Given their global position, Canadian re-insurers generally find inspiration in foreign developments when they expand their offering to insurance companies. They have their hands full, however, since Europe has taken the lead in innovation when it comes to living benefits, says Benoit Miclette, vice president of living benefits at RGA Canada. Simply put, Europe is in the lead.
In Canada and North America, the insurance industry is going through a period of fear. “The industry is looking for solutions to cope with the new level of long-term interest rates,” says Miclette.
In Europe the industry is looking elsewhere, such as at regulations to promote unisex products. In Asia the focus is on products for the elderly, while in Latin America it’s the age of quick-sell family products for small amounts of insurance. Social networks and the Internet are playing a larger role.
Despite the problems that interest rates are currently causing for the Canadian living benefits market, there is tremendous potential. Miclette believes, for example, that critical illness insurance premiums will continue their annual growth for a good while longer, a rate which has varied over the last few years between 8% and 10%. “The living benefits products are too popular in Canada for companies to get rid of them,” he adds.