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
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,
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