Insurance industry: what’s new?

By Benjamin Sauge
According to Fitch — a global ratings agency — high inflation and low household incomes have constrained the development of the life insurance segment in Iran. The rating agency also declared that the Iranian insurance sector was expected to grow 15% a year in the next five years. This prediction has been made even though the lack of access of insurers to foreign capital and expertise represented an impediment to substantial growth of the non-life segment. Moreover, the possible consequences of the US pullout from the nuclear deal in May 2018 have not be considered here, while Fitch couldn’t anticipate them.
According to the forecasts by Swiss Re Group — leading reinsurance company — China’s life insurance sector is expected to see its growth premium rebound in both 2019 and 2020. In the coming two years, the sector should get a growth rate of about 10%. This is not only due to the steady economic growth, but it is also linked with a weakening effect of previous tougher regulatory policy for investment-linked insurance products.
With the current context between the UK and the European Union, insurance sector could be impacted. Indeed, if the Brexit deal were to be canceled, health insurance premiums could soar for UK citizens who need cover for holidays or work in the EU. Moreover, major changes would also be implied by the changes in terms of policy concerning social security and pensions in the UK. The strategy of the large insurance groups will also be redesign with Brexit, regarding their position and products in the UK. As a matter of fact, while the UK has taken steps to ensure that UK customers of EU insurers will hold valid contracts no matter what, a reciprocal step is yet to be taken by the EU as a whole. The latest Bank of England estimate shows that nine million policyholders in the EEA remain at risk.
The insurance division of the Société Générale group acquired the shares that InfraVia — investment fund specialized in infrastructures — held in Régaz, the first independent gas distributor in France. Régaz controls a grid of 3,315 kilometers and 210,000 delivery points. InfraVia had been advised by both Natixis bank and Bird & Bird law firm. For Société Générale Insurance, this operation falls within the framework of diversification, in order to boost its local economic development, and to extend its infrastructures in France and Europe.

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