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Snapshot: A Quick Look at the Insurance Industry in Belgium

Nidhi Agrawal
4 minutes, 33 seconds read

The market for insurance in Belgium has been stable for over a decade. Unless Insurers adopt new strategies and embrace external partnerships, organic growth seems next to impossible. 

While insurers in other parts of the world are leveraging technology for better customer acquisition, Belgian Insurers struggle with stringent customer data protection laws.

This is the time for major business alignments to keep up with the changing customer expectations. For instance, the brokerage system dominates nearly 60% of non-life insurance distribution in Belgium. Unfortunately, 31% of the brokers have a negative attitude towards digitization and InsurTech, mainly because of the lack of awareness about the subject.

With current business models, there’s negligible hope that Belgian Insurers will remain competitive. Let’s look at the key drivers of ‘change’.


The ‘Change’ Drivers for Insurance in Belgium

The threat to lose customers for being slow in a fast-moving age is imposing some serious pressure on Insurers in Belgium. The change in customer expectations and lifestyle will drive the transformation of the Belgium Insurance Industry. The other factors that will impact the insurance include- economy, technology, life expectancy, climate change, and competition.

Digital and Mobile Adoption

The Deloitte Global Mobile Consumer Survey 2018 reveals— 84% of Belgians own at least one mobile device. This indicates a growing preference for digital, self-service platforms, and ease of access irrespective of location. Insurers are, thus, compelled to look beyond agent-driven pitches. 

For example, Trov— an American technology company provides ‘on-demand’ insurance for individuals’ properties for short durations. Customers only need to register their properties, activate insurance for a desired duration, and pay a daily premium. 

Now that over 60% of non-life insurance products are distributed by brokers, this is also the time to train and equip brokers with handy apps.

Economical Changes

The world is rapidly moving towards a sharing economy, which involves short-term P2P (Peer-to-peer) transactions for shared use of products and services. The societal shift towards the open data economy fueled the open banking trend. Recently, insurers are following the trend as open insurance. 

“..The economy has been moving beyond narrowly defined industries built around large, vertically integrated, and mainly “self-contained” corporations. New means of creating value have been developing everywhere in the form of ever-denser and richer networks of connection, collaboration, and interdependence…” (Business ecosystems come of age. Kelly, E., 1 April 2015, p. 4.)

Belgium is set to witness the following major economic shifts-

  1. Mobility – Belgians demonstrate an inclination toward multimodal mobility solutions. For example, Antwerp-based Olympus Mobility- an app for cars & bike pooling and parking services is set to expand its services in more Belgian cities.
  1. IoT – Lifestyle and product preferences are changing with connected devices. With new customer expectations, insurance needs and opportunities are also growing. For example, Phil at Home by AG Insurance is a compound product with services in the field of prevention, protection, and assistance for elderlies.

Adoption of Technologies across Industries

Digital has put customers in the center. While other industries stay ahead with technological adoption, Insurers need to invest in innovative products that cover emerging risks. For example, Spotify’s personalized recommendations and Apple’s assistant – Siri are setting a benchmark for customizing the products at an individual level. “Yet what has become the new normal for those companies, remains a challenge for insurers,” says Dirk Vanderschrick, CEO, Belfius.

The Insurance industry in Belgium is yet to adopt biometrics, recommender systems, sentiment detection, and natural language generation. Currently, 60% of Belgian Insurers use text analysis; 40% use chatbots and object detection; 20% exercise automated decision making and pattern detection; according to Monitor Deloitte’s One Minute Survey, Artificial Intelligence (May 2018).

Apart from AI-enabled tools, the Belgium Insurance sector will soon adopt blockchain, Automation, Analytics, XaaS, and IoT. 

Related articles – 5 AI trends reshaping the Insurance sector , How does XaaS help your business, Blockchain in Insurance


Today, business models have a shorter life cycle because of digital disruption. The competition for incumbents is fierce-  with 4 bEUR potential investment in InsurTech in Belgium. 

Many have thought of phygital experience as progressive- where paper and paperless processes coexist. However, in the long term, their existence is questionable. For example, Lemonade is racing the core insurance with paperless and personalized insurance packages delivered to the customer in just 90 seconds!

In line with the fact that customers want a solution to their problems – the one who provides the most appropriate solution in the easiest way possible, wins.

Regulatory Changes

Compulsory health and car insurance policies had a great impact on sales volume. Apart from being an entry barrier for small players, the existing regulations no more align with climate changes, longevity, and technological disruptions.

The Belgian Government is set to launch Payment Service Directive 2 (PSD2) by 2024 and IFRS 17 (International Financial Reporting Standard) by 2021. Nearly 70% of Insurers believe PSD2 will have a positive impact in the insurance value chain.

‘Beyond’ Insurance is the Future

According to Insurance Experts from Deloitte, non-core insurance products and services drive 10-30% of the revenue. Therefore, complementary services or value-added services can bring a greater competitive advantage to the insurers. 

For example, the US-based Oscar Health Insurance encourages a healthy lifestyle by financially rewarding its customers. It tracks footsteps, eating habits, workouts, etc. on its app through wearables. It further supports customers with doctoral advice and scheduling appointments. These value-added services, along with traditional health insurance is a win for customer loyalty. 

We’re an InsurTech100 company championing back and front-office automation solutions along with interactive applications for the new-age digital insurer. Drop us a line at to know more.


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A website’s page load time plays an important role in customer acquisition. Google states that if your website takes more than 3 seconds to load, over half of the visitors will leave it. Eventually, it leads to conversion and profits. Although there are online tools available to check your website loading time and performance (Lighthouse, for instance), it’s important to understand what affects your website’s page load time. You can then optimize your web page accordingly.

8 Factors that affect the page load time

#1 Web hosting

Today, no one would like to wait for a website to spin and load at its speed. Websites that load quickly perform more in user engagement, conversion rates, and user experience. Hence, it is very important to have a high-availability web hosting plans.

#2 Size of files

The page speed always depends on the size of the assets loaded on the browser. It is, therefore, good to have an optimum number of assets with the least possible file size. This will require lesser bandwidth.

#3 Number of HTTP requests

Greater the number of HTTP requests from a browser to server/server to server, the higher will be the bandwidth consumption. Therefore, keep the number of HTTP requests to the minimum possible.

#4 Absence of CDN

Using CDN will boost the performance of the web site. The absence of it will affect the load time. CDN is a content delivery/distribution network. It is a network of proxy servers and their data centres distributed across the globe to increase the performance and availability of services to the end-users.

#5 Mediocre coding

Bad coding will always affect the page performance and SEO ranking of the website. It is good to follow best practices starting from the initial stage of development.

#6 The number of redirections

The number of redirections impacts the DNS lookup time.

#7 Lack of Keep-Alive

If you’re using HTTP/1.0 protocol and have not configured Keep-Alive, then there’s a higher possibility that the browser to server connection will break. It will not load the page properly. 

#8 Hotlinking

Sourcing page content from other sites might affect the load time and performance of your website.

You might also like to read about 11 proven techniques to optimize website performance.

Strategies and checklist for website optimization

You can implement either bottom-up or top-down strategy for website optimization (discussed later). However, website optimization is an iterative process and you can repeat the following loop after completing a cycle.

How to optimize the website - Infographic
  1. Ideas: Prepare a checklist of all the possible strategies for the target website to optimize.
  2. Prioritize: Prioritize the prepared checklist strategies and act on them.
  3. Test: Test the applied strategies for enhanced performance.
  4. Analyze: Analyze the impact and performance of the website and check if any further strategies are required.
  5. Optimize: For further enhancement, perform the cycle again until you achieve the best.

#1 Bottom-up strategy

This strategy starts from planning to production (Proactive). It defines a set of rules and actions before/while starting the actual development.

Bottom up strategy for website optimization

The above infographic represents the lifecycle of Bottom-Up strategy in web page optimization.

#2 Top-down strategy 

It is a reactive method, which analyses the existing process to find the issue/lag, then reworks on behavioural grounds to accomplish the target. It is a reverse engineering process to identify the performance-issue gap and methods to fix them.

You can identify the resources which are affecting in maximum page load by considering the following-

  • Resource size
  • Asset positioning
  • Render blockers
  • Uncompressed contents
  • Bad requests

Once you’ve identified the sources, lay down the process of optimizing the content and keep iterating to achieve the desired results. 

Basic checklist for both bottom-up and top-down strategies 

  1. Layout performance principles
    1. Page load time
    2. Responsiveness
    3. Minimizing the number of requests
    4. Use Cache headers
    5. Minify CSS and JS contents
    6. Use CSS sprites
    7. Encourage Lazy loading on contents wherever possible
    8. Avoid iframes and redirects
  2. Executive performance principles
    1. During application design
    2. During application development

Consider the following aspects during the design and development phase.

#1 Application design optimizations

  1. Simple & lightweight: Include only key functionalities on load to keep it lightweight.
  2. Client side components: Adopt client side validation to catch errors.
  3. On demand data loading: Use on-demand data instead of pre-loaded data. (E.g. use paginations, pop-up contents on click instead of on load)
  4. Asynchronous calls: Adopt implementation of AJAX calls from the presentation tier and the business tier.

#2 Application development optimizations

  1. Include JS files at the bottom of the page (to avoid render blocking of page).
  2. Combine multiple CSS files and optimize unwanted rules as per page requirements.
  3. Avoid using external scripts at the beginning of the page.
  4. Combine smaller images/icons to sprite & have optimi.
  5. Use CSS rules/files in the head section of the document.
  6. Reduce the number of requests to server.
  7. Implement server/browser caching on possible sections.
  8. Implement Mobile-specific sections to avoid overloading on small screen devices.

Below are few improvisation observations which are affected by optimizing the Webpage and it’s assets.

UI performance optimization and the performance gains - Infographic

We’re technology tinkerers, experimentalists, and experts in customer experience consulting. Get in touch with us at to know more about our ventures in website design and experience consulting. 


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In a country that ranks second in the world for video consumption, cheap data is often attributed as the primary driver behind it. Although data is cheapest in India (Rs. 18.5/GB in 2018, Rs. 3.4/GB in 2019), regional content curated and consumed by natives contributed a great deal to the adoption of digital in rural India. Digital content consumption is expected to double, with over a billion of the population having a smartphone by the next decade. Let’s see what will change in the coming decade? But before, a quick insight into the existing Indian digital landscape.

India’s Digital Demography

Users: 94% of the urban population in India has an internet subscription; which falls to a considerable low among the rural populace (only 24%), according to TRAI.

There are four categories of internet users – Digital sophisticates (3%): these are tech-savvy, wealthy, and urban and prefer global and original content; Digital enthusiasts (36%): these are mainly smartphone & TV streaming users with preference for Hindi and regional content; Digital mainstream (59%): these are predominantly smartphone users and seek free content available online or bundled TV packages; Fringe users (2%): these are irregular users belonging to remote areas where internet connectivity is poor. (India’s Digital Future, KPMG, 2019)


Preferences: Nearly 30% of google search in India is voice-driven (Business Standard, 2019), indicating voice assistance will further progress linguistic democratization.

In India, YouTube accounts for nearly 265 million unique, active users. 95% of these users watch videos in their regional languages (Economic Times, 2018).

Google and Facebook account for nearly 80% of the digital advertisement in India (KPMG India analysis). In 2018, Google reported INR 93 billion in revenues from its operations in India, with 67% accruing from its digital ads platform. Also, video ads contribute to most of ad-spent (53%).

In 2018, there were 340 million smartphone users in India, which is projected to reach 829 million by 2022, according to the CISCO VNI report.

New Trends in Digital Content Consumption

Today, video streaming services have more subscribers (613 million) than traditional cable connection (556 million), according to VentureBeat news.

The media consumption in India has grown at a CAGR 9% during 2012-18 (IBEF, 2019), which is almost nine times that of the US. Print media and television remains the largest platform for advertisement, however the future might witness a shift.

The Indian FMCG sector spends the most on digital advertising. However, considering its overall budget, it’s only 16%. Interestingly, the BFSI sector spends nearly 38% of its marketing budget on digital advertising. (Dentsu Aegis Digital Report, 2019) This indicates that industries have started to realize and invest in digital platforms.

Regional content: According to KPMG in India analysis, consumers spend 35-43% of their time on regional videos on digital platforms. Digital content and media platforms like Zee5, Hotstar, Voot, and Amazon Prime Video are keen on producing original and region-based content. According to Financial Express, the cost to develop regional content is 30-40% lower than that of Hindi and has a larger viewership. 

Original content: The increased digital content consumption also demands originality. Today, content generation is not limited to the media and entertainment industry. For instance, in September 2019, Zomato launched a video streaming service on its app. The primary goal remains the same- customer engagement. Addressing the fact that food is not the only thing people consume these days, businesses are penetrating the minds of youth through quality and original content. 

Hotstar reports 80% of its viewership from dramas and movies and plans to invest INR 120 crores in creating original content.

The Future of Content in India and APAC

The next significant disruption in content consumption will come from 5G technology. Because digital content needs internet and India’s still dangling between 2G and lower cap of the 4G network. Setting up a 5G network will require a $500 billion investment in the next 5-7 years. The government is expecting the initial deployment of the 5G network by 2020 and roll-out by 2022.

5G technology will be able to handle more traffic at a higher speed, satisfying the demand for high data and the growing number of mobile users. HD content will become a thing of the past and consumers will be interacting with augmented reality in their everyday life. It will not only enhance augmented reality and virtual reality experiences but will also support IoT, autonomous vehicles, and automation to name a few. However, India isn’t quite ready for 5G technology yet. The following graph illustrates the countries which are about to enter the 5G era.


An overview of digital behavior in Japan, Korea, and Singapore which are among the top 10 countries to deploy 5G.

 JapanRepublic of KoreaSingapore
Internet penetration93%99.5%84.0%
Mobile penetration89.9%95.8%147.3%
Preferred device to go onlineSmartphone (59.7%)Smartphone (94.3%)
Online activityEmail (80.2%), weather report (65.8%), transport (63.4%)Communication (95.2%), information search (94.0%)

Source: SourceSource: India’s Digital Future, KPMG

5G will also make technologies like Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, cloud-based gaming, IoT and OTT services commercially available.

Apart from this, AI (Artificial Intelligence) will continue to retain customer engagement through predictive analytics, machine learning, and natural language processing capabilities.

For example, Hotstar uses machine learning algorithms for personalized movie recommendations. It predicts user preferences by calculating total watch time per user per month. The company is leveraging AI technology for translations, audio to text conversions, video compression, object detection, and scene classification.

Also read – Your Shopping Cart just got a whole lot Smarter, this festive season.

We’re an AI-first products and solutions firm with extensive experience in insurance and consumer internet domains. Feel free to reach us out at for an intelligent digital solution to your business requirements.


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