Viorel VASILE, Managing Partner, SAFETY Broker
In our opinion, the insurance brokerage market will not decrease compared with 2008, but it will not register an increase of more than 5% in 2009. Starting 2010, provided that the national economy will start to show signs of life again, particularly through fundraising in the economic circuit, automatically the insurance market, namely that of insurance brokers, will also resume its upward course.
XPRIMM: How were the Romanian brokerage market and, thus, your company's
results, affected by the financial crisis? Which are the insurance classes
that have suffered the greatest decreases?
Viorel VASILE: In a global economic environment strongly affected
by the collapse of capital markets and by the temporary lack of cash,
the Romanian insurance brokerage market recorded, in our opinion, a decrease
in mediated volumes, as an effect of cutdown of activity of the corporate
Regarding SAFETY Broker de Asigurare, we tried to benefit from this troubled
period and to attract new clients across the country through direct sales,
especially in the retail area. In order to implement this strategy, we
have started an action of nationwide expansion, by opening more sales
points in major cities, and also by developing our own franchise network.
The insurance classes that have suffered the biggest depreciation are
the life insurance ones, and mainly those with capital accumulation,
XPRIMM: How do you consider the brokerage market will evolve by the
end of the year? But in 2010?
V. V.: In our opinion, the insurance brokerage market will not decrease
compared with 2008, but it will not register an increase of more than
5% in 2009. Starting 2010, provided that the national economy will start
to show signs of life again, particularly through fundraising in the
economic circuit, automatically the insurance market, namely that of
insurance brokers, will also resume its upward course.
XPRIMM: What were the consequences of limiting the commission fee
to 15% for MTPL policies and how did this affect the profitability of
the brokerage activity?
V. V.: Limiting the commission for the MTPL policies to the maximum
threshold of 15% of the value of insurance premiums has had an impact
on the cash-flow of insurance brokers. A major negative impact of this
limitation was suffered especially by the brokers who focused mainly
on this type of insurance, some of them coming even to the point of abandoning
XPRIMM: What do you think is the most acute problem of the market
for the next period? Which are the solutions for the development of the
brokerage market in times of crisis?
V. V.: The most acute problem of insurance brokers in this time of
crisis, when large corporate clients have difficulties, is the attempt
to keep them active and to offer optimal solutions.
At the same time, developing the retail market is and will be, in our
opinion, the medium and long term solution.
The role of the insurance broker in this economic period is very important
because he, besides the ability to sell insurance products, must also
have good professional training, in order to correcty present all the
elements of the insurance product to the customer and thus to persuade
him of the importance and the necessity of buying an insurance policy,
by offering complete services: risk analysis, selling the policy and,
in addition, advice in case of claim. Thus, as the customer becomes more
and more aware of the importance of the insurance broker, he saves time,
gets the best offers on the market and benefits from technical support
that he would not have had if he had bought the policy directly from
an insurance company.
XPRIMM: How will the share of brokers' mediations in the total of
the underwritings evolve? (In 2008, it was 27%, and in Q1/2009, 23%,
in decrease). What share do you estimate for the current year?
V. V.: In general, the analysis made at half a year is not very conclusive,
because the insurance brokerage market is focused on motor insurance.
Car fleet renewals are made at the end of each year and the decrease
registered in the first half of 2009 compared with the previous period
of last year is not relevant.
In our opinion, the brokerage market will grow compared to last year,
although the growth will not be more than 5%, and thus the share in the
total insurance market will remain the same as last year.
XPRIMM: How did the crisis influence people's perception regarding
insurance? Which insurance classes have development potential in the
V. V.: Insurance has always been an alternative to reduce the risk
and, except for the situations in which it has a mandatory character
imposed by the law, the insurance contract is random. Thus, we believe
that the general perception of customers was not affected by this economic
downturn, but only their availability to buy insurance policies, due
to the lack of cash on the market.
Regarding the possibility of development, we would go for property insurance,
and also liability insurance, in general, as having "an appetite" for
XPRIMM: Two months ago, the amicable report of road accidents was
introduced. What is the role of the broker, as a representative of the
client in this regard, and what has been achieved so far?
V. V.: The role of the broker is to advise and actively assist clients
in using the amicable report and throughout the elaboration of the claims
file. It is natural for the insurance broker to be immediately by the
client's side in difficult moments, which is why SAFETY Broker developed
a specialized department to support its clients throughout the process
of elaboration of claims files.
XPRIMM: What are the expected results of the company you represent
at the end of this year, compared to the previous year?
V. V.: For 2009, SAFETY Broker estimates an increase of 10% (approximately
EUR 11 million - gross written premiums) compared to the previous year,
due to the retail lines and due to the territorial development, with
its own sales points and franchises.
XPRIMM: Thank you!
Editor: Mihai CRACEA
| Published on 01.10.2009