Keeping Up With The Market – September 2022

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

New products




Urban Data is the new tool launched by Ethias to help cities and local authorities. By collecting their own claims data, the insurance company facilitates risk prevention decisions for local authorities.

As one of the most important insurance companies on the Belgian market, Ethias holds a large amount of claims data that she decided to leverage by aggregating them to track the location of disasters on a map of municipalities, monitor their evolution, identify trends in their occurrence, etc. Thanks to this tool, cities and local authorities will be better able to define risk prevention interventions.

Discover the tool: 


NN Wellbeing Services is the new service launched by NN, a Belgian life insurer, for the self-employed and their families. Concretely, this new service offers preventive support for the mental health of the manager, as well as personalised coaching on the latter, as NN knows that mental health issues can have serious consequences on business. For example, the policyholder will receive advice on finding a work-life balance and relaxation strategies. In addition, the service offers customisable options, such as Manager Assist which provides advice to managers on dealing with a difficult employee or productivity issues.

NN Wellbeing Services is available for all Scala disability contracts taken out from 4 September 2022.



EU regulation No 1126/2008

Union européenne | Courrier international

Back in September 2022, the European Union modified the regulation about the IFRS 17 norm. The published attachment follows up on the amendment introduced by the International Accounting Standard Board (IAS) in December 2021.

This amendment helps apply transitional arrangements concerning the aforementioned norm, only for companies applying IFRS 17 and IFRS 9 for the first time. More particularly, this solves a major problem: classification differences regarding comparative information of the last period of financial information presentation. Attached to Regulation No 1126/2008, the amendment comes into effect on 29 September.

Read the Commission Regulation: FrançaisNederlandsEnglish


Online comparison tool from State Secretary for Consumer Protection

With a very diverse range of insurance products on the Belgian market, one knows how difficult it can be to make the right choice. Therefore, Eva De Bleeker, State Secretary for Consumer Protection, wants to develop an online comparison tool for banking and insurance products. This tool will be available from early 2023 and will help consumers to better choose the right insurance product adapted to their needs and situation. All of this is possible thanks to a rate simulator and comparison modules. This comparison tool lists the products of all informed insurers and providers.


News of the market

Ageas - Wikipedia

A new entity

From 1st January next year, Ageas Re will be the new reinsurance activity of the group Ageas for third parties in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

The group is already active in reinsurance since 2018, but for internal entities only. With this new activity for third parties, which is part of the Impact24 strategy, Ageas expects to reach 200 million euros in net profit in 5 years.

Ageas Re will be implemented in several stages. With an allocation of 215 million euros over a five-year period for its development, the group will start by offering reinsurance services to insurers in the EMEA zone who insure individuals. Then, Ageas Re will be able to cover larger risks, such as the engineering risk. In Asia, reinsurance is provided through the collaboration with Taiping Re, which has existed since 2020.

A possible withdrawal 

According to Bloomberg, the life insurer Ageas could leave France, but the latter did not wish to comment on this subject.

Ageas recorded a turnover of 452 million euros in 2021, with a 27% drop in inflows. The life business in Portugal and Belgium fell by 14% and 5% respectively. The decision to leave France could be because of the aforementioned results in the life insurance activity (pensions and savings). However, following the implementation of its “Impact24” strategy, the group wishes to strengthen its position in Europe and Asia.


A few months after his nomination, Frédéric Van der Schueren, the new CEO of Belfius Insurance, expresses his desires for his mandate. His primary aim is to position the company as the 4th largest insurer in the Belgian market. To do that, he wants to boost the banking channel through the sale of insurance.

However, Frédéric Van der Schueren says that the other channels such as DVV and Corona are complementary to his objective. In addition, in view of the bancassurer’s new positioning, branches 21 and 44 will be further developed, and support will be provided in the form of a discount for the so-called “energy friendly” home insurance, i.e. insurance that contributes to energy improvements in buildings. Finally, the CEO is considering a deferral of payment for mortgage loans in the context of the current economic crisis, as well as for some premiums.


AXA Belgium published her half-year financial results: the insurance company presents a profit of 1,904 million euros.

Concerning the damage insurance, the company realised a profit of 5% higher for professionals and of 2% higher for individuals. Operational results remain fixed up to the amount of 193 million euros, despite storms.

Find more information on these results here.


MS Amlin AG announced mid-September his name change to ‘MS Reinsurance’. Being part of MS&AD’s strategy to become a global leading reinsurer, Robert Wiest, Chief Executive Officer of MS Reinsurance highlights the importance of this evolution in the context of sustainable growth, after a change in the operating landscape.

Despite the name change, clients’ offer remains unchanged and the reinsurance company operates from its usual premises.



Insurance in the Metaverse

Since Marck Zuckerberg has made metaverse one of his priorities, this technology has raised interest in diverse fields including the insurance sector. Let’s see how initiatives related to this virtual reality are progressively emerging within our industry.

What is a metaverse?

The metaverse is a virtual world that refers to a set of concepts such as virtual reality, augmented reality, extended reality or cyberspace. There is no clear definition, but Matthew Ball, CEO of the diversified holding company Epyllion wrote several essays on the subject. According to him, the metaverse is an “expansive network” of 3D simulations and persistent worlds, rendered in real-time and offering a continuous stream of identities, objects, histories, currencies, and permissions, which can be experienced by an unlimited number of users in an individual and synchronised manner. According to him, the digital worlds of the metaverse mix cyberspace, virtual reality, and the physical world and therefore do not exist in parallel with reality. Indeed, this new world allows individuals or companies to reinvent themselves in virtually.

Insurance compagnies taking the plunge

Today, more and more insurance companies are adopting a new strategy: developing insurance products in the metaverse. The aim is to offer users an immersive digital experience by creating virtual insurance policies. The metaverse thus constitutes an additional and innovative distribution channel for the companies’ products.

In 2024, the metaverse will be a market representing a business volume of 800 billion dollars according to Bloomberg Intelligence. This field therefore appears to be an investment, particularly for the insurance sector.

In February 2022, AXA France became the first French insurer to enter the metaverse by purchasing a parcel in The Sandbox, a virtual decentralised gaming platform. The objective is to create sharing spaces reserved for its talents and clients. Moreover, AXA has already immersed 1,500 employees in its virtual universe and is experimenting with HR and CSR issues. “For AXA, it is above all a discovery and learning process. Because, as a leader in insurance and a company focused on innovation, it is our responsibility to take part in these major technological advances in order to better support them in a learning process,” notes David Guillot de Suduiraut, Director of Transformation and Technology at AXA France.

The digital insurance platform Easyblue wants to position itself as a leader in metaverse issues. A round of financing has already enabled the development of a robot advisor and the objective is to digitalise the entire insurance environment for managers and also in the longer term for employees, self-employed workers, craftsmen, etc. with a digital ten-year guarantee formula.

Heungkuk Life Insurance, a subsidiary of the South Korean Taekwang Group, is the first life insurance company to join the Metaverse Alliance in August 2021. It has about 300 member companies, including Samsung Electronics, SK Telecom and Woori Bank.

Uno Re (Estonia) is the first decentralised insurance and reinsurance platform. It allows the IT community to invest, trade risks and receive a return on investment.


New risks emergence

As a result of the increase in access to virtual reality, new risks related to data security and health are emerging. To address these, banks and insurance companies are developing innovative services to guide individuals and businesses. Being a user of the metaverse means using an avatar that corresponds to one’s own identity, to one’s physical representation in the real world. Consequently, one of the new risks to be taken into consideration would be identity theft, either in order to access the victim’s credits or to usurp an avatar and pretend to be someone else in the virtual world with all the consequences that this entails.

In this dematerialised world, the insurer can compensate its client for all types of immaterial losses such as the crypto-currencies used by the avatars, the game currencies (V-Bucks in the game Fortnite), the tools used in games such as Minecraft, but also any virtual object that may suffer a loss. For example, this is the case for very rare virtual goods called “NFTs” (“Non-Fungible Tokens”). In addition, businesses, real estate, cars, health or virtual lives can also be damaged. In fact, an individual or a company that develops in the metaverse can take out an insurance policy adapted to their needs that will be granted according to the same criteria as in the real world.

François-Xavier Combe, founder of the digital insurance platform Easyblue, deciphers this major new challenge where all users will become guarantors of their virtual assets. “As with the Internet in its early days, there will undoubtedly be a ‘fare-west’ aspect at the start, and then regulation, which will involve protecting this property, via insurance in particular. Some people are already buying land in the metaverse, where virtual estate agents are present. Imagine that you build your own universe from this land: problems of material and intellectual property will arise. The emergence of an insurance principle is therefore necessary.”


The metaverse, the world of tomorrow?

According to Emmanuel Moyrand, founder of Insurtech in blockchain and member of the Board of Insurtech France, “The metaverse will be tomorrow’s market where we will insure the real (home and business and personal health and life) and the virtual (land, vehicles, avatars): going further than the Internet, the metaverse will replace it and will therefore be the place where tomorrow’s multi-channel digital customer experience will take place.”

In the next 5 years, a virtual parallel economy will be created where users can create, buy and sell goods. The meta-verse will bring a new dimension to our consumption habits by offering a new experience in terms of digital technology.

Several insurers have started to invest in the metaverse but it will take time before it truly revolutionises the sector.

Even if some insurers are taking their first steps into the virtual world, it will take some time before the metaverse starts a real revolution in the profession.


Sources :

Interview with Karel Verbeeck, Domain Director Mobility & Actuarial team at Belfius Insurance

This month, we have the privilege to get a (virtual) face-to-face with Karel Verbeeck, Domain Director Mobility & Actuarial team at Belfius Insurance. As a Senior Executive, he is responsible for driving forward all mobility products (car, travel, fleet, etc.) and the actuarial teams across all non-life products (pricing, monitoring, etc.) for the Belfius and DVV brand. Mobility is one of the trendiest topics within the industry so it is the perfect occasion for us to get Karel’s insights about that domain.

Hi Karel! Can you tell us about your career path?

Sure. In 2011, I started at KBC Insurance as an Actuary. I worked there for 2 years as an intern within the Non-Life Department. I did a bit of everything from pricing and reserving to Solvency II. After that internship, KBC offered me the opportunity to do a couple of projects within product development and beyond. After more than 5 years at KBC, I decided to take a step forward in my career by joining Boston Consulting Group (BCG) as a Strategy Consultant.


It’s unusual for an actuary to join one of the top three strategy consulting firms (McKinsey, Bain, or BCG). What did you learn during those four years at BCG?

First of all, it pushed me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to learn a new skill set. It requires deep diving in specific topics within a specific client context, while at the same time adopting a helicopter view. Besides, I had the opportunity to discover new industries like banking, and to broaden my expertise beyond product & pricing.


This experience also gave you the opportunity to work abroad. Can you tell us more? 

Indeed, I worked mainly in Benelux and UK. The insurance world in the UK and the Netherlands is typically more evolved, more digitalized and more price competitive. Compared to the Belgian market, those countries are ahead of us on a couple of dimensions. This experience enriched me, personally and professionally.


That leads us to Belfius…

Yes! I joined Belfius a year ago as Domain Director of Mobility, where I am managing the product team and the business analysts within mobility and the actuarial teams that are responsible for the pricing of non-life products and the optimization of our non-life portfolio.


What do you like most about your job at Belfius?

There is a very strong focus in Belfius on innovation and continuous improvements, ensuring we optimize our offerings to our customers. I strongly believe this is the right way to go. Besides, in the mobility domain, things are changing very fast and we must evolve at the same pace. For someone who likes change and development, I am at the right place!


The future of mobility is quite a hot topic today. What are the current and future challenges for all actuaries working on those products?

There are a couple of trends to be aware of.  First, on the short run, we see a clear move towards electric vehicles. What are the needs of their drivers? Also, the claims for those vehicles are quite different from what we are used to, clearly impacting the required pricing strategy.  

In addition, we see big changes in the way we mobilize ourselves, further accelerated by Covid-19 and the increased energy prices. Europe is not a front-runner here, whereas in the US, things have already shifted more. In the rural environments, I expect the car to remain the prime mode of transport for our daily activities. Conversely, in big cities, the uses are more and more varied.  In that case, your customers are not facing the same risks anymore, requiring insurers to rethink their business model. Also here, how does it impact the risks we are covering and the corresponding prices?

These are only a first selection of trends, I have not even started about the large amount of data cars generate nowadays, and the information and complexity it could bring to our price models.


As a director, how would you describe your management? What are the profiles you are looking for?

At this moment, my team is made up of 27 people. I believe it is important to build balanced team with a variety of skills, from project managers that get things done, to experts that deeply understand their area of expertise. In all cases, I prefer working with people that proactively take responsibility and have a positive, can-do mindset.

If I look at my management style, I try to avoid micromanagement as much as possible, as it is only counterproductive in the long run. I believe it is important to give people the freedom to build their expertise by themselves and have the confidence to come up with their own solutions. In my eyes, the job of a manager is to bring clarity and guidance on the general direction, coach the team and challenge the outcomes.


An experience during your career that has marked you the most?

My first experiences as a manager taught me the importance of keeping focus. We are living in a world where a lot of things are shifting, and nobody is 100% clear on what the future will look like. As a result, a lot of companies are facing multiple issues and tend to generate plenty of ideas to act upon opportunities.

More than ever, I try to keep myself and my teams focused on a couple of key priorities. Tackling 1000 topics at the same time is more likely to result in a lot of work, with often limited impact on the organizational goals.


A lesson learned during your career?

Always aim to be output-oriented. If you kick of a new project, block some time in your agenda to think up-front how the ideal solution would look like and what are the steps you need to take to get to this solution. Whether it is about determining a new price, creating a new value proposition, reviewing a process – it keeps you focused on the end-goal.


If you could change one thing about your job?

I would add a bit of travelling to other countries – always fun to see new places.


Let’s finish with our last signature question, the one we ask everyone to end an interview. Whether personal or professional: what would you like to do that you haven’t done yet?

Adopting a cat!

Funny Cats Pics | Facebook

Keeping Up With The Market – Jul/Aug 2022

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


Mergers and Acquisitions

AXA & Monument


Back in December 2021, AXA was announcing the selling of a part of its life insurance portoflio to Monument‘s Belgian subsidiary. The regulator approve this deal in early August. In terms of technical reserves, the deal involved €2.6 billion of technical reserves.

Previously, Monument had already bought similiar  portfolio in Belgium from Allianz Benelux, ABN AMORO Life Capital Belgium and Alpha Insurance. Also, the Bermuda-based insurer Monument acquired last year the company Integrale.


Appointed liquidator of former insurer Integrale last January, lawyer Nicholas Ouchinsky wishes the valuation of Integrale to make sure that there were no breaches of duty by Integrale’s former directors. To do so, he would like to appoint a panel of experts to analyse both Integrale and Monument Immo Management’s assets and liabilities.

On 1 september 2022, Integrale’s shareholders and bondholers received a notice to exhcange during two generale meetings at The Merode. This event might be stormy given that in April’s general meeting, the closing of the 2021 accounts did not happen given the tensions between former administrators and temporary administrators appointed by the NBB. Eventually, the provisional administrators did the closing which will be submitted to the vote of Integrale’s shareholders.



EU regulation: sustainable investment products


The EU issue a new regulation, based on MiFId and IDD directives, which came into force on 2 August 2022. From now on, banks, fund managers and insurers have to offer sustainable investment products. Federations representing the financial and insurance sectors welcome the objective of the text. Its implementation, however, will be complicated and time-consuming, according to Febelfin and Assuralia. However, Hein Lannoy – CEO of Assuralia, said: “This is the beginning of a very important evolution, which will have an impact on the whole society”, underlines Hein Lannoy, CEO of Assuralia.

Base on sustainability criteria, new customers will be able to choose between three product categories, based on sustainability criteria. The new scheme applies to new customers. Existing customers will receive this information when their profile is updated.

Despite this noble initiative, Assuralia & Febelfin mentioned several issues such as a “complex” and “incomplete” regulation. Indeed, the nomenclature for measuring the sustainability of investment products has not yet been established. “European regulations are moving at different speeds. This makes it difficult for insurers and financial institutions,” says Hein Lannoy, CEO of Assuralia.

The two federations also critic that lack of reliable data which makes insurers and bankers currently unable to assess the sustainability of a company accurately. “This data is either lacking or not yet available in sufficient numbers. Companies will only be required to report on their sustainability performance from 2023 onwards”, points out Karel Baert, CEO of Febelfin, in a joint statement by the two federations.


Second pillar insurance: tax reform

The Ministry of Finance (FPS Finance) plans to reform second pillar insurance. The main objective is to extend access to all employees and progessively cancel the preferential treatment of a capital payment compared to an annuity payment and another tax rate on the capital payment following the 80% rule.

According to De Tijd, Assuralia is apparently concerned about this new plan. The federation understands the desire for simplification but reminds that the second pillar requires trust. People set up their pension plans for the long term and therefore make an agreement with the tax authorities.



News of the market


Despite the current context regarding inflation, Ageas stays confident about the second semester. For the first time, the board decided that the company would pay interim dividend. This is part of Ageas’s strategy which aims at increasing dividend promise over the three years. Paying interim dividend allows them to reinforce this message to the shareholders who ask to distribute the available surplus capital.

CEO Hans de Cuyper confirms Ageas’s annual net profit target of one billion but agrees that it will require hard work given the inflation effect on the financial market. They expect to stabilize in Europe but less in the UK.

As for life insurance, the sales in China jumped by 35% during the second quarter. This is explained among other things by the lockdowns and long-term quarantines, especially in Shanghai.



Dashboard on investment fraud

One of the main missions of the Financal Services and Market Authority (FSMA) is to combat illegal activities in the financial investments field. Early July, the authority published its biannual dashboard on investment fraud and illegal offers. It provides statistics and an overview of the main trends . this first edition highlights several elements for the first half of the year 2022:

  • 159 warnings against fraudulent entities and 169 websites have been issued by the authority since January 2022
  • 63% of the victims who reach out the FSMA are men, mostly around 50 years old
  • 47% or the consumers asked questions about a potential provider and 53% complained about a player they invested with in the last 12 months
  • the main fraud phenomenon is fraudulent trading platforms

Find more information about this dashboard here.

Sub-agent in training

In its July’s newsletter , the FSMA explained the new status of “sub-agent in training” which has been a possibility since 1 January 2022.

This status enables a “sub-agent in training” to start an insurance or reinsurance intermediation activity under that status of a self-employed person. To obtain this status, the applicant should meet all registration conditions and theoretical knowledge requirements. The relating condition to 6 months of relevant practical experience is not mandatory to access the status, but the sub-agent must acquire this experience under the enhanced supervision of an (re)insurance broker or agent.



Appointments Belgium – Jul/Aug 2022

Who are the most recently appointed directors and C-levels? This summer has been quiet in terms of nominations.



Jean-Paul Servais © FSMA

The FSMA (Financial Services and Markets Authority) re-elected Jean-Paul Servais as Chairman of the European Regional Committee of the global organization IOSCO. On his way for another two-year term, Jean-Paul Servais has held this position since October 2014.

Founded in 1983, the IOSCO aims at promoting collaboration between market supervisors and developing international standards as well as best practices. The organization counts 130 partners that are supervisory authorities across 115 countries, which represent 95% of the global financial sector. Organized in 4 regional committees, the IOSCO comprises the European Regional Committee which is composed by 51 European members.


Belfius Insurance

Daniela Rizzo & Matthias Baillieul © Belfius

Belfius has strengthened its Management Committee by appointing Daniela Rizzo and Matthias Baillieul.

Daniela Rizzo is the new Executive Director Non-Life. She has occupied for years several senior management positions in retail and life insurance for both Belfius Bank and Belfius Insurance.

As for Matthias Baillieul, he now endorses the role of CFO. Former lawyer, he has many years of experience in various financial areas at Belfius Bank.


LLoyd’s Europe

Bertrand Heugues © Linkedin

Lloyd’s Europe, the Brussels-based European subsidiary of Lloyd’s of London, has hired Bertrand Heugues, as its new Chief Underwriting Officer (CUO).

Before joining Lloyd’s Europe, he was Ageas Brussels’ Global Head of Pricing. Among his professional experiences, he started his career in 2005 at AXA and also worked for the broker March as well as Generali.