Sales of life insurance in the Netherlands were at around the same level in 2003 as in 2002. The number of policies sold did fall however.
In recent years there has been a shift from securities-based insurance policies to euro-based policies. Most life insurance is sold through insurance agencies.
Premiums paid around the same
Overall, life insurance companies received a total of 6.5 billion euro in premiums in 2003, 0.7 percent more than in 2002. This slight increase was mainly caused by sales of single-premium insurance policies. On average the price of these single-premium policies doubled between 1999 and 2003.
Premiums for new life insurance
Fewer policies sold since 1999
Consumers bought nearly 1.18 million life insurance policies in 2003, 6 percent less than in 2002. The decrease was mainly caused by the sale of fewer policies with periodic premium payments. This decrease has been visible for a number of years now.
In 1999 more than 1.80 million life insurance policies were sold. The number has decreased continually since then. The bearish stock market trend from 1998 to 2000 increased the popularity of life insurance initially, but falling share prices and the less favourable fiscal climate since 2000 have dampened enthusiasm somewhat.
New life insurance policies
Securities-based insurance less popular
Policy-holders seem to prefer the security of money when buying their insurance. The share of securities-based insurance in total premiums fell from 48 percent in 1999 to 25 percent in 2003. This share is still higher than before 1997 though. The decrease is reflected most strongly in single- premium policies.
Insurance agents most active
Most sales of life insurance and receipt of premiums takes place through insurance agencies. In 2003 they accounted for 65 percent of all premiums paid. This is 2 percent points less than in 2002. Banks have gained some ground, increasing their market share from 19 percent in 2002 to 22 percent in 2003. The market position of direct writers was 12 percent in 2002 and 2003.
Sales of new life insurance by distribution channel