Analysis and synthesis (Analyses et synthèses) no. 157: The life insurance market in 2023

Like other financial investments, savings flows into life insurance and pension savings contracted in 2023 and life insurance, excluding pension savings, posted a slightly negative net inflow of € -2.3 billion, albeit at a lower level than that the record low of €7 billion in 2020. Premiums were dynamic (€126.9 billion, the second highest year of gross inflows after 2021), but surrenders also rose sharply (€84.1 billion).^

However, net inflows were contrasted across products: they remained negative at €-33.4 billion for euro-denominated products, but were dynamic for unit-linked products (+€31.1 billion), albeit decreasing after the unprecedented level reached in 2022 (€38.2 billion). It also varied between insurance undertakings: while they performed similarly in euro-denominated products, bancassurance groups posted a net inflow of €24.5 billion on unit-linked products, while it only amounted to €6.6 billion for other undertakings. Overall, total net inflows of bancassurance groups were positive (€8 billion), unlike those from other insurance undertakings (-€10.3 billion).

Inflation, the rise in both interest rates and the cost of financing mortgages are among the reasons behind the rise of surrenders. It may have induced households to mobilize their savings to finance current consumption expenditure or property purchases. In addition, the increase in interest rate paid, especially on fixed-term deposits, have drawn some savings into these instruments. However, the increase in surrender rates remained subdued in this context and the high premiums level demonstrated that households are still fully interested in this type of investment. Moreover, several factors should reduce the distortion of this type of savings with other investments and might improve the gross inflow: according to announcements made in late 2023-early 2024 regarding the revaluation rates of euro-denominated products in 2023, the average rate for the French market is estimated to reach 2.6%, 0.7 points higher than that of 2022, while the “Livret A” ratio, which is a reference ratio for households, has been capped at 3% since January 2023; inflation which already had started to decrease in 2023, is expected to be brought down to 2% by 2025, according to Banque de France forecasts, and should contribute to support real life insurance returns.

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Analysis and synthesis (Analyses et synthèses) no. 157: The life insurance market in 2023
  • Published on 05/14/2024
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Updated on: 05/14/2024 15:39