The cooperation between banks and insurance companies is nothing new – almost every fifth life insurance policy is now taken out through a bank. The digitization of this sales model creates completely new potential which, according to Friendsurance, is still used far too rarely. Insurtechs in particular could make a valuable contribution to realizing opportunities. To this end, the platform provider has determined which collaborations already exist.
Ghe banks and insurance companies are particularly close to one another in the area of old-age provision: life insurance or Riester pension contracts are popular options for saving and investing capital. Accordingly, the institutes entered into cooperation agreements with insurers many years ago, which enabled them to add corresponding products to their portfolios.
This form of cooperation – known as bancassurance – used to offer insurance companies an additional sales channel. In the branches, banks were able to present an extension of their own offering that was attractive to them, and life insurance products in particular shine with higher sales prices and commissions. The General Association of the German Insurance Industry reported that banks accounted for 18.6 percent of new life insurance business.
Fewer banking-related products lagged significantly behind: for property and casualty insurance it was only 5.1 percent and only 4.2 percent for health insurance. Overall, this sales channel is growing rapidly: According to a McKinsey analysis of 27 markets, Bancassurance recorded worldwide premium growth of 3.6 percent per year for life insurance and 5.3 percent for non-life insurance from 2012 to 2019.
Pressure towards digitization is increasing
In view of these growth rates, there seems to be little pressure to further develop the previous collaboration. There are solid reasons for this. Both bank branches and insurance brokers are therefore becoming less attractive for customers. They increasingly want to process their financial transactions digitally. A trend that developed before Corona, but is further intensified by the pandemic. The branch sales of insurance companies therefore reach their limits, as does the sale of investment products via the broker network. In addition, both sides are under high earnings pressure and need to improve their efficiency.
Accordingly, the cooperation partners should work harder to digitize bancassurance, says Tim Kunde, co-founder and managing director of Friendsurance. He also refers to the additional possibilities that result from the PSD2 directive: Insurers and other third-party providers are now able to access bank account data via standardized interfaces (APIs) if the customer authorizes them to do so.
Digital can do more
A better picture of the needs of the customer and the possibility of increasing the contact frequency with the help of personalized, relevant offers are just some of the advantages that result for insurers. Banks can integrate the offers into their own platforms, and customers gain convenience by being able to combine their financial transactions – with banks and insurance companies – and use attractive services here.
Intelligent algorithms could be used to identify insurance-relevant information from account movements and provide associated insurance documents. If the circumstances change, changes to policies may be necessary – for example, if there is an addition to the family. Corresponding advice could be triggered when a child benefit transfer is registered in the account for the first time.
The quick way to digital bancassurance
Even traditional offline bancassurance has a worldwide premium volume of 648 billion euros per year. The digital transformation of this business requires integrated solutions in which both banks and insurers are involved. But developing your own bancassurance platforms is often very time-consuming and costly.
“In our estimation, the potential of digital bancassurance is much greater if the enormous amount of data, high frequency of interaction and convenience from online and mobile banking are used to the full through sensible integrations.”
Tim Kunde, Friendsurance
For established banks and insurers, it is therefore a sensible alternative to work with Insurtech companies, according to the Friendsurance CEO. They had the technology, the digital know-how and the regulatory options to develop and implement digital bancassurance solutions in a short time and at a reasonable cost.
Different integration models possible
Friendsurance (Website) has registered a trend in the entire DACH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) since 2017 that the previous collaborations are being supplemented by Insurtechs: an insurance company as a product provider, a bank as a sales channel and a digital provider that provides the technical solution. Some providers provide white label platforms that can be seamlessly integrated into their own systems.
The company, founded in 2010, claims to be one of the providers that has been on the market the longest. Insurtech has already developed digital bancassurance platforms for several large banks and insurance companies, including Deutsche Bank and R + V Versicherung. Friendsurance is currently in the test phase with other partners from the top 10 German banks and insurance companies, says Tim Kunde. Equipped with both a broker and an agent license, Insurtech can offer various cooperation models. hj