Co-operative and mutual insurers have experienced a decade of growth since the 2008 financial crisis, according to a new report by the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF).
Launched on 26 February, the Global Mutual Market Share 10 report highlights that in the 10-year period since the onset of the financial crisis (2007- 2017), premium income of the global mutual and co-operative insurance sector grew 30% – compared to 17% for the total global insurance industry.
The report also reveals that the global market share of mutual and co-operative insurers rose from 24.0% in 2007 to 26.7% in 2017. The sector’s assets were worth USD 8.9tn (£6.70tn) in 2017.
In her foreword, Hilde Vernaillen, chair of ICMIF and chief executive of Belgian co-operative insurer P&V Assurances, said the financial crisis had helped to grow the sector.
“At this financially volatile time, as consumer trust, consumer spending and interest rates plummeted, the co-operative/mutual insurance sector began to emerge, even flourish, outperforming the insurance industry average and capturing more market share,” she wrote.
“Additional qualitative research carried out by ICMIF during this period suggests that this positive performance is linked to consumers’ preference for providers that can demonstrate characteristics most commonly associated with co-operatives and mutuals: trustworthiness, security and service excellence.”
Membership of mutual and co-operative insurance companies increased by 13% since 2012, with 922 million members and policy holders being served by the sector in 2017. The number of people employed by the sector also increased, reaching 1.16 million in 2017 – a 24% growth since 2007.
The report includes a detailed analysis of the premium income, assets, investments, number of employees and number of members/policyholders of over 5,100 mutual and co-operative insurance companies in 77 countries.
The top insurance markets in terms of mutual and co-operative market share are Austria (59.9%), Finland (56.2%), the Netherlands (55.9%), Slovakia (53.4%) and France (51.8%). Furthermore, mutual insurance had a significant presence (market share of 40% or more) in some of the world’s largest insurance markets, including the USA, Japan, France and Germany.
Ms Vernaillen also highlighted the importance of the Federation’s extensive research on the mutual and co-operative sector, adding: “The Global Mutual Market Share report is an important tool for ICMIF to hold evidence-based discussions about the socio-economic importance of mutual/co-operative insurers with legislators, regulators and policymakers.
“In emerging markets, where the lack of inclusive insurance impedes economic development, poverty reduction and disaster recovery, ICMIF continues its efforts to extend access to co-operative/mutual insurance. In developed markets, ICMIF and its members can make use of this report to make the case for due consideration and equitable treatment of the sector.”
Shaun Tarbuck, chief executive of ICMIF, said: “Now that we have reached the 10-year anniversary of the onset of the global financial crisis, it is hugely encouraging to see that the mutual and co-operative insurance sector is continuing to grow, and at a faster rate than the rest of the industry.
“The growth in market share is very positive, but equally so is the growth in membership numbers and the number of people employed by our sector. The mutual sector grew at a faster rate between 2007 and 2017 than the rest of the industry in Europe, North America, Latin America and Africa.
“Globally, over 5,100 mutual insurers collectively wrote USD 1.3tn (£0.98tn) in insurance premiums in 2017, the second highest level of premium volumes ever recorded by the mutual sector. Also, the mutual sector registered positive annual growth in nine of the previous 10 years since 2007.”