In brief


Theme in this annual report: Dutch beach volleyball

DELA is the main sponsor of Dutch beach volleyball as we support both elite sports activities and recreational events. The cooperative has longstanding links with volleyball in the Netherlands, including a long-term partnership with the Dutch women’s volleyball team in the period 2006-2016. Volleyball is an easy-going sport accessible to everyone.


The year 2018 has primarily been one of healthy expansion across the board. The number of people insured reached and then surpassed four million, with a strong start being made to our activities in the German market. We were also pleased to note positive developments in our core market of the Netherlands. Net growth in funeral insurance policies was better than expected and we are again seeing an upward trend in DELA’s market share in the funerals we organise. Our policyholders continue to give us very high ratings, the net promoter scores have risen again, and employees in both the Netherlands and Belgium continue to express their pride in and praise for DELA as an employer.

Digitisation & service excellence

Growth does not come easy, however. To enable our continued expansion and versatility, and prepare our people, systems and processes for the future, we are making major investments in digitisation. This will affect all facets of our business operations. These changes will, first of all, mean additional costs and efforts that will put pressure on the operational result and the organisation. At the same time, we have the benefit of knowing our destination: an organisation based on service excellence that provides personal attention with the help of digital processes. This ambition serves as a constant source of energy.


The year 2018 was both challenging and exciting in financial terms. The investment result was negative, mainly due to a sharp fall in share prices. We had a considerable loss in 2018 following a highly positive result in 2017, a volatility which is in keeping with our business model. While our investments are part of a long-term strategy to generate maximum value for policyholders, there can be substantial fluctuations in the interim results. At the same time our solvency has remained strong. Reserves accumulated in the past were used to cover the distribution of profit determined for this year. A total of €42 million was deployed for distribution of profit aimed at increasing the insured capital. This partially compensated for the rise in funeral costs.

Tried and tested

DELA encountered several difficulties in the final months of 2018: a fall in share prices was accompanied by allegations of unethical behaviour linked to the unauthorised taking and forging of fingerprints as tangible mementos for descendants. The accusations suggested serious privacy violations under the guise of commercial interest. In response we corrected our practices and carried out an independent investigation into the forgery claims, which found no forgeries had actually taken place. These events have further enhanced both our solidarity and our awareness of how the day-to-day dedication of employees makes all the difference. With full confidence in the future, we continue on our course to offer DELA clients an excellent and meaningful service.

Eindhoven, 17 April 2019

DELA Cooperative

The Executive Board,

Edzo Doeve, chair
Jack van der Putten, vice-chair
Jon van Dijk, member

2018: A year of healthy growth during which we far exceeded the milestone of 4 million insured.



DELA stands for:
Carrying each other’s burden
A feeling of solidarity
Standing strong together
Sharing and making joint decisions
Connecting generations
And being there in the moments that matter most…
For each other

Together we are strong


DELA Coöperatie UA ('DELA', ‘DELA Group' or the ‘DELA cooperative’ in the rest of this document) is an international insurer and funeral organiser active in the Netherlands, Belgium and, since recently, Germany. It insures more than four million people and is characterised by a cooperative model, with members being the collective owners.

Insuring and caring

DELA was founded more than 80 years ago to ensure a dignified and worthy farewell for its members by insuring and organising funerals. Since our inception, DELA has focused on offering security, care and continuity.

From and for members

DELA is a cooperative. The interests and satisfaction of our members are our highest goal. They are our 'shareholders' and their insurance policies make them members of the cooperative. DELA’s Executive Board and Supervisory Board are accountable to the general meeting. The cooperative model is a unique safeguard for the interests of policyholders, whether they are active members or not.

Increasing membership, guaranteeing solidarity

In the interest of providing high-quality services to members for the lowest possible premium, DELA strives to increase the number of its members, strengthen solidarity and achieve purchasing benefits. Having initially only done this in the Netherlands, we have since branched out internationally. Ever since its inception, the cooperative has operated according to the motto ‘stronger together'.

Our members are the collective ‘owner’ of DELA and profits are for their benefit. This allows us to keep premiums low and cover the price increases of funeral services.


DELA consists of insurance and funeral companies in the Netherlands and Belgium. This includes 28 funeral homes and 21 crematoriums in the Netherlands, and 54 funeral homes and 4 crematoriums in Belgium. All ensure a dignified farewell to the departed every day. DELA has also been active in Germany as an insurer since 2018.

DELA entered the German market in 2018 and made a very successful start.

Financial buffers

DELA manages assets of more than €5.7 billion. Unlike non-life insurers, DELA has an insurance portfolio made up of long-term liabilities. This has consequences for our investment policy, which is therefore carefully aligned with our obligations. From the beginning we have built up financial buffers in good times to ensure sufficient reserves are in place when things are less rosy.

Employees and society

At the end of 2018, DELA had 1,985 employees (1,494 FTEs). Committed, honest and enterprising, they work tirelessly to expand our membership, give people quality insurance products, ensure good investment results, provide an excellent service and dignified funerals, and offer sustainable and cost-efficient management, all with a sense of pride and satisfaction. In addition, the cooperative contributes to solving challenges in our society wherever possible.


Key figures


  2018  2017  2016  2015  2014 
Customer satisfaction          
NPS 12-month average          
Netherlands 53  52  52  45  nb
Belgium 52  43  nb nb nb
Total (weighted by respondents) 53  49  nb nb nb
Netherlands, members  78.7   80.3   80.8   81.1   80.6 
Netherlands, non-members  65.4   64.5   64.7   63.4   62.5 
Netherlands (RepTrak pulse)  72.1   72.4   72.8   72.3   71.6 
Belgium ('DELA = the funeral specialist') 70% 72% 62% nb nb
Employee satisfaction          
‘Great Place to Work’ rating          
Netherlands 89  84  81  83  83 
Belgium 87  83  79  71  78 
Total 88  84  80  77  81 
FTEs, end of year          
Netherlands 1,115* 1,017  1,038  1,084  1,076 
Belgium 369  357  371  350  358 
Germany 11       
Total 1,495  1,380  1,409  1,434  1,434 
x € 1,000          
Insurance, premium income 450,782  434,773  399,569  367,088  341,438 
Insurance, other turnover 109  3,418  1,654  1,659  1,841 
Insurance 450,891  438,191  401,223  368,747  343,279 
Funeral home 113,475  116,082  118,853  123,280  121,443 
Turnover, excluding investment income 564,366  554,273  520,076  492,027  464,722 
Income from investments ‑139,287  422,973  333,402  107,458  257,985 
Total 425,079  977,246  853,478  599,485  722,707 

* Including an increase of 90 employees (65 FTEs) compared to the end of 2017 due to business acquisitions



  2018  2017  2016  2015  2014 
Balance sheet          
Unless otherwise stated: x € 1 million          
Balance sheet total 6,159  6,111  5,722  5,303  5,014 
Value of investments 5,686  5,742  5,293  4,793  4,599 
Insured capital 42,765  38,548  34,981  30,012  24,759 
Technical reserves 4,584  4,291  4,063  3,850  3,591 
Equity capital 1,048  1,251  1,016  878  903 
… as a percentage of the technical reserves 23% 29% 25% 23% 25%
Solvency II ratio 373% 309% 239%    
Distribution of profits and result          
x €1 million          
Distribution of profits 42  18  31  55  60 
Net result ‑203  235  137  ‑29  77 
CO2 emissions          
x 1 tonne, only DELA Netherlands          
SCOPE 1          
Gas consumption 4,133* 4,183  4,025     
Funeral transport 310  316  381     
Leased cars 1,541  1,589  1,812     
Other 82  82  98     
Total 6,066  6,170  6,316     
SCOPE 2          
Electricity ‑  625  924     
Total 628  927     
SCOPE 3          
Commuter travel 878  1,087  1,092     
Business travel 361  465  458     
Total 1,239  1,552  1,550     

* Estimated, not yet known


  2018  2017  2016  2015  2014 
Customer satisfaction          
NPS 12-month average          
Netherlands (excluding customer service) 43  42  41  28  nb
Belgium 39  30  nb nb nb
Total (weighted by respondents) 40  34  nb nb nb
Number at the end of the year          
Netherlands 3,218,355  3,176,382  3,129,427  3,073,020  2,982,980 
Belgium 835,392  758,456  724,868  686,576  666,293 
Germany 4,100  ‑  ‑  ‑  ‑ 
Total 4,057,847  3,934,838  3,854,295  3,759,596  3,649,273 
Premium income          
x €1,000          
Nederland Uitvaartplan (funerals) 257,445  254,172  246,915  242,541  235,293 
Nederland Leefdoorplan (life insurance) 26,044  23,947  20,706  14,959  10,096 
Nederland Spaarplan (savings) 58,091  57,741  39,808  24,215  12,110 
Total Netherlands 341,580  335,860  307,429  281,715  257,499 
Belgium 108,905  98,913  92,140  85,373  83,939 
Germany 297  ‑  ‑  ‑  ‑ 
Total 450,782  434,773  399,569  367,088  341,438 

Customer service

  2018  2017  2016  2015  2014 
Customer satisfaction          
NPS 12-month average          
Netherlands 35  32  26  32  nb
Belgium 32  26  nb nb nb
Total (weighted by respondents) 35  32  nb nb nb
Telephone contacts          
Netherlands 290,906  261,461       
Belgium 217,025  239,379       
Total 507,931  500,840       

Funeral home

  2018  2017  2016  2015  2014 
Customer satisfaction of surviving relatives          
NPS 12-month average          
Netherlands 71  70  68  58  nb
Belgium 74  71  nb nb nb
Total (weighted by respondents) 72  70  nb nb nb
Care of surviving relatives          
Number of conversations          
Netherlands (by telephone) 33,580  31,920       
Belgium (in person) 8,745  8,792       
Total 42,325  40,712       
Netherlands 33,422  31,821  31,433  31,264  29,730 
Belgium 11,461  11,795  11,793  12,720  12,262 
Total 44,883  43,616  43,226  43,984  41,992 
Number in own crematoriums          
Netherlands 23,984  22,781  22,341  20,889  18,329 
Belgium 8,367  10,013  12,658  13,050  16,263 
Total 32,351  32,794  34,999  33,939  34,592 
x €1,000          
Netherlands 188,635  182,508  179,613  179,129  168,922 
Belgium 52,520  54,602  54,980  56,810  55,453 
-/- internal turnover 127,680  121,028  115,740  112,659  102,932 
Total 113,475  116,082  118,853  123,280  121,443 
Average funeral costs 4,197  4,134  4,099  4,055  3,975 
€ Naturapolis, adult, Netherlands          
Increase compared to previous year 1.5% 0.9% 1.1% 2.0% 2.7%

Year in focus


  • Renovation and expansion of In Pace funeral centre in Oldenzaal (NL).


  • Opening of DELA Germany office in Düsseldorf. [1]


  • DELA declared winner of Great Place to Work (GPtW) award in the Netherlands and scores a solid seventh place in Belgium. [2]
  • Funeral service providers Uitvaartzorg Forrier and Vangrunderbeek open their doors in refurbished locations in Vilvoorde and Zaventem (B). [3]


  • DELA opens its head office in Eindhoven (NL) after a thorough renovation leading to increased sustainability. A publicly accessible restaurant is located on the ground floor. [4]
  • DELA starts selling insurance in Germany and is given a five-star product ranking from Morgen & Morgen.
  • Culmination of the Final Footprint Challenge (NL), a platform for sharing sustainable solutions with the funeral industry and the rest of the world. The Ecor/Chistann partnership wins with an almost CO2-neutral coffin which people can receive by post and put together by themselves. [5]


  • Het Zeeuwse Land crematorium inaugurated in Goes (NL). [6]


  • DELA Netherlands introduces ‘‘zit-lig-kist’ coffin as an innovation in an increasingly personal funeral industry.


  • DELA starts building new funeral home on grounds of Zegestede crematorium in Roosendaal (NL).
  • DELA Beach Open finals take place. [7]


  • Funeral service provider Uitvaartzorg Lantmeeters – Geyskens in Genk (B) welcomed into the DELA family.


  • Migration of approximately 41,800 policies to DELA as a result of earlier acquisition of Hooghenraed portfolio.
  • DELA reaches new record, with four million policyholders!
  • DELA charity fund awards the ‘golden Venus of Milo’, with Imke Emons designated as the most inspiring Dutch person with a disability. [8]
  • 1,000th insurance policy taken out in Germany.


  • The beautiful new Bleyaert funeral home opens its doors in Knokke (B). [9]
  • Auditorium of funeral service provider Uitvaartzorg Marote in Ostend (B) given makeover.
  •  ‘Mijn herinnering aan jou’ (‘My memory of you’) app, designed to help people process their grief, launched by DELA Belgium. More than 1,200 users have already installed. [10]
  • DELA funeral care plan voted best funeral insurance in Belgium in 2018 by DECAVI, a research institute active in the insurance sector.


  • DELA Netherlands is featured in Radar television programme by broadcaster AVROTROS to provide clarity on the fingerprints issue. [11]
  • DELA connects the generations during GLOW light art festival in Eindhoven (NL). Colleagues from all over the country and more than 40 elderly people and 25 young people from Zonnebloem walk along the route covering the highlights of GLOW over two evenings.
  • DELA Germany achieves sufficient number of observations for customer satisfaction rating and is designated as being 'very good'. [12]


  • New workplaces for funeral-service providers Uitvaartzorg Remans in Genk (B) and Uitvaartzorg Lambrecht in Blankenberge (B).
  • Gifts for children from families who depend on the food bank placed under Christmas trees at the head office in Eindhoven by DELA charity fund together with Samen voor Eindhoven foundation. [13]
  • Funeral service providers Uitvaartzorg Bemelmans in Trooz (B) and Laloux-Chaudoir in Salzinnes (B) are still in development, and will be ready in early 2019.
  • Rating agency Assekurata gives DELA in Germany an A rating ('strong credit, stable outlook'). [12]

Vision and strategy

DELA has been around for more than 80 years, and our mission has remained faithful to that of our founders throughout this time. We have a robust business model and principles that determine how we create value for our stakeholders. Our long-term strategy and bold objectives show the way to the future.


DELA is a cooperative that focuses on continuity of life. We assist members with advice and a broad range of financial and practical services which ensure they can be as carefree as possible when looking to the future. DELA's mission is: ‘we provide each other with security, care and continuity.’

Business model

DELA’s members and management together guarantee the continuity of the cooperative and ensure that the concept will continue to function and flourish for years to come. The business model is simple and revolves around:

  • Bundling the purchasing power of as many members as possible;
  • Cost-efficient purchasing and organisation of dignified funerals;
  • Structural value creation for stakeholders by achieving the four main goals;
  • Guaranteeing our social responsibility and relevance. Our operations should place the smallest possible burden on the environment while contributing to a society in which everyone matters and all can participate.

Ambition: a bold goal that is clear to all

Where do we want to go? What is our ultimate ambition? Both our mission and strategy are reflected in the bold goal we have formulated for the DELA Group for the coming decade: ‘by 2030, we will have five million members in Europe who provide each other with security, care and continuity."

The goal of DELA Netherlands specifically in the current planning period focuses on social engagement and excellent service provision in particular. It states that ‘by 2020, DELA will be the most committed cooperative and give life more meaning.’

DELA Belgium is in a phase of growth, both organically and through acquisitions. Its goal for this planning period is to build up name recognition and reputation. Its goal states: ‘by 2020, DELA will be the foremost funeral specialist in Belgium and a warm family for all other families.’

Due to its recent creation, no goal has been formulated for DELA Germany as of 2018 other than making a strong entrance into the German market.

Our main goals: this is how we create value

We measure our performance across four main goals. Reaching these goals enables us to create value for our main stakeholders.

  • Our members: Do members and customers recommend our services? The indicator for this goal is our net promoter scores.
  • Our finances: To what extent can we continue to distribute profits among our members, now and in the future? The relevant indicator here is the expected average distribution of profit.
  • Our people: Do our employees think DELA is the best company to work in? Workplace pride and satisfaction are measured via the annual Great Place to Work (GPtW) survey.
  • Our environment: What does the outside world think of DELA? As the indicator for this goal, we have the Reputation Institute monitor how we are perceived in the Netherlands. In Belgium, we keep track of the perception of DELA as the foremost funeral specialist.

Multi-year strategy: our future plans

The course for the DELA cooperative is essentially timeless and equally relevant every year. Our strategy, however, is tailored to the planning period and reflects the phase in which we find ourselves as a company. At a group level, the strategy can be summarised as follows:

  • Strengthen our position in our core markets of the Netherlands and Belgium by expanding product propositions and acquisitions;
  • Use international expansion to increase the number of members, generating more and more economies of scale;
  • Enhance the agility, digital mastery and adaptability of our organisation to ensure that DELA meets the expectations of its members now and in the future by providing excellent services and cost-efficient operations;
  • Develop our ​social responsibility and relevance, and introduce relevant products and services containing the DELA DNA (under the name ‘DELA connects’).

Implementation 2018

The following strategic focus points applied in the year under review:

DELA Group Increasing the number of members;
  Improving, expanding and guaranteeing the quality of our services;
  Enhancing our digital expertise and data management and use;
  Standardising the short-cycle management model;
  Embedding socially responsible, sustainable and transparent operations better in our cooperative, and making them more visible.
DELA Netherlands Strengthening our position in private funeral sector;
  Safeguarding the outcomes of the cost reduction programme;
  Starting up a project to replace major underwriting systems.
DELA Belgium Strengthening our position in private funeral sector;
  Growth through acquisitions and the integration of the portfolio acquired from Belgian funeral insurer Hooghenraed;
  Implementing the cost-reduction programme.
DELA Germany Building an organisation and opening our own office;
  Introducing the DELA brand, starting with the insurance advisor industry;
  Starting the sale of life insurance policies.

Personal details of Executive Board members


Edzo Doeve (1956), Chair

Male, Dutch citizen. Position in the DELA Group: Chair of Executive Board (since 2004). Position in DELA Netherlands: Managing Director (since 2004) with a focus on general policy, cooperation, insurance and funeral management, HRM, communication, CSR, internal audit, legal affairs and compliance. Employment period: indefinite. Other positions: Chair of Executive Board of national funeral museum Tot Zover, Member of Supervisory Board and Chair of Audit Committee of Eindhoven 365, Chair of Stichting Promotors Van Abbemuseum, Board Member of DELA charity fund.


Jack van der Putten (1959), Deputy Chair

Male, Dutch citizen. Position in the DELA Group: Member of Executive Board and Deputy Chair (since 2010). Position in DELA Netherlands: director (since 2010) with a focus on IT, purchasing, customer experience, customer process team and customer service. Position in DELA Belgium: CEO. Employment period: indefinite. Other positions: Member of Executive Board of DELA charity fund, Chair of Stichting Onbeperkt Genieten.


Jon van Dijk RA (1957), Member

Male, Dutch citizen. Position in the DELA Group: Member of Executive Board (since 2014) and CFRO. Position in DELA Netherlands: Financial Director (since 1994) with a focus on finance, control, actuarial, risk management and investments, including the real estate organisation. Employment period: indefinite. Other positions: Treasurer of Stichting Los Niños, Member of Executive Board of DELA charity fund, Member of Supervisory Board, Member of Finance & Real Estate Audit Committee of Regionale Stichting Zorgcentra de Kempen.


Personal details on the members of the Supervisory Board


Wim van den Goorbergh (1948), Chair

Male, Dutch citizen. Appointed in 2007, currently serving third and final term, which will end on 25/05/2019. Other positions: Chair of Supervisory Board of NIBC Bank NV (until 26/04/2019), Chair of Executive Board of Stichting Administratiekantoor Heijmans, Chair of Stichting Administratiekantoor ANWB, Chair of Executive Board of Vereniging AEGON, Chair of Supervisory Board of Leyden Academy on Vitality and Ageing BV, Member of Appeals Board of Tuchtrecht Banken, Chair of Stichting Leefbaarheid Luchthaven Eindhoven.


Corjo Jansen (1961), Deputy Chair

Male, Dutch citizen. Appointed in 2012, currently serving second term. Other positions: Chair of Business and Law Research Centre of Radboud University Nijmegen, Chair of Executive Board of Titus Brandsma Institute Nijmegen, Chair of Scientific Advisory Board of Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome.


Jan Pieter de Pender (1961), Secretary

Male, Dutch citizen. Appointed in 2009, currently serving third and final term. Other positions: professor and exam secretary at De Nassau Scholengemeenschap Breda.


Willemien Caderius van Veen (1959)

Female, Dutch citizen. Appointed in 2014 and reappointed for a second term in the current year. Other positions: Management Consultant/Interim Manager/Owner of Caadje BV, Member of Supervisory Board of housing association Waterweg Wonen, Chair of Supervisory Board of pension fund for agricultural and food supply sector, Chair of Supervisory Board of Distillers Group Toorank BV, Chair of Supervisory Board of Stichting Pensioenfonds Openbaar Vervoer, Chair of Review Committee of Pensioenfonds Lloyds Register Rotterdam.


Hans Leenaars (1952)

Male, Dutch citizen. Appointed in 2015, currently serving first term. Other positions: professor emeritus in administrative information management at University of Amsterdam, Chair of Supervisory Board of Chassé Theater NV, Chair of Cultuurfonds Chassé Theater, Member of Executive Board of Stichting John van Geunsfonds, Chair of Advisory Board of ILFA Group.


Georges de Méris (1961)

Male, Dutch citizen. Appointed in 2019, currently serving first term. Other positions: Partner in Corporate Finance at Forensics & Recovery Joanknecht, Member of Supervisory Board of Omroep Brabant, Chair of Elefunds, Member of Executive Board of Theaterfestival Boulevard, Member of Executive Board of Rotary 's-Hertogenbosch.


Van van der Weg (1955)

Male, Dutch citizen. Appointed in 2015, currently serving first term. Other positions: Director of Stichting Merita, Director of Quality Assurance for Stichting Kwaliteitsgarantie Vleeskalversector, Director-Owner of Macotra BV.


Appointment after publication of this annual report


John van de Steen (1954), Chair of Supervisory Board from 25/05/2019

Male, Dutch citizen. Other positions: Chair of Supervisory Board of BinckBank NV, Chair of Supervisory Board of Princess Sportsgear & Traveller BV, Member of Executive Board of Stichting Donateurs van het Koninklijk Concertgebouw Orkest, Member of Executive Board of Stadhold Insurances SA, Member of Executive Board of Vereniging AEGON, Owner of Ansteen Holding BV.


All Supervisory Board members sit on Supervisory Boards of DELA Coöperatie UA, DELA Holding NV and DELA Natura- en Levensverzekeringen NV.