Netherlands bancassurer ING Group and Greece’s fourth-largest bank,
Piraeus Bank, have extended an exclusive five-year distribution
partnership first entered into in 2002 for another ten years. As
part of the new distribution alliance, Piraeus Bank has sold to ING
its stake in their joint venture company, ING Piraeus Life, for an
undisclosed sum. In 2006 ING acquired Piraeus Bank’s stake in a
joint venture mutual fund management company.
The distribution agreement gives ING access to Piraeus Bank’s 305
branch offices in Greece for the distribution of life insurance,
employee benefits and pensions products. In turn, ING’s network of
tied agents in Greece will promote the retail banking products of
According to ING, ING Piraeus Life has grown rapidly, mainly
through sales of unit-linked products. It is currently the
eighth-largest life insurer in the Greek market and has a market
share of 3.7 percent. ING also sells insurance products via tied
agents through ING Greece, which ranks fifth in the Greek life
market and holds a market share of 8.4 percent. On a combined
basis, ING Greece and ING Piraeus Life occupy third position in the
Greek life insurance market.
According to reinsurer Swiss Re, Greece’s life insurance market
generated total premium income of €2.28 billion ($3.21 billion) in
2006, an increase of 17.8 percent compared with 2005. However,
market penetration by life insurance companies in Greece remains
among the lowest in Europe.
In 2006 life premium income represented only 0.9 percent of
Greece’s GDP compared with a European average of 5.3 percent. The
average premium per capita in Greece in 2006 was only €182 compared
with a European average of €793.