Bogdan ANDRIESCU, President, UNSICAR
The perspectives of the brokerage market are, in my point of view, extremely positive. Taking into account the evolution in 2009, when the brokerage market registered an increase, both in volume and as a share of insurance premiums, I consider that we will also register a growth in 2010.
XPRIMM: Which do you think will be the main trends of evolution of the brokerage market, in 2010, in the current economic context?
Bogdan ANDRIESCU: The perspectives of the brokerage market are, in my point of view, extremely positive. Taking into account the evolution in 2009, when the brokerage market registered an increase, both in volume and as a share of insurance premiums, I consider that we will also register a growth in 2010. Although it will be a small one, not spectacular, it will have a special significance: most clients already trust brokers and, to an increasingly large extent, the others are also orienting to the counceling of brokers.
Customers who collaborate with brokers for years have already seen the benefits of working with them. In addition, they can compare products, especially on the retail segment, considered to be the "queen of the market" for several years.
On the other hand, I wish there were more brokers specialized in different areas, e.g. car brokers, who can compare the offers and explain all the advantages and disadvantages. They should have a high purchasing power, being able to negotiate advantageous prices.
XPRIMM: When referring to the economic changes following the crisis, what impact did they have on the insurance brokerage market? Were declines felt in the area of individual customers or in the corporate area?
B.A.: There were registered premiums decreases, in absolute value. Thus, primarily because of the crisis, insurance and reinsurance companies have operated price cuts, amid increasing competition. On the other hand, the underwritings have also diminished to some extent, especially on the corporate segment. Instead, we observed a tendency of owners to become more careful with their belongings and to protect them through insurance.
Also, some insurance owners have renegotiated contracts, in order to optimize both risks and costs.
For example, we found a drastic reduction in the lines of insurance for employees, "employee benefits" type.
Meanwhile, the insured have no longer oriented their choices only by the price criterion, but have also become extremely careful with the insurance company, analyzing how it could have been influenced by the crisis.
We can say that this economic period represents a time of triage, both of agents and of brokers, by the criterion of competence, and that is only to the market’s advantage.
XPRIMM: Referring to the professionalization of brokers, at this moment there are some normative acts in work that will regulate this area. What are the effects they will have on the market?
B.A.: I think 2010 will be the year of the start of professionalization of brokers, and not only, but also of the insurance agents and of the insurance market in general. So far, we have made efforts, in various directions, to professionalize the staff, those working in the insurance area, through courses, events, seminars. Thus, we tried, as much as possible, to compensate for the absence of such a continuous professionalization, which aims to complete the picture of the insurance system in Romania, with beneficial effects only.
For starters, in a first stage, the broker will get a license, then the continuous training will follow, consisting of a minimum number of hours that it will go through, in an annual professional training form.
Anyway, it is only natural to happen like this; more than that, there will be brought clarifications regarding the status of liquidators, of the loss adjusters, because they basically have a different segment of professional training than brokering. Basically, there are two different jobs, and training will therefore be different.
XPRIMM: What are the actions that UNSICAR has undertaken recently to enhance the degree of professional training in insurance?
B. A.: The UNSICAR publishing house, newly appeared, is part of this area of professional training, but especially of that of the general public information. We intended to cover, as much as possible, a number of “empty spots” in this area, and to publish books that both the insurance market and the related industries need. The first work is the most updated version of the "Dictionary of Insurance", published in Great Britain, at Financial Times Prentice Hall. A second book comes to meet, in particular, the insurance specialists and those in state institutions that are involved in determining guilt in accidents. The work includes a series of causes, together with the way of addressing them in Germany, translated by Sorin GRECEANU and Mihai WEBER. This book is also very useful to all drivers who travel in Romania and, especially, in Europe.
XPRIMM: What message do you have for the industry and what objectives have you set for this mandate, as President of UNSICAR? Are we talking about a new beginning or about a continuation?
B.A.: Naturally, the activity as President of UNSICAR is a continuation of what we achieved in the past years, but you should not overlook the fact that we are in a time of change. Thus, the IMD will change (editor’s note: Insurance Mediation Directive, which governs the activitiy of insurance brokers), and changes will be minor. In this sense, there must be done a major lobbying activity.
Meanwhile, the main event of the year will be the 10th anniversary of the founding of UNSICAR, moment which will be marked by an event at the end of 2010. We will also try to reposition ourselves in front of brokers members, our goal being to raise the quality standards of those who join this professional union.
We intend to encourage small companies. Brokering is an advantage of professionalization, of the man who wants to learn, who knows his profession, and from these small businesses, with a lot of patience and a lot of daring, one can reach a relatively large volume of business, enough to provide outstanding personal satisfaction.
XPRIMM: Thank you!
| Published on 25.02.2010