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Bart De Smet was born in 1957 and is a Belgian national. He earned a degree in mathematical sciences from the Catholic University of Louvain (KULeuven), but also has diplomas in Actuarial Sciences (KULeuven)and Managerial Sciences (KULeuven).

He began his career with Argenta in 1982. From 1985 to 1993, he served as Executive Vice President of the Life division at the Belgian subsidiary of the Swiss insurance company Nationale Suisse.
In 1994, he joined ING Insurance Belgium, where he was a member of the ExCo, responsible for individual and group life insurance, health insurance & banking activities. Bart De Smet moved to Fortis in 1998, where he was a member of the management committee of Fortis AG and responsible for Fortis Employee Benefits.

In 2005, he took charge of the Broker Channel at Fortis Insurance Belgium, assuming the position of CEO of Fortis Insurance Belgium in 2007. In June 2009 he became CEO of Fortis, which was renamed Ageas following the AGM in April 2010.