Gjensidigestiftelsen owns more than 60 percent of Gjensidige Forsikring ASA. The ownership model ensures that Gjensidige’s insurance customers receive their share of the profits as this is passed on from Gjensidigestiftelsen.
When Gjensidige Forsikring ASA makes a profit, they pay dividends to their shareholders. The share of the profit that goes to Gjensidigestiftelsen, is passed on to Gjensidige’s customers as a customer dividend because they are the ones who make up the foundation.
NOK 2.3 billion passed on in customer dividends to Gjensidige customers in 2022
Over the past 15 years, Gjensidigestiftelsen has paid out approximately NOK 25 billion to Gjensidige’s Norwegian insurance customers. This year’s total customer dividend is NOK 2,299,119,947. Of this, NOK 1,095,079,670 goes to private customers, while the remaining NOK 1,203,630,205 is paid to business customers. The dividend is adopted by Gjensidigestiftelsen’s general meeting in May and is paid continuously at the end of May.
History of the customer dividend
In 2008, Gjensidige’s customers had the pleasure of the additional benefit of customer dividends for the first time. However, the basic idea of sharing the profit with the customers has characterized the mutual form of organization ever since the establishment of Brannkasser in the 19th century. These first fire insurance companies were village-based with mutual ownership and with activities that were usually limited within their municipal boundaries. The sharing of profits was a logical consequence of the fact that the customers were also members and owners, and in that capacity, they bore risk and responsibility for the solvency of the company. Admittedly, there were not many opportunities to pay out dividends, as the principle of self-cost insurance did not generate significant profits.
In Gjensidige’s strategic plans at the beginning of the 2000s it was decided that they had to make more active use of the unique ownership model in order to stand out in the market. But this was not entirely unproblematic because the ownership model was little known and understood despite the name(“Gjensidige” literally means “mutual” in Norwegian). Strategic communication and better information towards customers and the market thus became a prerequisite for succeeding in further developing and revitalizing the company model.
In the wake of this, discussions arose about individual dividends to customers or collective dividends for socially beneficial purposes. The fire insurance companies had long traditions for the latter, while an individual dividend would be a completely new concept. After thorough investigations and decision-making processes, they first settled on collective dividends, and in 2007 Gjensidigefondet was established for this purpose. The fund received NOK 300 million in initial capital, and carried out its first grants allocations in the spring of 2007. In December of the same year, the remaining funds were transferred to the newly established Gjensidige Foundation. Parallel to this process, however, it was concluded that an individual customer dividend would also add value to Gjensidige’s unique ownership model. The customer dividend therefore became a response to the desire to revitalize the company model so that customers could more directly experience having financial benefits. Gjensidige paid out a customer dividend for the first time in 2008 and then in 2010. When Gjensidige Forsikring ASA was listed on the stock exchange in December 2010, the Gjensidige Foundation, by virtue of its shareholding, became responsible for passing on the dividend to the customers.
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