The President of GEMA, Gérard Andreck, recently announced GEMA’s financial results for 2011 in which he highlighted that the GEMA mutuals have outperformed the overall French market last year in both property/casualty and life and savings.
GEMA members saw a 5% increase in their property/casualty premiums whereas the market saw an increase of just 4%. This is based on preliminary figures published by GEMA in January of this year. Gérard explained that these figures are a result of a rise in rates for property/casualty cover but also through members increasing their market share by almost 350,000 new customers. Given the difficulty of the current economic climate and growing competition from the bancassurance sector Gérard says these figures are a great success for the GEMA members.
GEMA members saw a drop in their life and savings businesses but again their performance was better than the market overall. GEMA saw a drop of 11.7% however the market overall dropped by 14%. Also, GEMA mutuals gained around 100,000 new customers for life insurance last year which brought the total number of life customers to 4.3 million. The mutuals’ share of the health market is growing steadily at the same time though this is still a relatively new market for GEMA members.
Gérard also took the opportunity to talk about some of the key issues affecting GEMA members and in particular mentioned his disappointment at the French Government’s decision to postpone the reform of long term care finance system. France’s President, Sarkozy, has confirmed that the long term health care reform will not be carried out due to lack of funds. This is disappointing news for GEMA and other French mutuals who have been working on this issue for a number of years. The decision hinders product development for the mutual insurers who are in favour of a public-private partnership for long term health care which would mean the state would provide additional coverage to complement people’s existing insurance policies. “We don’t know which way to develop our products” says Gérard on the postponement of reform of France’s long term health care financing. He says that it is “damaging for everyone, not just insurers”.