Life insurance and PER: soon an online tool to summarize charges

Much criticized in recent months, the fees charged on life insurance policies and pension savings plans (PER) will soon benefit from greater transparency thanks to an online tool. At the government's request, insurers and bankers will be required to publish the charges for these contracts on their websites, using a single standardized table.

Contract fees: "not very accessible" and "very fragmented" information

"Today, I believe that market players are charging excessive commissions and fees," declared Bruno Le Maire, French Minister of the Economy and Finance, last September.

His reaction followed the "Report on new retirement savings plans" published in July 2021 by Corinne Dromer, president of the Conseil Consultatif du Secteur Financier (CCSF), which concluded that there were too many fees, weighing down the returns on these savings products.

The report called on insurers and bankers to be more transparent, as information on contract fees was considered " not very accessible " and " very fragmented ".

At the time, Bruno Le Maire announced, " I would like to work with the banks and insurance companies so that we can summarize all the fees due on a retirement savings plan ", in line with the report's recommendations.

A single, standardized table to summarize costs

On February 2, the French Minister of the Economy and Finance convened a meeting of bankers, insurers and brokers to give concrete expression to this desire for transparency in the fees charged on life insurance policies and retirement savings plans.

"A few moments ago, we signed an agreement with representatives of producers and distributors of pension savings plans (PER) and life insurance products," said Bruno Le Maire after the meeting.

From June 1, professionals will be obliged to summarize all charges levied on retirement savings plans and life insurance contracts, using a single standardized table. At present, this information is extremely difficult to obtain, making it virtually impossible to compare different offers.

For Bruno Le Maire, " this greater transparency should fuel greater competition, to further diversify PER and life insurance offerings and support savers' purchasing power",he explained. The Minister of the Economy does not see this new tool as an end in itself, but rather as a means, in the long term, of reducing costs.

In addition, the information provided to customers will be subject to a regulatory framework. What is currently required only as part of a market agreement will become a legal obligation, according to the following timetable: " the total charges borne by each unit of account or each asset will henceforth be displayed, from July 1, 2022 for pre-contractual information, and from 2023 for the annual information campaign for the 2022 financial year ", declared the Ministry of the Economy and Finance.