Keeping up with the market – March 2022

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

 

Partnership and Products

Descartes Underwriting & Reask


The French parametric insurtech Descartes Underwriting has partnered up with Reask, a tropical-cyclone risk analytics firm based in Sydney. Their common goal is to expand the development of parametric cyclone insurance products. To that extent, Reask will provide Descartes with wind data that will be able to include new technology into their parametric insurance product design.
Another objective is to address the insurance protection gap by expanding global cyclone parametric coverage. Together both companies want to address the challenges inherent to natural catastrophe and climate change by sharing and obtaining accurate data.

 

News of the market

Oliver Wyman

Global leader in management consulting Oliver Wyman established its new office in Brussels to pursuits its European expansion. Steve Vermeylen, who was previously working at PwC, has been appointed Head of  Belgium at Oliver Wyman. He has a relevant experience in global consulting firms and carried out several strategic and operational projects across Europe, the US and the Middle East.

Opening the office in Brussels allows the company, which has been active in the Belgian market for over a decade, to address growing client needs and offer them full-service international capabilities. The new director Steven Vermeylen said: “With companies facing unprecedented challenges such as COVID-19 pandemic and climate-related crises, our new Brussels office will allow Oliver Wyman’s teams to remain even closer to clients and better assist them with their strategic and business needs globally.”

 

KBC

KBC wants to sell its anti-money laundering Artificial Intelligence (AI) and launches Discai to market its in-house developed anti-money laundering software. KBC targeted customers are banks but also insurers and fintechs.

Discai is the independent legal entity that will commercialize the technological solution to automate and optimize the detection of suspicious transactions. According to anti-money laundering regulations, banks have to implement devices to detect fraudulent transactions. As there are millions of transactions per day, they must rely on specialized software able to flag suspicious movements and collaborate with teams of specialized investigators.

Developed during two years, Discai allowed KBC to stand out by using artificial intelligence and more specifically deep learning, a process that influences the software to learn and improve itself. Indeed, the more data it ingests (i.e. transactions), the better it becomes.

 

AG Insurance

AG has opened its AG Campus. This project is a total renovation of the 1995 AG building’s first floor in Brussels city center. The renovated building is equipped with cutting-edge technology and AG adapted a new way of working by combining home-office and office working.

The campus is a brand new meeting and learning place for AG employees. It includes training rooms, meeting rooms, two auditoriums, a spacious lounge and open and closed work spaces to stimulates the workers. This AG Real Estate’s building is a model of sustainability in terms of people and environment with 1,500 m2 of additional green space.

 

Foyer

The group Foyer celebrates its centenary this year in 2022. Marc Lauer, the CEO of Foyer discussed the insurance market, which is one the company’s main challenges as it is subject to major transformation with the new types of risk and digitalization.

About the health crisis, Marc believes that it has “increased and improved [their] communication, especially remotely. In addition, the crisis has allowed for greater empowerment and autonomy of teams in the missions entrusted to them.” It also gave an enormous boost to ‘Digital Workplace’, an internal Foyer’s digitalization program that was already implemented throughout the company.

Regarding the future growth markets, Foyer’s clients are increasingly looking for ESG-compliant initiatives such as insurance products that promote green initiatives of savings products based on more sustainable funds. Finally, to face the climate change challenge, Marc Lauer mentioned that the pillars of Foyer’s strategy is “corporate social responsibility […]. In addition, to very concrete actions, such as installing solar panels or reducing [their] electricity or paper consumption, [they] are also committed to respecting ESG criteria in [their] investments.”

 

Euler Hermes < Allianz Trade

Credit insurer Euler Hermes, subsidiary of the Allianz Group is changing its brand name to Allianz Trade. This new step is part of the entity’s 2025 strategic plan and is considered by the group as a “natural move” as Euler Hermes has been fully part of the Allianz Group since 2018. World leader in trade credit insurance which operates in 52 countries, this brand new name will reinforce the subsidiary’s position as global player, benefitting even more from the reputation and strength of the Allianz Group.

Chris Townsend, member of the Board of Management of Allianz SE said: “We are very pleased to see Euler Hermes become Allianz Trade, and are convinced that this change will bring many benefits in terms of brand awareness, business development, growth and innovation. Allianz Trade is a unique, data and technology driven company of which we are very proud.”

 

Insurers and refugee host families 

According to the professional association of Belgian insurers Assuralia, insurers are providing help and advice to refugee host families. Since the ongoing war in Ukraine, a wave of solidarity emerged and many families have applied to host Ukrainian refugees in their homes.

As well concerned, insurers are showing support to their policyholders and contribute to the creation of a truly safe home. Assuralia is providing service to answer all those concerned who may have questions. In addition, insurers also want to properly inform potential host families who are planning to host refugees for a short or long period of time. For instance, if a refugee unintentionally cause damage to a third part, the family insurance will compensate the victim. Also, the car insurance covers the hosted refugees as long as the driver has a valid driver’s license.

 

The impact of natural catastrophes

According to Assuralia, natural disasters that occurred in 2021 costed 2.8 billion euros compared to 369 million euros in 2020. The insured losses alone caused by the floods amount to 2.6 billion euros. Belgium’s flood victims filed 70 000 claims and insurers so far have already paid 1 billion euros to them. More than 60% of the files have been administratively closed. As the extent of the damage may still be growing (e.g. buildings not completely dry), some cases are still open and counter-expertise is requested.

Nevertheless, Insurance Ombudsman, the Belgian intermediary between a customer and an insurance company, reported that they received 142 claims. Among these, 130 cases concern coverage against natural disasters in the context of fire insurance. The other claims mainly concern automobile insurance.

The vast majority of claims are directed against the insurance company itself. 54 cases concern a total or partial refusal of intervention, 49 cases concern the determination of the damage or the amount of the benefit, 29 cases concern management delays. The rest of the claims are varied and concern the damage assessment or the amount and involve cancellations, premium adjustments or questions about the broker’s professional competence.

From a market point of view, property and casualty insurance remains profitable in 2021, but the fire branch is showing a significant loss due to the severe floods in July (-21% of earned premiums).

 

Sources:

Olivier Wyman, Oliver Wyman launches office in Brussels to bolster continued European expansion and appoints Steven Vermeylen as head of Belgium

Insurance Journal, Insurtech Descartes partners with modeling firm Reask to expand parametric cover

L’écho, KBC veut vendre son IA anti-blanchiment à d’autres banques

Assuropolis, AG ouvre son campus

Paperjam, Marc Lauer pour les 100 ans de Foyer : « Que le Luxembourg reste propice à l’assurance »

News Assurance Pro, Assurance-Crédit: Euler Hermes devient Allianz Trade

Allianz SE, Euler Hermes is now Allianz Trade

Assuropolis, Les assureurs apportent aide et conseil aux familles d’accueil de réfugiés

Atlas Magazine, Les catastrophes naturelles en 2021 : coût élevé pour les assureurs belges

Assuropolis, Inondations : l’Ombudsman des assurances a reçu 130 plaintes

Assuropolis, Assuralia : tempêtes et inondations coûtent 2,8 milliards d’euros en 2021