In 2022, Funeral (Ardanta) and Individual life business lines were combined in the new business line Life, because of the many similarities in their (partially) closed-book portfolios.
In recent years, both Funeral and Individual life have proved to have excellent skills in the satisfactory integration of portfolios, efficiently and with an eye for customer interests. These skills are cherished, with potential future acquisitions in mind.
In the Dutch market, a.s.r. ranks third with in Funeral and second in Individual life, measured by GWP. The market concentration that has taken place in recent years has further diminished the number of active providers. The market share in new production of funeral insurance policies was 15.4% in 2022 (2021: 17%). The ambition is to regain our market share in the coming years. Higher interest rates in 2022 led to lower premiums, helping to realise these ambitions.
Movements in the consumer price index in 2022 led to an unprecedentedly high index percentage of 14.3% for funeral. Close attention was paid to explaining this to customers. The lapse in the portfolio as a result of the price increases rose slightly in comparison with earlier years.
Following product rationalisation in 2021, Funeral still has one active product: a capital funeral insurance policy with maximum options for the customer (free choice of undertaker and various options for the premium payment term and for retaining the value of the insurance). Distribution takes place via independent intermediaries and direct channels.
Individual life is still active in the market with term life insurance. Fierce competition, including from new providers, has led to a fall in a.s.r.’s share of this market in recent years.
The focal point for Funeral and Individual life is the provisional innovative service to customers, driven by digitalisation. In 2022, Funeral introduced an upgraded portal for its customers, at which they can now make virtually all changes to their insurance policies themselves in a simple manner, at any time they choose.
This portal complies with the industry standard for digital access (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)-compliant). The share of output sent digitally rose in 2022 to 68% (2021: 56%) and 44% of all customer requests received by the customer contact departments are processed automatically (‘straight through processing’) (2021: 31.5%). New customers contract funeral insurance entirely digitally.
The bundling of expertise enables Funeral and Individual life to work together more effectively to realise the ambitions of efficient operations and ‘best in class’ customer service. The results of this approach are shown in the results of customer satisfaction surveys.
Both Funeral and Individual life make efforts to contribute towards a.s.r.’s sustainability ambitions. In 2022, a.s.r. became the first funeral insurer to join GreenLeave, an alliance of organisations in the funeral undertaking sector which aims for 100% sustainable funerals in the Netherlands. With this membership, a.s.r. aims to make an active contribution to research into and implementation of initiatives that promote sustainable funerals and communicate actively on this with customers.
Continuation of stable financial results remains an important objective. The focus lies on organic growth and on opportunities to acquire new portfolios. After making improvements, Individual life will re-launch the upgraded term life insurance product in 2023 with the aim of recovering lost market share. In other respects, the objectives are consistent with a.s.r.’s ‘digital agenda’. In concrete terms, this means:
Activation of customers through campaigns to check whether their insurance is still consistent with the purpose for which it was contracted (realising duty of care).
Helping customers to do business with a.s.r. digitally. The objective is that by the end of 2024, 60% of the Individual life customers and premium-paying Funeral customers have adapted a digital approach.
A brand transition is planned for Funeral in the third quarter of 2023. The brand Ardanta will from that moment on continue under the flag of a.s.r.
The expected business combination with Aegon Nederland N.V. will have impact on Funeral and Individual life during 2023. For information about the proposed business combination, please refer to At a glance.
In 2022, funeral insurer Ardanta signed a contract with GreenLeave, an alliance of undertakers that aims for 100% sustainable funerals in the Netherlands. Ardanta was the first funeral insurer to join GreenLeave which, until recently, consisted only of undertakers. The GreenLeave network shares knowledge and inspiration and provides for training and certification of undertakers and suppliers. The focus lies on six sustainability aspects, including the use of renewable raw materials, energy-efficient production and avoidance of toxic substances. In order to enter into a partnership with GreenLeave, companies must comply with several sustainabilty criteria. GreenLeave members must minimise the environmental impact of their business operations, taking account of sustainability in their procurement policies, and must communicate their working methods honestly and transparently.