- Insurers in Norway no longer rely on traditional distribution channels, such as agents and brokers, as alternate channels such as direct marketing, e-commerce and mobile evolved at lower costs over 2009-2013
- Emerging competition in the segment has forced insurers to look up alternative methods to drive sales and customer convenience, while keeping costs low and maintaining profitability
- Bancassurance was the most popular and widely used distribution channel in the life insurance segment. The number of policies sold through bancassurance increased during 2009-2013, from 312,540 in 2009 to 342,686 in 2013
- Insurance brokers from the European Economic Area (EEA) are permitted to operate in Norway without any regulatory requirements, which increases competition
- Norwegian legislation prohibits brokers from receiving commission from the insurance companies directly. However, the number of policies sold through brokers rose from 17,058 in 2009 to 24,461 in 2013
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- E-commerce evolved as the fastest-growing distribution channel during 2009-2013. The number of policies sold online increased from 15,528 in 2009 to 19,818 in 2013
- This was made possible by the country’s internet connectivity. Moreover, over 95% of the population owns a mobile phone, enabling insurers to reach potential consumers through e-commerce
- The traditional method of direct marketing was also used by most insurance companies as a means of saving costs
- The number of policies sold by direct marketing increased from 22,487 in 2009 to 28,661 in 2013
- Brokers are the main distribution channel for Swedish life insurers and the new business gross written premium generated through this channel increased from SEK12.8bn ($1.5bn) in 2009 to SEK13.4bn in 2013.
- Leading global brokers operating in Sweden include Söderberg & Partners, Willis and Brim. Brokers were followed by the e-commerce channel, which accounted for 28.3% of the new business gross written premium in 2013. Sweden had the highest rate of internet penetration in the EU, followed by Denmark, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
- The channel’s success was primarily due to high internet penetration, which stood at 94.8% of the population in 2013
- When purchasing life products, Swedes value the trust placed in specific life insurers and their existing relationships with them.
- Coupled with relatively low associated costs, this helped the direct marketing channel record an 18.1% share of the segment’s gross written premium from new business in 2013, increasing from SEK6.6bn in 2009 to SEK8.5bn in 2013
- The new business gross written premium collected through bancassurance increased from SEK4.7bn in 2009 to SEK5.5bn in 2013
- Agencies accounted for 1.8% of the life segment’s gross written premiums from new business in 2013 which recorded a decrease from SEK1.3bn in 2009 to SEK900m in 2013.
- The share of agencies is further expected to decline to 1.5% in 2018 due to increased competition from other channels such as brokers, e-commerce and direct marketing.