According to Insuramore’s global rankings, and with a combined total of USD 518 billion (up from USD 493 billion in 2018), the top 100 insurers owned by banking or postal service groups accounted for 8.1% of gross direct premiums written and related inflows worldwide across all types of insurance (i.e. life / annuity, health and P&C / non-life) in 2019. In descending order, the leading five groups by this measure were Crédit Agricole, BNP Paribas, Japan Post, Intesa Sanpaolo and Poste Italiane.
Overall, three of the top 100 such groups were headquartered in Africa or the Middle East, 34 in the Asia-Pacific region, two in Australasia, 43 in Europe, ten in Latin America and six in North America. In spite the vast size of the domestic US insurance market, only two US-based groups featured in the top 100, namely Citigroup (ranked 55th, thanks to its Citibanamex Seguros operation in Mexico) and Ally Financial (ranked 85th). Likewise, only two groups headquartered in the UK made the top 100: these were HSBC (in 13th position) and Lloyds Banking Group (ranked 12th).
Note that insurers owned by banking or postal service groups are defined by Insuramore as ones in which those groups own 50.1% or more of the insurer’s equity. Because of this definition, the premiums of banking or postal service groups that own stakes of less than 50.1% in insurers do not feature in this analysis unless the combined share of multiple shareholder banks or postal service groups comes to more than this percentage. Hence, IndiaFirst Life (as an example) is included as Bank of Baroda and Union Bank of India collectively own more than 50.1% of its share capital while Santander and UniCredit (as further examples) are
excluded as the stakes of these banking groups in insurers are below this threshold and are likely instead to be consolidated in the accounts of their insurer joint venture partners.
Since the global financial crisis of more than a decade ago, there has been a general trend for banking groups to divest entirely or sell off stakes in their insurance underwriting operations, especially where considered subscale, and often in order to shore up their balance sheets. To an extent, this trend is likely to continue with several groups in the top 100 known to be exploring such options at the time of this press release. Furthermore, in the case of three of Turkey’s state-owned banking groups (Halkbank, VakifBank and Ziraatbank), their insurance subsidiaries were bought out by the country’s wealth fund (TWF) in 2020 in order to consolidate them into Turkiye Sigorta, a new state-owned insurance group.
However, the bancassurance model continues to thrive in many countries and some banking and postal service groups have been bolstering their insurance activities through selected acquisitions. For example, during 2020, South Korea’s Hana Financial acquired control of The-K Non-Life Insurance while Italy’s Intesa
Sanpaolo did likewise with health insurer RBS Salute. Moreover, Brazil’s Caixa Econômica Federal was in the process of re-organizing its bancassurance interests through increasing the equity stakes held in its joint ventures with CNP, Icatu and Tokio Marine, while La Banque Postale became the majority shareholder in CNP
Assurances, an event that will propel it into the top five of the global ranking for 2020.