La Maif wants to be talked about again. The Niortaise mutual announced Thursday that it had decided to freeze its car insurance rates in 2022, for the second consecutive year.
“While the gradual exit from the crisis has begun, its economic consequences are still present and continue to weigh on the daily lives and budgets of many people in France”, justifies the sixth French car insurer, which claimed 2.3 million car insurance in 2020.
Rising cost of repairs
According to his boss Pascal Demurger, this gesture was not obvious. “There is an increase in the cost of spare parts which represent about half of the cost of repairs. This would have largely justified a price increase,” he explains. Moreover, “in 2022, everything indicates that the frequencies (of accidents) should return to a normal level”, he slips.
Maif’s commitment comes after insurers saw claims plummet with successive confinements and the generalization of teleworking. In 2020, the number of bodily accidents fell by nearly 20% over one year, according to the National Interministerial Observatory for Road Safety. Accidents rebounded year-on-year in the spring of this year, but overall remain lower than in spring 2019.
Maif’s measure could put pressure on other insurers. Knowing that auto insurance is one of the “loss leaders”, it is a market that is reputed to be very competitive. “This will encourage other insurers to pay attention to what they are going to do,” said Olivier Moustacakis, co-founder of the comparator Assurland.
This, however, relativizes the explosive character of the gels announced. “This year, there has been no increase in car prices. Between the announcements of increases and the reality, there is often a gap, because as soon as you increase your rates, there may be movements in your wallets. »
UFC Que-Choisir unhappy
An analysis contested by the consumer defense association UFC Que-Choisir. She assures, figures from INSEE in support, that there were price increases in the spring after decreases at the start of the year. “The president of the insurance federation told us that the prices should drop if the loss rate dropped, this is not the case”, deplores Matthieu Robin at UFC Que-Choisir.
Maif’s gesture could thus contribute to reviving the debate on the action of insurers in the face of the crisis.
Maif had already thrown a stone into the pond when it had argued the collapse in the number of accidents during the first confinement to justify the repayment of the equivalent of 100 million euros to its members. The UFC-Que Choisir had rebounded on this initiative to call on auto insurers to return the “overpayment” to their customers and moderate their rates. GMF and Matmut had also announced a price freeze in 2021.
Insurers argue, however, that freezes are not necessarily justified given the costs of the crisis on other lines of insurance and the rising cost of car repairs. In 2020, the cost of repairs increased by 6.7% over one year, according to SRA, an organization attached to insurers.
“We avoided the sector being taxed”, however defended Pascal Demurger, Monday during a press conference. However, this did not prevent the government from taxing health insurers to the tune of 1.5 billion euros between 2020 and 2021.
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