Mutual and cooperative insurers continue to outperform the rest of the insurance market

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The global mutual and cooperative insurance sector enjoyed another year of strong financial performance in 2012, according to figures published by the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF).

At a global level, the mutual and cooperative sector reported record aggregate premium levels in 2012, collectively writing over USD 1.22 trillion in insurance premiums. Since the onset of the financial crisis, mutual and cooperative insurers grew their premium income by 27% between 2007 and 2012, whilst the total insurance market only increased by 11.8% during the same period. As a result, the global market share of the mutual/cooperative sector grew from 23.4% in 2007 to 26.7% in 2012, a proportional increase of 14%.

The latest figures from ICMIF form part of the Federation’s Global Mutual Market Share research, a market intelligence report on the size and performance of the global mutual and cooperative insurance industry. This research by ICMIF features an analysis of the premium income, assets and investments of over 3,300 mutual and cooperative insurance companies from 75 countries around the world. For the first time, the report also contains data on the number of policyholder/members of the sector, with over 800 million people served by mutual and cooperative insurers around the world.

Shaun Tarbuck, ICMIF Chief Executive, suggests that greater levels of trust and customer satisfaction associated with mutual and cooperative insurers has given them a competitive advantage against shareholder-owned insurers. “Our analytical research says that the mutual and cooperative sector has been the fastest-growing part of the global insurance industry since 2007. We are, I feel, at the cutting edge of the insurance industry – and certainly the recent growth in market share of the sector suggests that the public is beginning to recognize this as well. When a cooperative/mutual insurer creates member value it, in turn, fosters competitive advantage and ultimately increases market share. All the statistics collated by ICMIF’s research team tell the same story: we’ve earned the right to call ourselves strong.”

ICMIF’s research finds that consistent growth in life business by mutual and cooperative insurers contributed most significantly to the overall increase in their share of the global market, as life market share increased from 20.6% in 2007 to 25.0% in 2012. However, mutual and cooperatives hold a higher share of the total non-life insurance market, with a global market share of 28.9% in 2012 (up from 27.6% in 2007).

The latest data released by ICMIF comes at a time when other research has identified the insurance sector as one of most important sectors in the global cooperative economy. The second edition of the World Co-operative Monitor report was launched at the recent International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) Conference in Cape Town, with the total turnover of the largest 300 global cooperative and mutual organizations estimated at USD 2.1 trillion. Just under half of this turnover was generated by the mutual/cooperative insurance sector, as 41% of the largest 300 organizations were insurance cooperatives or mutual insurance companies.

Mr Tarbuck reiterated the findings from this global research on the mutual and cooperative movement adding: “We’ve a lot to offer in a world which, for many, seems to be becoming ever more hazardous. People need insurance which is really tailored to their needs – not sold to them simply to boost the end of year profits for shareholders.”

Download the Global Mutual Market Share 2012 report here.