ROMANIA: COVID-19 pandemic changes populantion's perception of risks, reduces revenues, and changes consumer behavior
Following the reduced incomes and the changes on the employment segment, the COVID-19 pandemic also produced changes in Romanians' perception of risks and consumption behavior, according to the latest UNSAR-IRES Barometer.
The complete results of the annual sociological research conducted by IRES (the Romanian Institute for Evaluation and Strategy), at the request of UNSAR (the Romanian National Union of Insurance and Reinsurance Societies), will be published this month.
Thus, according to the Barometer, 63% of the Romanians over 18 years old stated they have incomes like those before the emergency state was established, while 28% of them now have lower incomes. In the 18-50 years category, the share of Romanians whose incomes remained the same is 49%, while the share of those with reduced incomes is 38%.
As a consequence, most Romanians say they will moderate their spending and will postpone purchases in the next period: 57% of those over 18 years old say they will no longer buy a car, and 54% will not go on vacation abroad this year. Despite the context with increased risks, the insurance industry is not immune to those trends, being mentioned among the expenses that can be reduced.
At the same time, according to the study, 31% of Romanians are now more interested in home insurance, 28% are more interested in voluntary health insurance products, and one-fifth (20%) are more open to financial protection solutions to cover unemployment.
In what concerns the financial stability, more than half of the Romanians over 18 years old (55%) say they have savings to rely on in the next period (compared to 63% of those between 18-50 years old). A smaller share, 31%, consider they will continue to save money, given the lower or postponed expenses. Among the financial saving instruments preferred by Romanians (18=50 years old) to often be mentioned are banking deposit, buying currency and life insurance with a saving component.
Adrian MARIN, President of UNSAR, said:
"2020 is totally atypical year for each of us, and the UNSAR-IRES Barometer has been extended to questions about the challenges Romanians are facing in the new context, that concerns us all. Our mission - to properly inform Romanians about risks and insurance - is doubled this year by consolidating the joint efforts of the entire economy to respond as well as possible to the effects generated by the pandemic and to support the economic recovery."
The study was conducted by IRES, at UNSAR's request, in May 2020, on a baseline sample of 1,309 people aged between 18-50 years and a screening sample of 2,555 people over the age of 18, by the CATI method (Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing), with a maximum tolerated error of +/- 2.7% for the base sample and +/- 2% for the screening sample.
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