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Interview of the week

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Theodor ALEXANDRESCU, General Manager, ALICO Asigurari Romania


2010 was a good year for ALICO Asigurari Romania, a year of growth, in one word: profitable. The growth was sustained by the projects launched in 2009, when we extended the distribution lines and the types of products. The results were visible last year and they will be so in 2011, too.

XPRIMM: How do you assess 2010, considering the results of ALICO Asigurari Romania?
Theodor ALEXANDRESCU: 2010 was a good year for ALICO Asigurari Romania, a year of growth, in one word: profitable. The growth was sustained by the projects launched in 2009, when we extended the distribution lines and the types of products. The results were visible last year and they will be so in 2011, too.

XPRIMM: What are the 2011 perspectives for the life insurance segment?
T. A.: 2011 is marked by optimism, the development of this year being based on increasing the professionalism in the life insurance industry. Also, the implementation of Solvency II will provide better corporative governance for the insurance companies. The project is a legislative initiative and the insurance companies will adapt their practices to the good operating conditions provided by this directive. This program will also make the companies more transparent, more financially solid and the protection provided for the insured will improve.
Other implemented programs with a similar goal are the norm issued by the Insurance Supervisory Commission, related to the activity of insurance brokers, and the norm for agents’ licensing.
If referring to takeovers and acquisitions at a market level, we estimate 2011 as being a year of market consolidation, as those companies that did not have positive financial results will try to limit their activity in Romania and redefine their strategy, these companies being the ones more likely to be taken over.  
ALICO is always paying attention to the opportunities in the market and we evaluate the initiatives that might help us grow our profit. In such situations, the companies are assessed by certain criteria: client portfolio, distribution (direct or outsourced), management – valuable if the company is taken over by a group or company that isn’t present on the local market.

XPRIMM: We have noticed that in 2010 the life insurance market’s evolution was supported by unit–linked products. Which do you consider to be the most wanted types of life insurance in 2011?
T. A.: The segment that is continuously developing even this year is the unit–linked section (with an investment component), if there are no changes in the legislation on insurance premiums tax deductibility and no initiative for a healthcare reform. If these initiatives were to be put into practice, then health and life insurance provided with tax deductibility would certainly be the growth factor.
I find it relevant to underline the difference between the products with guaranteed benefits and the investment products with guarantees offered by structured products.
In the first case, the benefits are warranted by the company through its own capital and in the second case the guarantees are offered by the eminent of the structured products.
Other insurance products that will register growth in 2011 are those distributed through banks; standard products that offer financial benefits and protection, being attached to a banking product or purchased separately.
The products distributed through insurance brokers shall register a setback due to the legislation.
Similarly, in the absence of an adequate legislation, the products offered as employee benefits will also stagnate, even with the high development potential under favorable legal context.

XPRIMM: Considering the economical context of 2011, what will be your market strategy for this year?
T. A.: We shall develop through organic growth, but also through potential distribution acquisitions that offer perspectives of new branch openings in other cities: Targu Mures, Sibiu, Satu–Mare.
We are planning to develop new partnerships with banks, to be able to offer to our clients individual policies, offered at the counter by a bank officer (OTC), at the client’s disposal, as well as to prepare the Employee Benefits Department, with the purpose of making available for the clients competitive packages, once this market “opens”. Currently, this domain is unexploited due to lack of tax incentives.
Regarding product strategy, we are preparing group insurance, health insurance and insurance with a savings component for the pension period, along with individual health products.
Concerning the investment of our assets into secure instruments, we are seriously analyzing the Property fund that represents business potential for us.
At a global level, after the acquisition from November 1st, 2010, ALICO is now part of MetLife Inc., which is a global leader in insurance, annuities and employee benefits programs, offering now services for 90 million clients in over 60 countries. Due to the cumulative experience at an international level of MetLife and ALICO, we have the possibility, in the near future, to put to our client’s disposal even more instruments that would help them protect their future, financially speaking.
 
XPRIMM: What is your message for the brokerage market and for the distribution partners you are collaborating with?
T. A.: I believe that our current partners, as well as our potential ones should know that we are prepared with a training program and logistic support to increase competitiveness and professionalism of insurance brokers. We have the ways and necessary resources to support adapting and redirecting them towards a consultative type of distribution.

XPRIMM: What is your forecast for this year?
T. A.: For us, 2011 will be a year of growth, of company’s development, supported by so many products and services for the client’s benefits, as well as through the corporative governance practices that we will continue: risk management, control and audit.

| Published on 10.02.2011






















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