Disability for work, occupational illnesses, crime control, pensions and road safety. These are just a few of the subjects that insurance companies have to deal with every day. Political decisions and developments in society often have a major impact on the insurance world. This is why it is so important that the interests of insurers, and hence also the interests of their clients, are properly considered in making those decisions and that the industry closely monitors opportunities and threats in determining its policy.
This is precisely where the Dutch Association of Insurers has a role to play, as an association which represents the common interests of private insurance companies in the Netherlands. The Association is involved in many projects, working groups and consultative platforms covering a wide spectrum of public issues. On behalf of its members, the insurance companies, the Association maintains intensive contact with members of parliament and the government in the Netherlands and in Europe, with sister organizations in other countries, with other trade associations and with other representative organizations such as the Consumers’ Association, trade unions and employers’ organizations.
Through its activities the Association establishes a bridgehead between the insurance industry and other sectors of society. This bridgehead role has become particularly important in recent years as the government has assigned more and more responsibility to the market and because insurers realise the importance of keeping their eyes and ears open to what is happening in the world around them.
The Association has four main tasks as a trade association:
· Representing its members to the outside world
The Association’s principal task is to represent the common interests of private insurance companies. The Association provides a voice for its members in discussions with parliament, the government and other organizations. Together with these other parties the Association looks for common ground to find solutions to social problems.
· Promoting the image of the insurance industry
A second task of the Association is to promote and protect the insurance industry’s good name in the Netherlands. Communication is an important element of this aspect of its activities. The Association coordinates the PR for the entire sector, keeps the media informed of the industry’s policy and responds to trends. Via the Association’s (Dutch) website (www.verzekeraars.nl
), which is updated every day, anyone interested can keep in touch with the latest insurance news and the activities of the Association. Members and stakeholders can also subscribe to our (Dutch) biweekly newsletter or our (Dutch) bimonthly magazine Verzekerd!
For a considerable time the objective of the insurance industry has been to restore trust : it must be customer-oriented. This focus has been repeatedly expressed in recent times. But since 2007 the introduction of concrete measures has already proved the insurers’ serious concern with customer orientation. VerzekeraarsVernieuwen (insurers innovate) is what these collective initiatives have been called.
· Providing a platform
The Association must have a mandate to represent its members. The Association secures the support of its members by organising meetings for representatives of the sector. It regularly organizes seminars on themes of topical interest affecting the insurance companies. There is also the annual general assembly where members can discuss general policy. The meetings also have a social function: the Association is so to speak like a club where members can meet each other.
· Providing services
Representing interests means you have to be there for your members. In its role as their representative the Association closely monitors relevant developments and so acts as a centre of expertise for its members. The members are kept informed of activities through various channels. Since the Association coordinates the collective interests of the sector as a whole it plays an advisory role on the policy its members should pursue.