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Mutual and cooperative insurers gain ground

By Andrew Rickard | March 21 2016 11:36AM

A report from the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF) shows that the global market share of mutual and cooperative insurers increased from 23.7% in 2007 to 27.0% in 2014. In Canada, however, the sector has recently lost some market share.

The ICMIF released its market share report for 2014 on March 16, and it shows that the mutual and cooperative insurance sector has gained ground steadily since the onset of the financial crisis. Between 2007 and 2014, the report shows that mutual and cooperative insurers increased their premium income by 30%, while the total insurance market only grew by 13.6% during the same period.

Canadian market share

Mutual and co-operative insurers held 19.1% of the market in Canada as of 2014, but ICMIF notes that they have fallen behind slightly as they held 19.5% of the market in 2013. The report points out that this is the first loss in market share that the Canadian mutual sector has suffered since the beginning of the financial crisis, and notes that it remains well above the 2007 level of 16.4%, especially in the life insurance market where the mutual share increased from 13.2% in 2007 to 18.3% in 2014.

Shift in buying behaviour

"There has been a shift in consumers’ buying behaviour since the financial crisis, and this has given the mutual and cooperative insurance model a competitive advantage against shareholder-owned insurance companies," comments Shaun Tarbuck, CEO of the ICMIF. "Also, mutual and cooperative insurers benefit from a long term perspective and can be run to protect the interest of the business and its customers, unlike joint-stock companies, which are under pressure to generate short-term profits for external shareholders."

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