Troubled first semester for the insurance industry: Only three insurers have seen a raise in their revenues this year. Who are they?

Now that insurance groups have started to share their financial results for the first semester of 2020, the time has come to look back on this troubled first half of the year.

Due to the Covid-19 crisis and the lockdown, most companies have seen a down in their results compared to the same period last year. Out of all the groups that published their financial results, only three have seen a raise in their revenues.


Overall we can observe that the Non-Life premiums and operating results raised due to the drop in sinistrality during the lockdown, while the premiums written for Life insurance have dropped. The bank-insurers have also quite suffered on the bank activities, while the insurance activities did not suffer as much and compensated or alleviated the effects of the lockdown. The bank activities were impacted by several factors: the investments were impacted by the economic turmoil created by the uncertainty, and consequently there was a decrease of the investment and net fee commissions. Furthermore, between the tightening of conditions to access a mortgage credit and the covid19, which logically slowed down real estate purchases, incomes from financial transactions decreased for banks, while many of them allowed their clients to suspend or reduce monthly payments due to a partial or total loss of income, further aggravating the impact of the pandemic on their income.



The international insurance group has communicated a raise in their net result: for the first half of 2020 they generated €791 million while for 2019 they reached €606 million. The Belgian group witnessed a down in the gross Life premiums written but it was compensated by the Non-Life thanks to the drop of sinistrality during the lockdown. The Belgian entity, AG Insurance has not yet published its half-year results, we have yet to see how impacted the leader of the insurance market in Belgium was.


The Swiss group has announced a raise on the EBIT of the Belgian branch of 46,6% (2020: CHF105,1 million; 2019: CHF71,7 million). The gross premiums written for Life are up by 12,4% and the Non-Life are up by 24,8%. The latest result is explained by 2 factors: the decrease of sinistrality during the lockdown, and the acquisition of Fidea and of the Non-Life portfolio of Athora Belgium.


For this first semester of 2020, the bank-insurer has published a consolidated turnover of €94 million, versus €77 million for 2019. The net result is also going up compared to last year: €31 million for 2020 and €29 million for 2019. Their gross premium written for Life insurance rose by 22%, while for Non-Life, they rose by 5%.



The French group has published its semester results and at the group level, with their turnover of €52 billion, they lost 2% on their turnover compared to the first half of last year. The impact on their net result is that it dropped by 60,8%, going from €2,3 billion to €1.4 billion. The AXA group has estimated that the Covid-19 crisis and lockdown has cost them around €1,5 billion, most of it due to events cancellations and business interruptions claims. Given that those are the results at the group level, and that AXA was involved in several lawsuits regarding the business interruption claims in France, the Belgian entity might not be as impacted as the group level shows.


The bank-insurer has seen a drop in its net results for the first semester compared to last year: €1175 million for 2019 to €205 million for 2020. However, when looking on details, we can see that the insurance activities of the KBC group are going up. Indeed, the Non-Life technical result raised by 27% while the Life technical result raised by 1%. As many bank-insurers, it is the bank results that suffered the most during this period.


The bank-insurer Belfius has also been negatively impacted by the lockdown and the uncertainty on the financial markets due to the pandemic. The net result at the group level dropped from €414 million for the 1st semester of 2019 to €26 million for 2020. Meanwhile for the insurance activities specifically, the group has announced a net result of €89 million versus €126 million for the same period last year. When looking more in details we can see that the total amount of gross premiums written for Life insurance lowered by 33% while for the Non-Life the raised by 43%.


The Benelux entity of the German group has seen a drop in their net result: from € 111,6 million to €97,7 million. Mainly due to the Luxemburgish portfolio, the gross premiums written in Life insurance are down by 27,6% while the Non-Life premium are up by 3,5%.


For this first half of the year, the NN group has published a drop of 47,5% on their net result (2020: €587 million, 2019: €1118 million). However, the impact on their European insurance portfolio is lesser important, indeed, they witnessed a down of 5,1% of their results in insurance in Europe (2020: €133 million; 2019: €140 million).

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