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Florina VIZINTEANU, President of the Board, BCR Asigurari de Viata VIG


Insurers must focus on educating the customer, in terms of life insurance as a very useful savings and protection tool in times of economic crisis. Our clients understand that having life insurance is an effective way to provide shelter for themselves in case of the impact of unpleasant events.

XPRIMM: BCR Asigurari de Viata has achieved the most spectacular evolution after the first nine months of 2009, being the only company in Top 10 Life which ended the period on growth. What were the factors that contributed to this evolution and what do you expect from 2010?
Florina VIZINTEANU:
Indeed, BCR Asigurari de Viata is one of the few companies in the profile market that registered a positive evolution in 2009, due to the stake on retail and on bancassurance - selling through the BCR network.
The factors that contributed to the significant evolution that we have registered in the first nine months were, mainly, the performances registered by the bancassurance channel - in fact, we are market leaders on this line, but also the launch of products with very high demand, such as the index-linked product BCR GARANT, limited edition. At the same time, we must mention the increase of underwritings for unit-linked insurance and for traditional life insurance.
In 2010, we will continue to focus mainly on bancassurance and on retail - winning new customers and retaining them. We keep on aiming a turnover growth, with a pace superior to that of the market, as well as the increase of the market share.

XPRIMM: In the beginning of 2009 you were affirming that the stake in 2009 must be placed on retention. How has the lapsing rate, respectively the new-business volume evolved during 2009?
F. V.:
In terms of new-business volume, the only decreases were recorded in the segment of life loan, the one related to bank loans. We have also registered lapsing cases, but insignificant ones.

XPRIMM: What is the way in which insurance companies should approach their customers in this time of crisis? What measures have you taken to persuade customers not to give up life insurance?
F. V.:
Insurers must focus on educating the customer, in terms of life insurance as a very useful savings and protection tool in times of economic crisis. Our clients understand that having life insurance is an effective way to provide shelter for themselves in case of the impact of unpleasant events.
In addition, it can provide the achievement of important goals: a successful start of the child in the adult life, an extra income or even a pension equal to the income from the active period etc. In fact, whatever the economic context, people need to be protected and to save money over time. Giving up life insurance is not the solution to handle the costs of living.

XPRIMM: What evolution has the unit-linked insurance had in 2009 and how did the clients perceive the new index-linked product of BCR Asigurari de Viata - BCR GARANT?
F. V.:
Our unit-linked investment programs saw increases in volume of gross written premiums on all three types of unit-linked funds: Piano (low risk), Forte (medium risk) and Fortissimo (high risk).
As for the new index-linked product BCR GARANT, limited edition, launched by BCR Asigurari de Viata together with ERSTE Bank and BCR, the demand was very high.
Index-linked is a premium, modern product, related to bonds and stock exchange indexes. This is a novelty on the Romanian market, because it has an unique insurance premium and it has as target those who want to save safely, guaranteed, on an average period of time - mainly, seven years.
Initially, we launched the product in lei and in euro. The two thresholds have been sold before the estimated time. Because the demand was so high, we supplemented the threshold in euro, and it also was sold before time, in just one week since the launch.
The very high demand is explainable: the minimum yield guaranteed at the last issuing in euro is 145.56%, applied to the value of the insurance premium, with the ability to grow up to a maximum yield of 155%.
During this period of crisis, people with investment appetite needed a product with guaranteed minimum yield, higher than the one offered by traditional banking instruments.

XPRIMM: How profitable are, for insurers, the bancassurance partnerships and what development has this alternative method of sale had, for the company you represent? Do you intend to further develop this segment?
F. V.:
BCR Asigurari de Viata is the leader in bancassurance. This is a sales channel that is in the center of our development, built in a sustainable and healthy manner and that we want to continue developing.
The Romanian market has a great potential for the development of bancassurance activity. If two - three years ago bancassurance meant only bank loans related insurance, in 2008 we launched the first individual unit-linked insurance, that is life insurance with investment programs attached, which we also sell through the BCR network, because it fits very well the bank customers.
Previously, we had launched the voluntary private pensions fund, which, in the same way, is also sold through the BCR network.
During this period, we built all that bancassurance activity means - processes, operations, products, training.
And the BCR network is a professional one, developed in all respects and very effective.

XPRIMM: Thank you!


Editor: Mihaela CIRCU | Published on 14.01.2010






















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