Insurance corporations are financial intermediaries which offer direct insurance or reinsurance services, providing financial protection from possible hazards in the future.Under an insurance policy, the insurance corporation undertakes to compensate the policyholder for losses caused by a pre-defined event against a fee, or “premium”.Typically, insurance corporations may cover specific kinds of events.In the case of life insurance policies the event is usually the death or a deterioration of the health of the insured person. Life insurance contracts are often held to save money over a longer time span and sometimes for retirement.Non-life insurance policies protect against risks of financial loss. They cover expenses the policyholder incurs from damages to health or property (policies typically offered are medical expenses, or house, motor vehicle and fire insurance), and financial losses like a loss of income.A special case of non-life insurance is reinsurance. Under a reinsurance contract an insurance corporation agrees to take on the risk related to a policy held by another insurance corporation against a premium. If a payment obligation arises, the reinsurance corporation has to pay.
Why are they important?
Insurance policies are an important cornerstone of many households’ income and wealth in Europe. Insurance corporations also play an important role in financial markets as institutional investors and investment targets. For these reasons, the ECB collects statistical data on the balance sheets and other financial information of insurance corporations for its analyses of the financial system and household wealth.
Insurance corporation statistics
Our insurance corporation statistics combine data on insurance corporations in euro area countries in one harmonised set of statistics.
Our statistics show separate information according to the insurance corporations’ operating license. This split results in four reporting sectors: reinsurance, life, non-life and composite insurance. Reinsurance corporations can only engage in (life and non-life) reinsurance business. Composite insurance corporations hold both life and non-life operating licenses.
Data on insurance corporations are divided into three sections: