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The insurance market in Italy, Japan and Poland

The international growth of Crédit Agricole Assurances, now present in no fewer than nine countries, is being driven by the development of a comprehensive range that is adapted to the specific features of each national market. Here we present a focus on the life, general and creditor insurance markets in three of these countries: Italy, Japan and Poland.

The insurance market in Italy, Japan and Poland

The strategy behind the internationalisation of Crédit Agricole Assurances since 2006 has been to capitalise on the success of the bank insurance model developed by the Crédit Agricole Group in France and export it. The transmission of this know-how has driven the creation of a comprehensive, innovative range of products that are adapted to the specifics of each national market, while the new products and solutions developed in one country can then be applied to other markets.

The insurance market in Italy

Italy is the Group’s second-biggest domestic market and the Crédit Agricole Assurances life insurance entity there (CA Vita, formerly Po Vita) celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2015. It is a market with one important stand-out feature: Italians are under-insured on the whole in personal risk and general insurance, while insurance accounts for just 14% of their savings, as taxation rules do not favour savings in the form of insurance for personal risk or pensions. In 2014, the insurance market penetration rate in Italy (amount of insurance premiums as a proportion of national GDP) ranked the country in 12th place in the world. 

74%
The Life insurance market (excluding pensions) represented 74% of the national insurance market at the end of H1 2015. The bank insurance channel represents the large majority of premium collection, and is very much concentrated on traditional products. Unit-linked and investment-linked products are on the rise, however. Life protection products (temporary insurance in the event of death or illness) represent only a marginal proportion of premium collection, meanwhile.

General insurance, meanwhile, represented just 18% of the national market at the end of H1 2015. The market in Italy is highly concentrated, with the top 5 insurance groups (agent networks) taking some 70% of the premiums collected in General insurance (against only 7% for bank insurance). The general insurance entity of Crédit Agricole Assurances, Crédit Agricole Assicurazioni, was set up in Italy in 2008. Car insurance is strictly regulated in Italy and represents over half of the General insurance market all on its own. One particular feature worthy of note is that the proportion of cars equipped with a telematics device linked with car insurance is high (12% in 2015). More generally, Italy is currently the N°1 market for connected insurance in Europe based on the number of policies.

Italian families do not show much of a tendency to insure anything other than their car, and just one-quarter of property owners have taken out Home insurance (against 99% of owners in France). It should also be noted that the proportion of uninsured vehicles is estimated to be 6%.

In the light of all this, what are the prospects for bank insurance in Italy? It is growing more quickly than the market as a whole and continuing to gain market share. The General and Personal Risk branches have considerable growth potential. 

Creditor Insurance, a specific market in that it encompasses both life and general insurance, is represented at Crédit Agricole Assurances by Crédit Agricole Creditor Insurance (CACI). The Italian market is increasingly strictly regulated, but has been buoyed since the end of 2014 by the upturn in lending to households. 

Italian Insurance Market by Branch and Distribution Channel

 Premium CollectionDistribution Channel
Life Branch74%

49% Bank insurance

13% Promoters

12% Agents

General Branch18%

1% Bank insurance

16% Promoters

1% Agents

Pensions Branch8% 

Source: IAMA – H12015 

The insurance market in Japan

By volume, Japan remains the world’s N°2 insurance market behind the United States, although China is currently catching up. In 2014, Japan ranked 7th in the world in terms of its insurance penetration rate. Crédit Agricole Life Japan, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Crédit Agricole Assurances Group, was created in 2007.

78%
The Life insurance branch represented 78% of the total amount of insurance premiums in 2014. Due to the very low exchange rate of the Yen, the Japanese invest heavily in savings products in foreign currency. It should be noted that the integrated bank insurance model like that we have in France does not exist in Japan.

General insurance, meanwhile, represented just 22% of the total amount of premiums, although it is a market with some particular features. For example, Japan is the third-biggest market in the world for Pet insurance (dogs and cats), just behind the UK and US. Bicycle insurance is also widely developed there, and there is also the possibility to take out Car insurance by the day, in particular for young drivers.

Another local particularity is that “hole-in-one” insurance is very popular among golfers because when a player is talented enough to pull off such an exploit, he or she is expected to invite all their friends for a big party, the cost of which can be every bit as stunning as the golfing feat itself!

Concerning Creditor insurance, the Japanese market has a number of specific policies to cover so-called “aggravated risks” linked to age or to diseases such as cancer. Many Japanese people also take out cover for cancer and serious diseases with additional services (a second medical opinion in the event of a cancer diagnosis, assistance in consulting physicians abroad, etc.).

The insurance market in Poland

The Polish market is the biggest in Central Europe after Russia. In terms of penetration rate, it ranked in 46th position in the world in 2014.

Thanks to its dynamic economy, however, the Polish insurance market boasts strong growth potential, although its Life insurance market contracted sharply in 2014 and 2015 further to the abolition of certain tax incentives in 2014. Bank insurance is the biggest premium collection channel. Crédit Agricole Life Insurance Europe, a Crédit Agricole Assurances subsidiary, is present on the life insurance market in Poland.

The General insurance market is not particularly well developed for the moment and is mainly made up of Car insurance, a market that is currently in the throes of a genuine price war.

Crédit Agricole Assurances is already present in the personal risk and savings segments and launched a general insurance entity at the end of 2014.

There is a market for Creditor insurance in Poland, which is being driven by growth in lending, although it was under pressure from the regulator in 2015. 

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