Keeping up with the market – April 2021

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Acquisitions

AlliA acquires Nuytten

AlliA, Belgium’s second largest independent broker (commission income of more than 37 million euros), acquires the Nuytten brokerage group, adding 22 new employees (out of a total of 247). With this acquisition, AlliA considerably strengthens its position in the corporate market, as this acquisition will increase the premium income by more than 9% (to €445 million).

Allianz Benelux sells off a Belgian Life portfolio to Monument Re

Allianz Benelux has decided to sell a Belgian Life portfolio of around 90,000 policies that are part of its closed classical Life retail insurance book together with the covering assets including mortgages. Allianz will continue to manage the policies until 2022 to secure a safe and seamless transfer to Monument Re for its clients and brokers. The Belgian branch’s strategy is to focus on more modern Life insurance products with an attractive value proposition for Allianz Belgium’s customers. The market share of Allianz in the country remains unchanged at around 6%.

 

Insurtech fundraisings

Qover raises US$25M

The Belgian insurtech has raised $25M with Prime Ventures as lead investor, backed by Cathay Innovation. Anthemis and Alven, who had already taken part in former fundraisings, also participated in this funding round. This new investment brings the company’s total investment to $43M. As of now, Qover covers around a million of customers throughout Europe. This new financing should support an even more important growth, as the company announced a few months ago a newly signed partnership with the online bank Revolut.

Alan raises €185M

The French insurtech specialized in 100% digitalized Health insurance, has recently done a new fundraising, closing with a total of €185 million. At the moment, they offer an insurance cover to 160 000 clients, mainly through corporate insurance covers, their ambition is to reach a million of members. Alan launched its Belgian branch 6 month ago, with a team of around 20 employees, they have, so far, convinced 1 000 members. Jean-Charles Samuelian, co-founder of Alan, said “This a good start for Belgium. Our goal is to reach 10 000 members before the end of the year and 100 000 within 3 years”.

After Belgium, Alan is tackling Spain. The company will be present in 3 markets and it should quickly develop in new ones to reach its objectives. Alan is now valued at €1.4 billion.

 

Partnerships

AXA and Microsoft partner to create a new health and well-being platform

AXA has announced a new collaboration with Microsoft to deploy a digital healthcare platform providing access to an ecosystem of health services open to all. The range of services offered to the AXA customers will include a self-assessment and prevention tool, a medical concierge, a teleconsultation interface, a digital safe, homecare services (e.g. drug delivery) and a directory of healthcare professionals. In addition, the platform will enable the decompartmentalization of health services in order to improve research, treatment and prevention of diseases.

This service is already available in Germany and Italy, and will be developed in Belgium, Spain, Switzerland and the UK by 2022.

PwC supports a Belgian insurtech with its program “Scale FinTech”

PwC has launched the “Scale FinTech” program that aims at supporting fintechs to grow and fulfill their growth potential. PwC selected 10 startups, including 4 Belgian ones: Risk Concile (regtech), B.fine (reporting automation), FinFlag (back office solution for payments) and Penbox (digitalization).

Penbox is active in the insurance sector as it aims at simplifying insurance contracts with digitalized, simpler and clearer contract drafts. Their targeted audience are both insurers and brokers.

AXA works hand in hand with SpaceAble

The AXA group has announced a new partnership with the start-up SpaceAble, a French start-up specialized in « Space Situational Awareness ». The goal for AXA is to have a better view on how occupied the orbit is, and to better track the spatial congestion. This should allow AXA to refine its spatial insurance covers to insure satellite operators and other key players in the space sector.

 

Innovation and miscellaneous

AXA Switzerland allows its clients to pay in Bitcoin

AXA Switzerland wanted to offer more payments possibilities to its customers. Since one of their research showed that one third of their customers (aged 18 to 55) already owned cryptocurrencies or were willing to, they decided to offer the possibility to do financial transaction using crypto. The Swiss can now pay their Non-Life insurance premiums with Bitcoin ! This option is not available for Life insurance contracts for regulatory reasons.

The company has announced that they would convert their cryptocurrency into Swiss Francs, as they do not want to carry bitcoins on their balance sheets.

Z-Insurance will be broadcasted for a new season

Kanaal Z has announced a new season for the show “Z-Insurance”, part of the “Business communities” slot, focusing on specific markets. These interviews focusing each month on a specific topic, have been renewed for a new season. The broadcasting will start as from the beginning of May. Many various key players of the insurance spectrum in Belgium have announced their participation to the show: AG Insurance, Allianz, Arag, Architas, Athora, AXA, Baloise Insurance, Brocom, Euromex, IBIS, Le Foyer, Legal Village, NN, Portima and Vivium.

 

REGULATORY

DORA requirements for the insurance intermediary

With its proposal for a Digital Operational Resilience Regulation (DORA), the European Commission intends to harmonize legislation in this area, including the identification, mitigation and management of cyber risks and outsourcing and concentration risks, with the aim of establishing a common standard for the entire EU financial system. The law will apply to all financial entities, including credit institutions, payment institutions, (re)insurers and (re)insurance intermediaries, as well as third-party ICT service providers.

However, it appears that the requirements imposed by the DORA Regulation are not operationally and financially viable for the intermediary. The principle of proportionality contained therein is proving difficult to implement, and the proposal does not contain sufficient information on how proportionality would be achieved.

The current exemptions for microenterprises from certain DORA requirements are not sufficient.

BIPAR, the European federation of insurance intermediaries, to which BZB-Fedafin is also affiliated, is campaigning for insurance intermediaries to be exempted from these rules. BZB-Fedafin supports this action and has contacted the competent ministers to point out the considerable impact of this proposal on Belgian insurance intermediaries and to ask them to exclude them from the scope of the law. To be continued…

 

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