Insurance Europe's 10th International Conference: Main conclusions

Insurance Europe's 10th International Conference, taking place today, 24 May, in Madrid, Spain, focuses on "Overcoming underinsurance" and gathers insurance professionals and representatives of authorities from all over Europe.

Protection gaps undermine the economic resilience of individuals and businesses in both developed and developing countries. They take many forms, including inadequate retirement saving, insufficient mitigation of natural or man-made catastrophes and vulnerability in the event of cyber-attacks. The 10th International Conference organized by Insurance Europe - the European insurance and reinsurance federation, will look at the causes of protection gaps and investigate innovative ways to close them.

Keynote speakers include Professor Karel Van HULLE, Catholic University Leuven, Belgium and Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany, Pilar Gonzalez de FRUTOS,

President, Spanish Association of Insurers (UNESPA), Rafael Catala POLO, Minister of Justice, Spain, Andreas BRANDSTETTER, Chairman & CEO, UNIQA Insurance Group, Austria, Burkhard BALZ MEP, and Antonio HUERTAS, Chairman & CEO, MAPFRE.

Throughout the day, during break-out sessions and interactive panels, the participants will be invited to join the debates focusing on various topics, such as:
  • Including the excluded — financial inclusion & microinsurance
  • Not such a disaster — mitigating natural catastrophes
  • Back to school — ways to improve financial education
  • Insurance against natural catastrophes
  • Grey matters — tackling the pension timebomb
  • Cyber risks — needed by many, bought by few
Pilar Gonzalez de FRUTOS, President, UNESPA-Spanish Insurers' Association
  • The Spanish insurance market is the 6th biggest in Europe
  • Currently, the insurance density is 670 EUR for life and 675 for non-life products
  • Underinsurance is a synonym for underdevelopment
  • There is an obvious consensus that the pace of world economic growth has steeply accelerated in the last two hundred years
Rafael Catala POLO, Minister of Justice, Spain
  • The last four decades have been the longest period of prosperity in Spain's history
  • The insurance industry represents 1,5% of the global insurance market
  • Currently there are 50.000 direct jobs in the sector.
  • 88% of the markets' capital is local
  • The future is tied to innovation

Andreas BRANDSTETTER, President, Insurance Europe; Chairman & CEO, UNIQA Insurance Group
  • I am deeply honoured to serve as President of Insurance Europe for the next 3 years
  • We have to manage our insurance world but also to look into the future at the same time. This industry is very important for the development of the European society.
  • Our world is changing. Improvements have been made in many areas. But, old risks are evolving and new risks are emerging
  • Underinsurance describes the gap of protection which people should have and the one that they actually have in their daily lives.
  • Pensions gaps are increasing. In 2070, 2 working persons will have to support a retired one (as opposed to 4 in 2010). Throughout the world, governments face a huge challenge in providing funds for retired citizens.
  • Out of 330 bil. USD total losses due to natural catastrophes in 2017, only 135 bil. USD represented insured losses, according to MUNICH Re
  • We have a huge responsibility to manage climate change and cyber risks
  • A major cyber attach could costs at least 53 bil. USD (as much as the superstorm Sandy in 2012)

Burkhard BALZ MEP
  • Insurance world faces a period of different challenges. There are ongoing adjustments in the product portfolios that have to be managed properly
  • Underinsurance is a matter of increasing concern 
  • The review of Solvency II will cater for some small simplifications and improvements, but not change the overall structure of the directive
  • A major overhaul of ESAs is not necessary
  • The Pan-European Personal Pension Product offers an opportunity to address fragmentation. But, legislators must ensure that it offers competitive long-term guarantees, not just short-term life cycling.
Antonio HUERTAS, Chairman & CEO, MAPFRE
  • Insurance has a triple role in economic development: protecting against risk, our role as savings managers and stimulating capital in the economy, and financiers through our investments in debt
  • The insurance gap is life insurance is disconcerting.
Pilar del CASTILLO, MEP 
  • We are in a digital cosmos 
  • This effects how we must view our circumstances and how must we find solutions
  • We need to remember that the younger generation are different from us. 
  • Also, we cannot compare underinsurance in Europe with that in developing markets
Paulina DEJMEK HACK, Economic Adviser to President Juncker, European Commission
  • We are coming to an end for the current legislative cycle so you will see less new legislation being proposed
Monique GOYENS, Director general, BEUC
  • We are more and more dependent on connected devices
  • We need simpler insurance products not to educate the clients in understanding complicated ones

Manuel AGUILERA, General Manager, MAPFRE Economic Research
  • Poor education leaders to low financial literacy
  • Inadequate business model in order to reach out to certain levels of the population
  • They way in which insurance products are distributed are also a barrier
Recaredo ARIAS, Director General, Mexican Association of Insurance Companies (AMIS)
  • We need a better understanding of consumer needs
  • Consumer protection is extremely important, especially in microinsurance
  • We need to work together with government in public private partnerships - we have had good experiences in Mexico.
Dirk REINHARD, Vice-chairman, MUNICH Re Foundation, Germany
  • We are not discussing just about micro insurance but about risk management for a certain target market
  • Governments need to understand that there are more efficient solutions after catastrophe occurs than to walk around looking for money.



Nathalie BERGER, Head, insurance & pensions unit, Directorate-General for Financial Stability, Financial Services & Capital Markets Union (DG FISMA), European Commission
  • Our children may come to us one day and ask "What did you do?"
  • The pensions gap is estimated at 2 trillion EUR/year. This means that 2057 will need to save an additional 2 trillion EUR/year in order to achieve an adequate life after retirement
Gabriel BERNARDINO, Chairman, EIOPA-European Insurance & Occupational Pensions Authority
  • We all know that the current pension systems are not sustainable
  • There is no silver bullet but there needs to be action. We need to push for the development 2nd and 3rd Pillar Pensions
  • The UK example with auto-enrolment could be a good example for other countries. But such a system can only work where you have strong and transparent governance
  • We need more long-term thinking, especially in political decisions
  • I receive [complaints] letters from EU citizens that have contracts with pensions companies in certain countries [Romania, Hungary, Poland] and I need to respond that there is nothing I can do, because this is the responsibility of the state. No EU citizen understands this.
Lard FRIESE, Chairman & CEO, NN Group, Netherlands
  • We have a large gender gap in The Netherlands
  • A couple of years ago the Government organised a pensions debate
  • There are no easy solutions to the pensions challenge
  • People need to save more and start saving earlier. The money also needs to be managed well
Governor Dirk KEMPTHORN, President, Global Federation of Insurance Associations (GFIA); President & CEO, American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI)
  • This is not a hypothetical situation [the pensions gap]
  • Current pension systems around the world are not sustainable
  • On tackling the pensions challenge, even in a politically charged atmosphere, both sides can come together and say "This is good, let's do it"
Ricardo Rodriguez MARENGO, CEO, ProVida AFP, MetLife, Chile
  • The pension issue is really big in emerging markets too, as life expectancy grows, while birth rates decline
  • Some of our products are designed for people that change jobs 2-3 times. But young people work as freelancers, change jobs much more often - which means that we need to change our products
Javier VALLE, General Manager, VidaCaixa, Spain
  • Reforms will have to be done 
  • Spain has an 82% replacement rate for pensions but the country is ageing in a more accelerated way-
  • There is a strong demand for long-term savings products
  • We need to consider the potential of second pillar pensions to increase citizens' long-term savings and consider the impact of tax incentives for companies and employees.

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