Impact of the Finnish Insurance Intermediation Act

Impact of the Finnish Insurance
Intermediation Act
LIMRA 22 June 2011
Mari Pekonen-Ranta Federation of Finnish Financial Services
Federation of Finnish Financial Services
The Federation represents banks, insurers, finance houses,
securities dealers and financial employers operating in Finland.
The Federation was founded in early 2007, when the Finnish
Bankers' Association, the Federation of Finnish Insurance
Companies, the Finnish Finance Houses Association and the
Employers' Association of Finnish Financial Institutions joined
The Association of Securities Dealers and the Association of Mutual
Funds joined us in 2009.
The Federation's membership comprises of about 470 financial
companies, who employ a total of 43,000 people.
Finanssialan Keskusliitto | Finansbranschens Centralförbund
The renewal of the Finnish Act on Insurance
The Act on Insurance Intermediation entered into force in 2005:
- Renewal of the previous Act on intermediation dated from 1993
- Implementation of the IMD1
The aim was to clarify the roles of agents and brokers and to enhance
consumer protection
Insurance agent:
- Works for and on the responsibility of the insurance company
- Insurance company is responsible for the information given and
actions taken by its´ agent
Insurance broker:
- Fully independent and impartial from insurers
- Representative of the customer
Finanssialan Keskusliitto | Finansbranschens Centralförbund
Reasons for the change in regulation
The former Act (1993) stipulated that brokers need to disclose to
the client if they receive commission from the insurance company,
and, on client´s request, the amount of the commission.
In this case, the commission was charged non-transparently as
part of the insurance premium
The client was, in most cases, not aware of the commission and
the risks it brought
The client was not able to negotiate the fee
-> confusion on the roles of brokers and agents, especially in life
Finanssialan Keskusliitto | Finansbranschens Centralförbund
Commission ban
Already earlier, the so-called net-quoting was used by insurance
companies in non-life insurance:
- Insurer takes into account that part of the broker´s work benefits
the insurer (work relating to administration, advertising etc) –
lower price for the insurance offered to the broker
> After a transitional period of 3 years, the commission ban entered into
force in September 2008:
- Insurance broker is not allowed to receive commission from third
parties (insurance companies) any more. Only the client can pay
the fee to the broker.
- Life and non-life insurance
- Retail and corporate clients
-> Transparency of conflicts of interest and of fees
Finanssialan Keskusliitto | Finansbranschens Centralförbund
Brokers in the Finnish market
A young market for brokers
Amount of brokers: at the end of 2009, there were 62 registered
brokerage companies, employing 211 brokers. The number of total
sales staff has been varying from year to year.
The share of broker mediated insurance premiums in 2009:
- In total: 8 %
- In non-life: appr. 6 %
- In statutory accident at work insurance: 16%
- In life appr.: 2 %
- In statutory pension insurance: 10%
Brokers` activity is concentrated on corporate clients
Finanssialan Keskusliitto | Finansbranschens Centralförbund
Effects of the commission ban on brokers 1.
Brokers´ activity has centred on the non-life insurance of corporate
clients, and this volume has grown during the past years:
Finanssialan Keskusliitto | Finansbranschens Centralförbund
Share of premium income mediated by brokers/
Välitettyjen vakuutusten osuus Suomen maksutulosta 1996-2009
Source: Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Insurance Supervisory Authority, Financial Supervisory Authority /
Lähde: STM, VVV, Fiva; Vakuutuksenvälittäjät ja Vakuutusmeklarit -tilastot
Effects of the commission ban on brokers 2.
In life and statutory pension insurance, the volume of brokers´
premiums written has decreased since 2004.
Reasons in life insurance:
- Before the new Act, brokers were often practically tied to
insurance companies as agents, although they operated under
the status of a broker. The new Act has contributed to the
change of status of the service providers to match their true
nature (agents) -> no more confusion in the roles.
Statutory pension insurance: reasons in the regulatory structure:
product pricing in the pension insurance companies.
Total amount of commissions and fees received by brokers/
Vakuutusmeklarien saamat palkkiot yhteensä
Source: Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Insurance Supervisory Authority, Financial Supervisory Authority /
Lähde: STM, VVV, Fiva; Vakuutuksenvälittäjät ja Vakuutusmeklarit -tilastot
Effects of the commission ban on premiums
Doubts on the effects on insurance premium level:
- the net-quoting used helps the insurance company to keep its´
premiums at a lower level when it sells the product to the
broker than when it sells the product through it´s own sales
- No taxation of insurance premiums (23%) when sold through
- No evidence of higher prices due to the commission ban.
Effects of the commission ban on customers
Previous confusion on the roles of brokers and agents has been
clarified – transparency of the status and roles of the players and
of the possible conflicts of interest
Possibility for the client to negotiate the fee
More competition between brokers, as they need to compete
with the quality of their services. The client will pay the fee, if
she/he considers the service necessary and of good quality.
Finnish views on the IMD review
Finnish authorities and the representatives of consumers and
customers hold the view that the Finnish commission ban works well.
Insurance industry views: in general, IMD review should increase the
clarity and transparency of the products’ sales. Administrative burden
of service providers should not be added without good reason.
IMD2 should not introduce identical rules for all market players. There
are important differences between e.g. the risks related to conflicts of
interest in different distribution channels.
Disclosure of remuneration is not sufficient to handle conflicts of
interest in the broker market.
There are major differences in the distribution structures in different
Member States.
Thank you !
Mari Pekonen-Ranta
Special adviser, Insurance affairs
Federation of Finnish Financial Services
[email protected]
+358 20 793 4213