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Greece at the bottom of European issuance market

19 October 2014 / 20:10:42  GRReporter
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Greece scores pretty low in terms of private insurance as shown by comparative data of 32 European countries placing the country far below average levels.

According to a survey carried out by the Greek Insurance Companies Association, Greek issuance premiums amounted to 2.2% of GDP for 2013. This value was roughly the same in 2008 when the country's GDP surpassed that of 2013 by at least €50 billion; in 2012 this percentage was 2.7. At the same time, the average European GDP share of insurance is 7.69%.

The Association's 2013 statistics clearly show customers walking away from insurance networks comprising companies and independent agents and developoing a preference for bank desks and the WWW.

In more specific terms, life assurance in 2013 seems to be declining due to the economic crisis by 14.1% to €1.6 billion. This amount is allocated into individual contracts (€899 million), group contracts (€266 million), investment insurance (€240.7 million), health insurance (€75.7 million) and group retirement insurance (€132.5 million).

In life insurance, 46% comes from insurance consultants, 15% from agents, 10% from direct sales (through Internet, call centres or direct mail) and 29% from banks (bancassurance).

Other data from the same survey show an increasing penetration of banks into the insurance sector.

For instance, in terms of new personal life insurance contracts, the share of bancassurance has reached 58% for 2013 whereas the shares of insurance consultants and agents have shrunk to 31% and 10%, respectively. As far as active individual contracts prior to 2013 are concerned, bancassurance only took up 18% of them (while insurance networks boasted 64% and the agents – 17%).

The survey's analyses claim that the trend for growth in bancassurance is rather visible, and its consolidation might be confirmed or otherwise only by comparison with data for 2014.

Bancassurance importantly enjoyed 39% of group life insurance while direct sales (through internet or call-centers) had 25% of it. Banks have performed even stronger in investment-related life insurance.

86% of issuance contracts were single-premium, and only 14% were multiple-premium.

Banks accounted for 84% of the 2013 value of new single-premium investment-related contracts (against only 4% for pre-2013 ones) and for 74% of new multiple-premium ones.

Even though the survey only covers 2013, insurance pundits claim bancassurance has seen another steady rise in 2014. Here is some evidence:

  1. good financial performance for the first six months among insurance companies affiliated to banks;
  2. banks’ emphasis on investment-related life insurance contracts offering guaranteed minimum annual return in times of declining interest on fixed-term deposits

These trends might seriously hurt the acquisition price of insurance companies on the one hand, and on the other, reduce volumes of insurance networks (both dependent and independent), which might be pushed to offer ever more sophisticated insurance coverage.

Tags: insurance market life insurance insurance culture
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