Covéa is present in both Europe and North America via its majority-owned subsidiaries and equity holdings. Its international P&C and life insurance operations represented 15% of revenues in 2015, up 21.7% versus 2014.
Covea Insurance: Covea Insurance was created by the merger between MMA Insurance, Provident Insurance and Gateway Insurance in 2011. The company offers an extensive range of insurance products to more than one million clients in the UK. In 2015, it generated revenues of £623 million including the activity of Sterling Insurance, integrated in early 2016.
Swinton: one of the leading UK brokers, Swinton focuses on car and home insurance for individuals. In 2015, it achieved £265 million in revenues, with 3,680 employees and a network of 350 agencies.
CSE: a P&C insurer present in California, Utah, Nevada and Arizona, CSE achieved 2015 revenues of $162 million with a workforce of 130 people. CSE focuses mainly on the segments of home and motor insurance, together with small businesses. For its distribution, it relies on a network of non-exclusive agents and a partnership with a broker in Utah.
Bipiemme Vita: after satisfactory performances in 2013 and 2014, Bipiemme Vita sustained its momentum in 2015, with revenues of €1,532 million and net profit of €22 million. Its new personal insurance business is now distributed by Bipiemme Assicurazioni.
Bipiemme Assicurazioni: a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bipiemme Vita, Bipiemme Assicurazioni launched its P&C business in October 2011. It is the exclusive partner of the bank BPM in non-life insurance. After being tested in 2013, its motor insurance product was rolled out across the bank’s network in March 2014.
AME Life Lux: having generated revenues of €62 million and net profit of €0.1 million in 2015, the insurer is now working on developing its operations in Italy, in partnership with the bank BPM.
La Capitale, Canada: one of Quebec’s leading insurance groups, La Capitale is made up of three P&C companies and one Life company.
Caser, Spain: operating mainly in the bancassurance market, in P&C and Life, the company has been hurt by problems encountered by its distributors, which resulted in it losing numerous distribution agreements. Building on its sound technical results, the company is currently developing other distribution channels to revive its growth.
Covéa saw an increase in its international revenues. What can you tell us about this?
Covéa generated revenues of €2.6 billion in international markets in 2015, representing close to 15% of the Group’s overall revenues. Growth was largely driven by our Italian life insurance subsidiary Bipiemme Vita. This subsidiary was acquired by the Group at the end of 2011. 2015 also saw the acquisition of Sterling Insurance in the UK. The integration of Covéa Insurance and Sterling Insurance in early 2016 illustrates the Group’s objective to build consistent and offensive entities able to seize opportunities in their domestic market.
What criteria does Covéa look for when selecting international partners?
Covéa’s strategy is based on a prudent approach. The aim is not to expand into every market, but to focus on mature, profitable markets, while at the same time bolstering our existing positions: Italy, the UK and to a lesser extent Spain, Luxembourg, the US and Canada. In any case, we do not want to invest in non-mature markets or in weaker companies.
Beyond business results, what can this international presence bring to the Group?
Based on experience, we can see, as you know, that there is no European insurance market, let alone a global market. The markets are all different, products vary and taxation differs too, especially in life insurance. It is therefore difficult to generate synergies from these investments. However, we can draw lessons from them, at least in terms of observation. For instance, in England, contracts are not automatically renewed and France has just taken a step in the same direction with its Hamon Law. It is thus interesting to see how a market behaves in this type of situation. On the regulatory front, some countries have already adopted measures that will subsequently be introduced in France. These are all valuable experiences for Covéa and we must watch them carefully.
In addition, with a view to Solvency 2, our international presence brings a measure of diversification, which has a favourable impact on our solvency level.