In the fourth quarter of 2019, the inflow of the insurance sector confirmed the exceptional development of the sector since the start of the year: for all lines of insurance combined, premiums increase by 44.51% in 2019 (including the first three quarters) compared to the previous fiscal year.
The increase in activity affects all sectors: the inflow of life insurance business increased by 7.02% and that of non-life insurance grew by 142.86% compared to the fourth quarter of 2018. Life insurance premiums similarly increased by 18.61%, while premiums in the non-life insurance branches rose by 186.41%.
The figures for the last quarter of 2019 also showed a significant rebound in the results of the direct insurance sector, despite the significant costs of relocating newly established businesses following Brexit: at €452.74 million, profits were up 36.59% compared to €331.46 million in 2018.
After the virtual stagnation recorded in 2018, the inflow of life insurance recovered in 2019 with an increase of 18.61%, or €4.43 billion, breaking down into growth of 35.58% of inflows relating to guaranteed return products and a 9.72% increase in that of unit-linked life products. These figures include a portfolio transfer to Luxembourg of an amount greater than €2 billion, particularly affecting conventional insurance with guaranteed returns.
The evolution of conventional products remained influenced by pension savings products: approximately 99,636 contracts (up 3.68 % compared to 2018) generated cash inflows of €157 million, 14.41% more than in 2018. Savings managed in this respect amounted to €1.093 million at the end of 2019.
In addition, total technical provisions for life insurers exceeded the €200 billion threshold for the first time, reaching €203.33 billion at the end of the year. This represents an increase of 14.97% compared to the end of 2018 and 3.13% compared to the end of September 2019.
At €373.54 million, the profit after tax was up by 46.40% compared to that of 2018. More specifically, non-life insurance (excluding fourth quarter maritime insurance) increased by 186.41% over the twelve months of 2019. This remarkable increase has been attributed in particular to the benefits of the approval of companies having chosen Luxembourg as a place of establishment following the UK's decision to leave the European Union. The approximately eleven companies involved account for two-thirds of the overall activity. Insurers working mainly, if not exclusively, on the Luxembourg market recorded inflow growth of 6.46%. With a 10.08% increase in their premiums, non-life insurance companies excluding Brexit and excluding marine insurance and operating abroad grew less significantly than in 2018. Marine insurance, for which only the data for the first three quarters are available and which is mainly the result of some large mutuals whose inflows reflect the evolution of claims, increased by 60.51% during this period.
With an after-tax surplus estimated at €79.20 million, the results of Luxembourg non-life insurance companies, excluding maritime insurance for the fourth quarter, increased by 3.80% compared to that of 2018 while remaining at an historically very low level. This poor performance is mainly attributable to the establishment costs of the British companies having joined Luxembourg in the framework of Brexit.
These figures relating to premiums, taxes and results relate only to the direct insurance companies controlled by Luxembourg's Commissariat aux assurances.