THE NETHERLANDS- PGGM Life Insurance and PGGM Non-Life Insurance products have been made available to the general public following the launch of Careon, its new insurance company created after the introduction of legislative changes at the beginning of the year prohibiting pension funds from operating in the insurance market under their own brand name.

Spokesman Alfred Kool says that in the run up to the new legislation, they had the choice of withdrawing from the market or of rebranding and renaming their two insurance operations. Withdrawing from the business was not considered and the result is Careon, a fully-owned entity covering the entire range of life and non life products.

PGGM now has the opportunity to offer its insurance services to those outside the pension fund but Kool says they are not embarking on a marketing drive to outsiders. “We have the ability to do that but we are not planning to do so because the only thing we want to do is provide our sector with proper products and services,” he says.

Careon now has to compete with other insurance companies but Kool says this is not an issue as the same could be said of the previous set up. “Previously we also competed with other insurance companies because employers and employees were free to choose; with PGGM insurance there was the opportunity to choose products from either us or other insurance companies.”

Previously PGGM life and non life products were only available to members of the pension scheme but following the rebranding, the products are available to the public for the first time.

For PGGM members with life and non-life products, the change means nothing in practice. Says Kool: “for the clients, nothing has changed. They have their policy papers from PGGM insurance and now they get new papers under another name.”

ABP, the e150bn civil service pension scheme, faced the same legislation and its insurance subsidiary is now known as Loyalis.