinion on a new liability regime concerning AI

As AI becomes more and more central to the activities of companies, they are more prone to damage caused by it. The European Commission has drafted a proposal for a law on this issue, on which the EESC has expressed an opinion.

Both agree not to choose no-fault liability or compulsory insurance. However, the EESC would like to provide legal certainty to encourage companies to use AI in their business. Civil liability guarantees could be called upon in this respect.

In addition, compensation for companies that incur damage due to the use of AI will not be harmonised at a national level. The EESC, supported by the social partners, civil society and consumers, is therefore awaiting a response from the Commission in this respect.


Draft law on fire insurance linked to a mortgage loan

In order to grant a mortgage loan, the bank often encourages its customers to take out fire insurance or an outstanding balance. This practice allows for a lower interest rate for the customers.

However, there have been complaints from customers who could not change their fire insurance to a more attractive offer from a competitor without seeing the interest rate on their loan increase.

The Minister for the Economy has proposed that this practice should stop, allowing consumers to change their fire insurance after 2 years without losing the interest rate set at the time of purchase.


Workmen’s compensation: new draft law

In 2021, the number of claims for workers’ compensation refused by insurance companies was 14,8%. But, if an insurance company refuses to pay a compensation, it must report this to Fedris, which may then decide to pursue an investigation.

In 2021, only 3,609 investigations were opened and 18,199 refusals were not checked.  The CD&V reports that only one-sixth of the refusals were checked by Fedris, which explains why many victims’ files were wrongly refused.

The CD&V, therefore, wants Fedris to conduct an investigation into all compensation files that have been refused by insurers. If the insurer contests, it will have to pay a fee of €100 to Fedris.

In addition, the CD&V wants victims of such accidents to be better informed. According to the political party, scheme for married couples and legal cohabitants should be harmonized and actions should be undertaken to improve vulnerable position of temporary workers.



Appointment – February 2023

Who are the most recent appointments as directors and C-levels in Belux? February was a particularly quiet month.


Eve Roux

Eve Roux has been appointed Executive Director of CNP Luxembourg. She succeeds to Jean-Mary Castillon.

CNP Luxembourg is the subsidiary of the Business Unit investments group-engineering and wealth savings.

Gratued from ESCI and Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3, Eve Roux has considerable working experience within CNP, having joined the group in 2000.

Before starting her new position Eve was head of the Amétis network within the Business Unit Partnerships France.





What an actuary can do to face inflation


Estimated at 10,7% in 2022 in the Eurozone, the inflation unsurprisingly hits the European insurance market for several months. The role of actuaries at different levels, such as costs, product development, covers, evaluation of the balance sheet and measurement of capital requirements, is a key element that insurance companies need to consider to remain competitive.

Impacts of inflation on the insurance market

As many other actors, insurers do need to deal with inflation and its consequences. The decrease in purchasing power, the increase in claim costs in P&C insurance and in medical covers, and the loss of market assets are all examples of negative short-term consequences that need to be controlled. On the contrary, the rise in interest rates, for instance, provides an active return in the long term: indeed, this effect allows bonds to be redeemed at higher rates. Regarding savings products with a secured interest rate, they are advantageous for both the investor and the insurer, who can obtain a higher bond yield.

Moreover, on the mid-term, inflation increases risk awareness, influencing customers in taking out more advantageous life insurance products, such as units of account. When taking out these products, money is invested in different types of assets that will adjust to inflation, such as real estate. The insurers’ life insurance taxation framework will therefore generate increasing cash flows.

Lastly, the impacts of a changing monetary policy will have consequences on technical provisions, capital requirements and related monitoring tools. Indeed, current methods used do not estimate realistic technical provisions because they do not adapt to inflation, as these methods have not been adjusted for more than twenty years. In addition, buying life insurance policies, immediate consequence of the decrease in purchasing power and the increase in interest rates, influences these estimates.

Regarding capital requirements, it is recommended to review inflation-related parameters of internal model to meet the SCR. It should be noted that inflation also affects risk management policies and models.

Globally, we can notice that inflation influences positively and negatively the insurance market.


Undertaking actions at different levels

In addition to the above-mentioned consequences, the inflationary pressure urges insurers to look at their product and reserving strategies.

A concrete example concerns the competitiveness of insurance companies in relation to offered guarantees. Understanding how these guarantees are calculated and determining their level in new products will therefore be of primary importance. A solution to determine their level is to reduce underwriting risk by considering even more the policyholder’s experience, or by asking policyholders if their needs have changed and if some insurance policies can be brought together. Another solution may lie with the policyholder if he·she is willing to change insurance policies regularly.

As a result, understanding and monitoring the market as it changes is a required behavior in a future and uncertain socioeconomic context.

As far as pricing is concerned, inflation also affects projections of future premiums. The increase of claims costs and other risks (i.e. climate-related) are factors to consider. However, inflation does not influence life and non-life insurance similarly. On the non-life hand, the IABE has already noticed that some non-life insurance premiums are undervalued of 8%. Nevertheless, short-term contracts allow to adapt more easily to the influence of inflation. In this respect, inflation has a forward-looking effect. The situation is different for longer-term life insurance contracts. A new challenge is to adequately price savings products with a guaranteed interest rate to yield a return on invested premiums. Inflation has therefore a retrospective effect on the life hand.

Moreover, the impact of political decisions when pricing productsshould be considered. Bruno Lemaire, French Minister of Economy, for instance, decided to limit the insurance index so that it does not increase compared to the consumer price index. However, it is necessary to be extremely careful when adapting premiums, as regulatory instances require a substantiated justification.

If we look at the solvency of insurance companies, evidence shows that inflation affects both life and non-life business. In such an inflationary context, reinsurance may be of useful help for insurers, more specifically by discussing with experts how to set up adequate reserves. Moreover, the APREF thinks that the current economic situation, and the possible stagflation, could influence prices and the scope of reinsurance cover. Therefore, there is a need for insurers to engage and interact more with reinsurers.


“Understanding and monitoring the market as it changes is a required behavior in a future and uncertain socioeconomic context.”


Opportunities available to actuaries

Although we have discussed the impacts of inflation on the industry and the associated changes to be adopted, it is needless to say that the core business of actuaries will also be subject to adaptations, regardless of the degree of implication in the value chain.

With the increase in costs of claims coming from the rise in raw materials and automobile parts, it matters to reconsider how insurers deal with claims. Actuaries working in this area may tap into other budgets and choose a new method to reprice products after inflation. The insurance company may also change its pricing policy by adopting a competitive strategy regarding what is being done in the market or simply by deciding how many product lines to increase to maintain a certain number of policyholders.

Regarding non-life pricing, it is recommended to use extrapolation techniques which already take inflation into account. Adapting previous cash flows to current inflation in models is another method that can be used. On the whole, considering past figures as good indicators of future behaviors is also interesting. Another approach consists in using the pricing of inflation swaps and index-linked bonds to better evaluate future inflation.

If we tackle the ALM strategy, another necessary step is to model inflation. Specific models can link inflation by rates. Indeed, using LMM or Vasicek models allows to model real and nominal rates in order to determine inflation. Besides, simultaneously determining real and nominal rates and inflation is also possible via autoregressive models such as Jarrow-Yildirim model. Lastly, using inflation swaps that swap fluctuating inflation for fixed inflation allows for more accurate predictions as it reduces future volatility.

Additionally, although there is an influence of inflation on liabilities, especially on products, asset coverage is still too poor. Some elements could be used as natural coverage. For instance, inflation-linked products, interest-rate products and equities with a strong pricing power could be the solution, even if these are scarce products. Concerning equities, further reflection is required as the classification of risks is not as clear as for credit risk and its financial ratings. It is therefore necessary to catch risk factors that identify  equities more prone to inflation. However, paying attention to these factors can allow for a considerable evolution and better visibility on the market in such a situation.

Lastly, a global reflection on how reserves can be increased and how this increase can be established should be encouraged. Similarly to the adaptation of insurance products premiums, reserving is a key matter to face inflation, even if inflation were to weaken.


“It seems natural to consider that the market will still be confronted with these conditions in the future, especially with the already evident consequences of global warming.”


Final words

Inflation and the economic and social chaos caused are not likely to leave us any time soon. Each actor in the financial sector must take it into account to improve the comfort of living of citizens and the perennity of companies. As an actuary, adapting his/her strategic vision and implementing changes in traditional methods used in daily work are actions that must be taken to meet these objectives.

Concretely, it seems natural to consider that the market will still be confronted with these conditions in the future, especially with the already evident consequences of global warming. Actuaries will need to deal more and more with these situations which cause rates volatility and instability on assets. This is what the European Actuarial Association remind us: “As actuaries, we have taken too much time thinking that inflation belonged to the past. After all, the history taught us that …”




Keeping Up With The Market – January 2023

Every month, we help you keep up with the Belgian insurance market.

Merger & acquisition

Ageas coveted by BE Group

After a first attempt in 2020, BE Group, a consortium of former investment bankers, has attempted to take over Ageas Group. This operation, if successful, would be one of the most significant in the sector.

However, BE Group may have difficulties in finding Belgian shareholders.



The Belgian fund sector reaches a negative percentage

End of 2022, the sector of Belgian funds recorded a decline of -2,1%.

More specifically, the net assets of funds that invest mainly in variable income securities, such as mixed funds and equity funds, fell by -2.6% over this period. Besides, mixed funds are the ones which experienced a decrease and especially the pension funds, with a decrease of -4,2%.

Lastly, the net assets of funds invested in fixed-income securities dropped by -0,2%.

More information on key figures here.


Accident at work : the kilometric allowance indexed

The kilometric allowance received by victims of an accident at work for any travel related to work or care has been indexed. The government has increased the amount per kilometer from €0,2479 to €0,3704.

In addition, this allowance is now linked to the central index and is adjusted annually according to the IPC.

This change does not apply to travel expenses incurred by public transport.


Proven insurance fraud between 100 and 140 million euros per year

According to Assuralia, proven insurance fraud is between 100 and 140 million euros per year. This corresponds to the amount of expenses that are avoided or that insurance companies can reclaim from fraudsters. This remains an estimate, as fraud is difficult to ascertain.

The estimate includes 5 to 10% of the expenses for non-life insurance. In addition, 750 million euros could correspond to the amount of erroneous payments.


The results of the pension saving funds

As a result of the fall in the equity markets, the return on pension savings funds fell by an average of 16%. A similar situation to 2008.

If we take a closer look, dynamic funds have been more affected by the economic situation than mixed and defensive funds. However, pension funds imply a long-term investment, and therefore a more advantageous return in a few years.

Moreover, the market shows that savers do not withdraw their investments immediately. Indeed, BNP Paribas Fortis has estimated that withdrawals fell by 36% in 2022.

For 2023, the investment strategy will be cautious and seems to be more oriented toward bonds. Indeed, the risk of bad results from companies worries investors.


ING investors barometer

For the 11th consecutive month, the ING Barometer remains below neutral level, with 81 points.

According to the barometer, two trends stand out: real estate remains the best investment for 2023 and young investors also believe in crypto-currencies, despite the turbulent year these assets have experienced.

Indeed, 29% of respondents choose real estate, compared to only 19% for stocks or equity funds. Furthermore, only 7% of investors consider bonds and bond funds as one of the best investments.

Overall, it should be noted that uncertainty about the stock market remains high among investors.

More information about the barometer here.

Brokers as major players of the Belgian insurance market

The insurance market collected 29.3 billion euros in 2021, an increase of 5% compared to 2020.

The non-life, individual life branch 23, and group life operations recorded higher premium income in 2021. Branch 23 products are increasingly popular, partly due to the continuing low-interest rates and the recovery of stock market results in 2021.

Moreover, brokers hold 52,8% of the overall insurance market inflow.

Of this 52,8%, 27,6% is held by exclusive networks and bancassurers. Only 19.6% of insurers’ direct distribution channels account for the overall premium income.

Brokers play a significant part in both non-life and life products, accounting for 46% of the market share in the latter case. In particular, they have gained ground in savings and investment insurance. In addition, non-life insurance for professionals is sold via brokers, who hold 46.3% of the market.


Allianz Risk barometer 2023

Allianz has published its annual barometer of business risk rankings. The barometer is based on the opinions of 2,712 risk management experts from 94 countries and regions.

For the second year in a row, cyber incidents and business interruptions top the list. The third most important fear of Belgian companies is the risks linked to legislative and regulatory changes.

Risks related to natural disasters, climate, and pandemics declined in the ranking. In 10th place, political risk and violence have appeared.

You can find more information on this barometer here.

Car insurance premiums rising

Due to inflation and rising costs, car insurance premiums will increase among various insurers during the course of this year.

Here is the percentage of increase per insurance company:

  • AG Insurance and Axa – 4,5%
  • Corona Direct – 5%
  • Baloise – 5,3%
  • Belfius – 6%
  • Federale Assurance – 3,5 to 8%

The increase in costs is linked in particular to the need for more qualified labour, as the components to be repaired are becoming increasingly advanced. In addition, the price of spare parts imported from abroad also has an impact on costs.

It is necessary to take into account that the increase in premiums is also due to the real value of cars, which has increased for both new and second-hand vehicles.


Ethias enters venture capital

Ethias is launching an investment fund with the aim of supporting promising young national companies in the financial and insurance sector. The fund is called Ethias Ventures. Raising already 20 million euros in its debut, about 1 million euros will be granted per application. At the time of writing, 50 applications are already being analysed internally.

Ethias Ventures has a double objective: to support promising fintechs and insurtechs to launch their products and to provide Ethias’ customers with innovative solutions.

To carry out this project, three innovation managers and a corporate finance specialist have joined the boat. In addition, Ethias Ventures will benefit from the expertise of the entire group.

The company will say more about this project on 15 February.



Changes for debt collectors

People involved in debt collection activities must subscribe to a professional liability insurance. Until now, based on the Royal Decree of 17 February 2005, the minimum cover was €175,000 and the excess €3,500. However, from this year onwards, these amounts will increase to €187,500 and €3,750 respectively.

These increases are due to the rise of the consumer price index. These amounts apply from 1 January to the next annual deadline.




Appointments – January 2023

Who are the most recent appointments as directors and C-levels in Belux? January was a particularly quiet month.


Christophe Pochez has been appointed Chief Risk Officer of Federale Assurance. For nearly 16 years, he was Head of ALM and Financial Risk Management of the company.

Christophe holds a master’s degree in Actuarial Science from the Université Catholique de Louvain. He started his career in the banking sector, and more particularly at Belfius (formerly Dexia). In 2007, he has joined Federale Assurance to head the ALM and Risk Management team.


Christophe Van Loo

Christophe Van Loo will become the new Chief Commercial Officer Institutional Partners of NN, succeeding Joost van Ginkel. His nomination depends on the decision of the National Bank.

With over 20 years of experience in the financial sector, Christophe will be responsible for defending the interests of the insurer and its various banking partners.

Joost van Ginkel will be in charge of customer satisfaction.


Thierry Ballas

Thierry Ballas has been appointed Head of external communication, branding and digital content of P&V Group.

Thierry worked for 8 years at Bpost before joining the insurance company. Additionally, he has broad experience, varying from the automobile sector at Mercedes, and Toyota to cosmetics at L’Oréal.




Michael Müller

Michael Müller, Managing Director of the Swiss branch, will become the new CEO of Baloise, as of 1st July 2023. Indeed, he will take over from Gert De Winter.

Gert will leave the company on 30th June for personal reasons.  He had been in this position since 2016.




Antonio Corpas

Elio Fratini






At the beginning of January, we learned the tragic news of the death of Antonio Corpas, CEO of OneLife. He joined the company in 2008 as Head of tax & legal and group general counsel. Ten years later, he became CEO of the group.

End of December, a succession plan has been set up in which Elio Fratini took over the position on an interim base. This plan will be maintained.