Keeping up with the market – February 2022

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

Mergers & Buy-out

Allianz & European Reliance

 

German insurer Allianz announced having signed a share purchase agreement (SPA) to buy 72% of the leading Greek insurer European Reliance. The deal is worth €223m in gross written premiums (GWP). For this acquisition, Allianz will pay 7.80€ per share, which means around €207m to acquire European Reliance’s outstanding shares.

Once the transaction completed, European Reliance (network of 110 branches and 5,667 agents), when combined with the Greek entity Allianz Hellas, will become the leading P&C insurance company as well as the fifth largest insurance company in Greece.

 

AXA & HSBC

  

Insurer AXA completed the sale of its Singapore insurance operations to HSBC for around $530m. This is part of AXA’s strategy to “focus on (its) core markets” like Gordon Watson, CEO of AXA Asia & Africa, previously mentioned. In August 2021, the group explained that this transaction would generate a negative impact on its net income of “approximately €160m in the 2021 financial results”.

Surendra Rosha, Co-CEO, Asia-Pacific at HSBC, commented: “Our acquisition of AXA Singapore significantly boosts our ability, as an Asia-centric bank, to serve the wealth and protection needs of people in this dynamic region, and to further execute on our strategy of being Asia’s leading wealth manager.”

 

Ageas & AXA

 

Ageas UK announced that its UK subsidiary Ageas UK Ltd has reached an agreement with AXA Insurance UK to sell its renewal rights for commercial business. Ageas UK, subsidiary of Belgian insurer Ageas, said the sale is aligned with its strategy to focus on growing its intermediated personal lines business. The renewals transfer to AXA will take place in July 2022.

“The sale of our commercial lines business is an important step in our strategy to focus on growing our heartland of intermediated personal lines business, particularly where it’s traded electronically,” commented Ant Middle, CEO at Ageas UK. “While we’ve modestly grown in commercial lines over the last couple of years, our focus is now elsewhere.”

 

NN group and ABN AMRO Bank

 

NN Group, ABN AMRO Bank and their joint venture ABN AMRO Verzekeringen (AAV) reached an agreement to sell AAV’s life insurance subsidiary to Nationale-Nederlanden Levensverzekering Maatschappij N.V. (NN Life & Pensions).

“Following this transaction, AAV will continue as a non-life insurer and intermediary, which is an important strategic step for AAV. AAV is well placed in the market combining expertise and suitable insurance products.”, said Frans van der Horst, acting Chief Commercial Officer Personal & Business Banking ABN AMRO.

 

Partnership and Products

AABL & ACA

 

In Luxembourg, the two independent professional associations AABL (Association of Banks and Bankers Luxembourg) and ACA (Luxembourg Insurance and Reinsurance Association) decided to strengthen their cooperation and join forces on certain matters with common positions.

For instance, they plan to expand the portfolio of the existing representative office of AABL and ALFI (Luxembourg Association of Investment Funds) in Brussels. From now on, it will thus include insurance and reinsurance matters at European level. Also, the ABBL and Aca will also “deepen their already close cooperation to have a structured approach” to employer representation.

 

Beazley & Gaia

Insurer Beazley decided to team up with the health-focused insurtech Gaia to provide a new coverage for individuals resorting to IVF treatment. Beazley will be leading the product and Chaucer will also provide additional support. Initially available in the UK, the product covers eligible Gaia members for their treatment fees if the IVF treatment program is not successful. There is also a fund offered to policyholders to pay counseling costs.

 “The Gaia proposition is unique because it represents the embedded digital distribution of a completely new type of insurance product. The Gaia solution also caters for a market that is set to grow exponentially in the coming years as fertility levels continue to decline globally,” commented George Beattie, head of Incubation Underwriting at Beazley.

 

Qover, Rewire & AIG

   

FinTech startup Rewire, which is developing an online financial services platform for expats, has partnered with Qover and insurer AIG to protect its customers in the event of an accident at no extra cost. For five years now, Israeli fintech Rewire has been marketing itself as a neobank for migrants and expats who would find it difficult to obtain banking services through traditional channels.

The result of this collaboration is the new integrated accident insurance, which covers Rewire’s customers with free subscriptions in eighteen European countries.

 

News of the market

Artificial intelligence and insurance

New financial technologies are strongly transforming the insurance sector. The emergence of new artificial intelligence and megadata tools allow the optimization of contract individualization.

Since the arrival of fintech 10 years ago, new insurance stakeholders have been designing new tools to evaluate risk and optimal contracts as accurately as possible, on an individualized basis and in real time. Above all, insurtech is the analysis of data, mostly collected through smartphones.

For instance, the UK insurer Vitality is one step ahead and offers to calculate insurance based on participation in fitness sessions, or the number of steps taken each day on average. Customers can earn points based on a transparent scale: 12,500 steps taken each day earn eight points. The company also signed partnerships with several brands (Apple Watch, Fitbit, Nike, etc.) to offer consumers significant discounts.

Indeed, all these news tools imply trust in the thorough personal data exploitation and obviously raise questions from an ethical point of view.

 

Catnat: PTB and insurer’s intervention ceiling

The PTB (Belgian Labor Party) wants to abolish the intervention ceiling of insurers. The party discussed its bill at the Economic Commission. According to the PTB, “the cap on compensation is justified by the following argument: by limiting the risk for insurers, we prevent the increase of premiums for the insured…However, since this summer, several actors of the insurance sector have indicated a future increase”.

Pierre-Yves Dermagne (PS), Federal Minister of Economy and Employment disagrees and declared that “removing the ceiling is not a solution. It would make the price of premiums explode”.

 

Assuralia : the « Right to be forgotten » comes into force

Since 1 February 2022, the “right to be forgotten” has been introduced for all new guaranteed income insurance, in compliance with a code of conduct adopted in 2021. This restrictive measure prevent all insurance companies that are members of Assuralia from taking into account as a reason for exclusion or application of an additional premium a cancer pathology for which successful treatment was completed more than ten years ago, provided that a number of conditions are met.

As a pioneer, Belgium is the first country to introduce the right to be forgotten for guaranteed income insurance. This is a major step forward for the thousands of people who have recovered from cancer. It is even more important for self-employed people with limited possibilities in terms of guaranteed salary.

 

Allianz is the world’s strongest insurance brand

Allianz is number 30 in the BrandFinance Global 500 ranking of the world’s most valuable brands. This makes Allianz the number 1 insurance brand operating globally. The brand value increased by 12% to € 30.98 b.

 

 

Sources:

News Assurances Pro, Grèce : Allianz met la main sur European Reliance

News Assurances Pro, Cession : AXA a vendu à HSBC ses activités d’assurance à Singapour

Assuropolis, Ageas vend son portefeuille d’assurance entreprise à AXA

Insurance Journal, AXA Insurance UK Buys Ageas UK’s Commercial Business Renewal Rights

Reinsurance News, NN Group and ABN AMRO Bank sell off life insurance subsidiary

Paperjam Luxembourg, L’AABL et l’ACA renforcent leur coopération

Insurance Journal, Insurer Beazley partners with insurtech Gaia to offer coverage for IVF treatment

Assuropolis, Qover lance une assurance pour les expatriés et les migrants

L’Echo, L’intelligence artificielle et les mégadonnées au service des assureurs

Assuropolis, Catnat : PTB veut supprimer le plafond d’intervention des assureurs

Assuropolis, Assuralia : entrée en vigueur le 1er février du « droit à l’oubli » pour toute nouvelle assurance revenu garanti

Assuropolis, Allianz est la marque d’assurance la plus forte au monde selon le classement BrandFinance Global 500