Bancassurance, a concept virtually unheard of prior to 2000, has since gained importance in many countries, particularly in India and China.
The French term refers to the selling of insurance through a bank’s established distribution channels, known as a bancassurer, which can offer banking, insurance, lending and investment products simultaneously.
Bancassurance is not without its critics, who contend that allowing banks to sell insurance gives them too much control over the financial-services sector.
Its growth has been driven by regulatory reforms in key emerging markets.
Amit Kalra, co-author of the Swiss Re study “Insurance in Emerging Markets: Growth Drivers and Profitability,” notes that in India, bancassurance premiums represented 22 percent of new business premiums for private-sector players in 2010.
“With a growing middle class and over 70,000 bank branches, bancassurance in India has plenty of room to expand,” Kalra adds.