Company: The OneLife Company S.A.
Person Interviewed: Antonio Corpas
Briefly describe your professional career and the activity carried out by your company.
Since April 2018 I have held the position of CEO of OneLife, a Luxembourg life insurance company for more than 25 years. We have joined the French mutual group APICIL in early 2019.
Before I joined OneLife, I served as International Legal Counsel at Allianz and AGF (Assurances Générales de France) in Paris. At the beginning of my career, I worked as a Senior Associate Lawyer in the same city.
OneLife is a life insurance company active for over 25 years in the development of asset wealth management solutions through unit-linked life insurance contracts.
With 100 specialists from nine European markets (including Spain, Portugal, Luxembourg and Belgium), OneLife develops customized solutions for clients in Europe and beyond. OneLife currently manages more than 7.2 billion euros in unit-linked insurance policies.
As a Luxembourg life insurance company, OneLife offers important advantages in terms of security, flexibility and experience which have positioned us as a reference and leader in the sector in Spain and Luxembourg.
What added value do you think the SFF can bring to the financial services industry in Luxembourg and its professionals?
Its main added value will be to serve as a bridge between the Spanish and Luxembourg jurisdictions, to strengthen the links between their markets, as well as to promote new synergies and business opportunities for its members.
The promotion of these types of forums and the opportunities they offer will be of vital importance in the future context of recovery (post -COVID 19) being the SFF an ideal space to manage and consolidate alliances between companies with presence in both markets.
The professionals involved in this initiative will have access to a technical and qualified discussion space of the highest level, which will allow the exchange of ideas and the development of the financial activity, and of the insurance sector in particular.
As coordinator of the Insurance area in the SFF, what actions would you like to implement in the short term?
We plan to promote the organization and holding of virtual or face-to-face events (if possible once the health crisis has passed) that will allow a technical discussion of essential issues for SFF participants.
Topics for discussion should include the safety triangle, analysis of the implementation of the European Directive on insurance distribution and other current issues of interest to insurance sector players in Spain and Luxembourg.
We are interested in promoting the publication of articles and reviews of interest to the participants in this initiative covering these topics, as well as the creation of a newsletter where SFF members can contribute and learn about current events in the insurance sector in Spain and Luxembourg.
Do you think it is necessary to improve the image projected by Luxembourg in Spain, mainly in professional environments?
Luxembourg has proved a remarkable and exemplary ability to adapt to the requirements of transparency and compliance with both European and international regulatory standards.
As a result of these efforts, its image continues to strengthen as one of the world’s leading financial centres. Thanks to its stability, its human capital, and its role at the heart of European institutions, the Grand Duchy continues to be and remains called upon to be both a pole and a channel for investment from and to other countries. This is of great interest and importance to Spain and Latin America.
In addition, due to the close historical ties and the growing Spanish and Latin American population present in its professional financial environment, Luxembourg has become important in recent years in the Latin American market.
Therefore, this place is and will be an inexorable destination of capital and investment from and to Spain and Latin America.
Which advantages do you think Luxembourg offers in your sector compared to other EU countries?
In line with the above response, the agility of response and a solid relationship between the insurance sector and the regulatory bodies (primarily the Commisariat aux assurances – CAA), allow a harmonious development of this sector which in turn generates confidence in our clients.
On the other hand, the flexibility and variety of investment vehicles and instruments allow us to provide our clients with an ideal framework for secure asset management and estate planning.
Indeed, these factors have been instrumental in the design and success of our ideal planning and investment products for our clients in Europe and other jurisdictions.
How has your sector in Luxembourg been affected by Covid-19? What trends do you think will mark the future?
According to a recent report published by ACA, the impact on the insurance sector has been significant with a decline of 21.31% during the first quarter of 2020 (from now on, compared to the same period in 2019) in the collection of premiums taking into account all branches of the sector.
However, there is an asymmetry between the different branches, since in life insurance this regression reached 37.26% while in the non-life branch there was a 12.55% increase.
In life insurance the evolution has also been divergent. For products with guaranteed returns we have seen a historical decrease of 66.60% (and 20% if we abstract an exceptional transfer of about 2 billion euros of premiums in the same period in 2019) due to the low interest of the main players in the sector in these products taking into account the decreases in interest rates.
On the contrary, premiums for unit-linked life insurance products have remained very stable, with a decline of 0.67%, while net collections (collections of premiums reduced by refunded premiums) have remained high.
On the other hand, the technical provisions of insurance companies in Luxembourg increased by 1.43% to 191.75 billion euros. This figure decreased by 6.9% when compared to the figure for December 2019 and is explained by the strong stock market volatility caused by the health crisis with a fall of around 14.2 billion euros mainly in the value of the portfolio of shares and bonds that make up a large part of the assets of insurance companies.
Returning to life insurance, the 12.55% rise in the first quarter of 2020 is largely explained by the climate of uncertainty generated by the UK’s “BREXIT”.
A first trend, we believe, points to the deepening of the digitalization process that the health crisis generated by the COVID 19 has accelerated. It will be very interesting to see how fast the sector continues its adaptation process at this point.
Additionally, diversification in products and markets will play a key role that will allow us to better navigate the effects of the crisis in the medium and long term.