December 13, 2018

EIOPA published a report on the evaluation of the structure of insurance intermediaries markets in Europe, in accordance with Article 41(5) of the Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD). The evaluation confirms that the European insurance intermediation market is characterized by a very wide diversity of local distribution channels and different definitions adopted at the national level. Registration practices and reporting frameworks also vary among member states, contributing to diversity in terms of the size of European intermediaries markets.

This report, which is the first one in what will be a series of the regular evaluation reports, provides an overview of the status of the European intermediaries markets up to December 31, 2017 and it covers data from 2013 to 2017. The report identifies the following key developments in this market:

  • Small decrease has been recorded in the number of registered intermediaries, with the causes for this decrease ranging from more stringent regulatory requirements and the growth of alternative innovative distribution channels to other factors such as the liquidation of some insurance undertakings.
  • In most markets, the decrease of registered intermediaries has mainly affected natural persons and those operating as agents. Despite brokers and intermediaries registered as legal persons representing a small portion of the European intermediaries market, their number has been increasing at the European level and in most member states.  
  • A significant number of intermediaries—representing 56% of the total number—are operating under member-state-specific categories. This diversity and lack of homogeneity makes it difficult to draw conclusions on the prevalent model(s) at the European level.
  • Between 2013 and 2017, the number of intermediaries' notifications to conduct cross-border business has increased. In many member states, they mostly concern passporting into neighboring markets.
  • Despite the available limited information on the role different distribution channels play in placing insurance products on the market, it can be seen that, in many member states, bancassurance plays an important role in the sale of life-insurance products. Additionally, online insurance marketplaces play increasingly a role in selling insurance products.

The report concludes that a combination of these regulatory developments both at the national and EU levels will lead EIOPA in a direction toward producing a more detailed picture of the insurance intermediaries markets in 2020. However, the lack of common definitions, registration paractices, and reporting frameworks will subsist. The IDD entered into application in most member states on October 01, 2018. In accordance with Article 41(4) of the Directive, EIOPA will prepare a report on the application of the IDD by February 2020. In this context, EIOPA will identify possible ways to improve the quality and comparability of data on insurance intermediaries across the European markets. 

 

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Keywords: Europe, EU, Insurance, IDD, Insurance Intermediaries, EIOPA

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