The International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF) today announced that Hilde Vernaillen, Chair of the Management Committee, P&V Group (Belgium) will be the Federation’s new Chair.
The announcement comes after the ICMIF Board and Committee meetings took place in Nairobi, Kenya, on 19-21 October, hosted by ICMIF member CIC Insurance Group.
Hilde Vernaillen has been working in the financial services industry for more than twenty years and is a committed defender of the mutual/cooperative business model in insurance. She is a regular conference speaker on various subjects of insurance, mutual and cooperative business.
Hilde was appointed as CEO of P&V Insurance and VIVIUM in 2011 after twenty years in the P&V Group, first in the bank and later on in the insurance companies.
She is a member of the ICMIF Board and was President of AMICE (the Association of Mutual Insurers and Insurance Cooperatives in Europe) from June 2013 until June 2016. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Euresa Holding, an European Economic Interest Group for cooperation and collaboration among the European insurance companies belonging to the Social Economy, and President of the Board of Directors of Febecoop which promotes and defends the co-operative model at regional, federal, European and international level.
Furthermore, she is a member of the Board and the Executive Committee of the Belgian insurance association (Assuralia), and several other organizations in Belgium and other European countries.
Speaking about her new role as Chair of ICMIF, Hilde said: “The strength of ICMIF comes down to the unique combination of several elements: the creation of genuine added value for its members; its numerous networking activities; and the active role that ICMIF plays in fighting some of the most urgent global challenges, like poverty and climate change. I’m looking forward to contributing to this work as Chair of ICMIF in the coming four years.”
Hilde takes up her new position at ICMIF at a time of considerable opportunity and challenge for the sector. The latest research from ICMIF reveals that the mutual and cooperative sector has been the fastest-growing part of the global insurance industry since 2007, with a 27% share of the global market (by premiums) and with a cumulative growth of 22% in premium income during this period, compared to an 8% increase for the overall global insurance market. ICMIF’s membership now stands at 290 members following the integration with AMICE (the Association of Mutual Insurers and Insurance Cooperatives in Europe).
There is also a growing social impact of mutual and cooperative insurance with over 1.11 million people employed by the sector across the world in 2015. The sector also serves over 960 million people as members or policyholders of mutual/cooperative insurers, representing a 10% growth in membership numbers over the previous three years (2012: 880 million).
Shaun Tarbuck, ICMIF CEO, says: “I am delighted that Hilde has accepted the position of ICMIF Chair, and I am looking forward to working closely with her over the next four years. This is a very exciting time for the Federation and its members. Under the leadership of our retiring Chair Anders Sundström we have transformed ICMIF into an organization focused on strengthening our members’ competitiveness by delivering unique market information, networking opportunities, leadership development programmes and global advocacy. We have increased the opportunities for networking and peer-to-peer knowledge sharing, and we have also extended considerably our research and market intelligence functions.
"ICMIF plays a widely-respected role in representing mutual and cooperative insurers at global level with governments, regulatory bodies and international agencies”, Tarbuck continued. “Under Hilde's leadership we look forward to increasing our global influencing work and further growing our sector's market share. P&V was one of the founding members of ICMIF back in 1922 and Hilde will be the second Chief Executive from P&V to assume the role of ICMIF Chair since Raymond Lemaire stepped down in 1982,” he concluded.
Also announced after the ICMIF Board meeting was confirmation of the Board’s approval of the integration between ICMIF and AMICE. Members of AMICE, the Association of Mutual Insurers and Insurance Cooperatives in Europe, took the decision to join forces with ICMIF at their annual general meeting, held in Ghent, Belgium, in June this year.
Commenting on the Board’s approval, Shaun Tarbuck, Chief Executive, ICMIF said: “I am delighted that the Board has approved the move to bring ICMIF and AMICE together. AMICE is henceforth working in partnership with us as ICMIF’s regional body in Europe, an arrangement which will help us maximize our resources and ensure efficient and effective advocacy and services to members. This makes so much sense, and I commend AMICE’s leadership for helping to bring this integration about.”
Europe is one of the strongest regions for mutual and cooperative insurers, with a combined market share which has grown from 23% in 2007 to over 31% in 2015. Together mutual and cooperative insurers annually write more than EUR 400 bn (USD 440 bn) in business and hold EUR 2.8 tn (USD 3.1 tn) in total assets. This considerable reach is reflected in the number of people employed by the mutual sector in Europe, over 450,000. Mutual insurers in several major European countries, including Germany, France, the Netherlands, Austria, Norway, Sweden and Hungary, enjoy over 40% market share.