Digital technologies continue to progressively penetrate the European insurance sector; leveraging their cutting-edge data analysis tools and technologies, InsurTech start-ups have proliferated, frequently specializing in developing specific areas of the insurance value chain. Distribution channels have been most targeted to date. Peer-to-peer insurers often follow this pattern, though their business model may not in all cases be very different from that of traditional undertakings, as they can only operate in the EU through a licensed insurance undertaking or through a broker/intermediary in cooperation with a licensed insurance undertaking.
From a consumer protection perspective, it is also noteworthy that consumer complaints in the insurance sector considerably increased in 2016. This increase has taken place in most Member States and has been particularly significant in the non-life insurance sector, which to a limited extent could be related to the stronger market growth explained above. Moreover a significant part of these complaints are related to claims handling issues. In this regard, the claims ratios (i.e. the proportion of premiums used to pay claims) in lines of business such as "legal expenses insurance", "assistance", or "miscellaneous financial loss" are below 50 percent, and in these lines of business high commission rates can be seen compared to other lines of business. However in 2016 the claims acceptance rates of the last two lines of business were relatively high compared to legal expenses insurance.
Looking ahead, it is notably that 2018 and 2019 will bring significant improvements and changes in the EU regulatory environment related to insurance and pensions. These can be expected to impact trends of all types in the future, though the impacts may take a number of years to become clear.
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