Cancellation rates: This is how it went for the giants of the life market

11/07/2022 – Allianz achieved the lowest policy cancellation rates (primary insurance, relative to contracts) among industry heavyweights according to Map-Report 926. Due to special factors, Bayern-Versicherung had the highest rate.


The policy cancellation rate (main insurance policies, surrenders and conversions to non-contributory insurance policies plus other early exits as a percentage of the average contract portfolio for the year) of German life insurers last year was between 0.59 percent at WGV-Lebensversicherung AG and 9.41 at Dortmunder Lebensversicherung AG.

In the entire industry, the rate reached 2.59 percent, the second lowest value in this millennium. This can be found in the map report number 926 – “Balance sheet rating of German life insurers 2021” (VersicherungsJournal November 7, 2022).

So did the market sizes

The twelve market sizes with at least two billion euros in premium income (August 16, 2022) also show clear differences, although not as large. None of the top dogs made it into the top ten. Allianz Lebensversicherungs-AG fared better, ranking 13th with a rate of 1.42 percent.

Cosmos Lebensversicherungs-AG is two places behind with 1.46 percent. Württembergische Lebensversicherung AG (21st place) and Axa Lebensversicherung AG (31st place) also remained below two percent.

Alte Leipziger Lebensversicherung AG, Nürnberger Lebensversicherung AG and Proxalto Lebensversicherung AG also outperformed the market. Generali Deutschland Lebensversicherung AG and Zurich Deutscher Herold Lebensversicherung AG performed slightly worse than the industry.

Rates of more than three percent are reported for Debeka Lebensversicherungs-Verein aG and R+V Lebensversicherung AG. Bayern-Versicherung Lebensversicherung AG has the highest rate among the market sizes with more than four percent.

Cancellation rates of the largest life insurers in 2021 (Image: Wichert)

Special factors in Bayern-Versicherung

When interpreting the Bayern-Versicherung rate, Map reporters ask to “keep in mind that the reason for the company’s comparatively high rate lies in a special effect of the residual credit insurance business.”

This is essentially due to technical reasons, since in the case of contract adjustments, a cancellation-relevant business transaction is triggered and a new contract is created. Adjusted for residual credit insurance business, the volume-related cancellation rate at the end of 2021 was 2.0 percent.”

Improvements and deterioration in cancellation rates

Compared to the previous year (November 23, 2021), Allianz, Generali and Württembergische made slight improvements. Nürnberger, Proxalto and Zurich Deutscher Herold managed to reduce the rate by more than 0.1 percentage point.

Axa, Bayern-Versicherung and Cosmos deteriorated minimally, Alte Leipziger by more than 0.1 percentage points and Debeka by almost 0.4 percentage points. The rate in R+V even increased by more than 1.6 percent.

Background of the development in R+V life insurance

The Wiesbaden-based company does not explain this in the 2021 annual report. Instead, there is information about a reduction in the cancellation rate – based on the current listing – from 3.5 to 3.2 percent.

A look at “Exhibit 1 of the management report” (which lists “Movements in the insurance portfolio in the financial year 2021”) shows that the number of disposals increased by more than 70 percent to a good 453,000 contracts.

The number of buybacks and conversions into non-contributory insurance tripled to more than 168,000, which means that the proportion of cancellations increased from a fifth to well over a third. Ordinary processes “only” increased by a good half to almost 263,000 policies. Here the proportion fell from almost 64 to 58 percent.

The number of contracts grew, driven by the acquisition of R+V Luxembourg Lebensversicherung SA (November 16, 2021), by almost a third to almost 5.6 million.


Map report number 926 – “German Life Insurers Balance Sheet Rating 2021” has been published by Franke and Bornberg Research GmbH. On 135 pages, in addition to detailed rating results, it also contains summaries of around two dozen key balance sheet figures (financial year 2021) from 76 providers.

The brochure also offers individual summaries with eight selected key figures in the time series from 2010 to 2021. It is available as an electronic document from €305 net via the Franke and Bornberg order page.


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