Bancassurance market holds commercial insurance potential

The Italian bancassurance market, having seen significant demand growth for commercial insurance, has been recently described as holding great market potential for professional indemnity insurance, according to one industry expert.

Banks in Italy, which currently hold only 4 per cent of the non-life business insurance market in the European country, has been described as burgeoning byDual Italia’s  Maurizio Ghilosso.  The insurance provider recently signed an agreement with Italian banking giant Intesa Sanpaolo Group to provide business liability insurance to corporate clients of the bank through its many branches in Italy.

Banks are indeed a very small percentage of the general non-life insurance market in Italy as a distribution channel.  However, over the past three years, bank-provided insurance has experienced annual growth rates in the double digits.

Meanwhile, banks have been more moderately successful in the area of life insurance, with a majority market share in life insurance of 60 per cent.   While it is true that only a portion of these customers also have the need for commercial insurance, industry experts believe that the market potential for cross selling non-life products is quite substantial.

On particular form of commercial insurance, directors’ and officers’ cover, is mostly still undeveloped in Italy.  Despite this there has been substantial demand growth for the offering since 2004, due to reforms in company law which introduced more stringent requirements for statutory auditors, officers, and directors which expanded both the rights and the role of shareholders.

Claims for directors’ and officers’ insurance have increased significantly since that date.  Italy – a notoriously litigious society – could not provide any market statistics, but a recent local study reported than an approximate 350 claims had been reported in 2007, which is a highly significant increase from 2000’s only 13 claims.

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