The 23rd edition of FIAR - The International Insurance-Reinsurance Forum, the traditional East-European event dedicated to the insurance sector, took place between 22 - 24 May 2022 in Bucharest, Romania.
Representatives of the Romanian Financial Supervisory Authority, as well as members of the Romanian authorities and of the international and local insurance associations, together with international and national professionals take part into interactive debates.
FIAR 2022 was supported by the following partners:
- With the Official Support of: UNSAR, UNSICAR, PRBAR, CFA Society Romania, ApPA
- Supporting organizations: IIS - International Insurance Society
- Official Partners: BAAR, ALLIANZ-TIRIAC, CITR
- Main Partners: VIG, EUROINS, CHIRIC & CHIRIC, S&T, LIFE IS HARD
- Partners: ASIROM VIG, DESTINE Broker, BRD Asigurari de Viata, GLOBASIG Broker, ERGO, MARSH, NEACSU & Asociatii, AON, ProFiduciaria, MEDIHELP International, FIVEPLUS, ASISOFT
- Media Partners: XPRIMM Insurance Report, xprimm.com, PIA
Daniel FLOREA, Deputy, Vicechairperson, Committee for Legal Matters, Discipline and Immunities, Chamber of Deputies of Romania
- Unfortunately, the pandemic also brought a lack of communication in all fields, including in insurance;
- The Romanian insurance industry became visible once again in the public space. We see many associations getting involved once more in financial education;
- I am happy to note that the Romanian insurance market reached 1.3% of GDP and I am certain that there's much more room for growth;
- I am convinced that, together, we will develop new legislative projects which will offer stability to the Romanian insurance market;
- At the current time, there are multiple legislative projects that aim to modify the Romanian insurance legislation. All these projects have high support. I am certain that, together, we will find the best solutions for the market;
Cristian ROSU, Vice-President, ASF:
- 2022 brought important changes in the structure of insurance sales;
- In the first quarter of 2022, the gross written premium on the MTPL segment in Romania reached almost 2.5 billion RON, 122% more compared with the first quarter of 2021;
- The Romanian Financial Supervisory Authority has always been open to the proposals coming from the insurance players on the market and I strongly believe that only through permanent dialogue we can maintain the current indicators;
- The Romanian life insurance market increased by 18% in 2021, and the trend maintains in the first part of 2022;
- Health insurance continued to grow in the first quarter of 2022 in Romania - the market reach gross written premiums of over 184 million RON in Q1 2022, over 22% more compared with the same period last year; The indemnities paid increased by 24%, to almost 80 million RON;
- As far as household insurance is concerned, we are far from the potential of this segment;
Adrian MARIN, President, UNSAR:
- In 2021, the Romanian insurance sector was responsible for approximately 1.3% of the Romanian GDP, increasing from 1.15% in 2020. However, the level is still low compared with the one reported in the CEE region (2.5%);
- According to recent research by UNSAR, for each 5 jobs in the insurance industry, other 6 jobs were supported;
- The increasing interest of clients for insurance is indicated by the 2021 results - a 24% increase of the market, which meant gross written premiums of 14.2 billion RON (2.86 billion EUR);
- General insurance in Romania represents 82% of the total GWP on the market. The motor insurance segments represent 75% of the gross written premiums on the general insurance market and 62% of the total GWP on the market;
- The industry managed to absorb the shock produced by the bankruptcy of CITY Insurance, a company which had over 3 million MTPL insurance policies;
- The combined ratio for all the general insurance classes was 121% in 2021, a 11% compared to the previous year. The combined ration on the MTPL segment was 161,63%.
- We can see a growing interest for insurance. 42% of Romanians are interested in health insurance, 37% in housing insurance, 32% in cyber risks insurance and 30% in life insurance. All these are growing compared to the previous years and were sustained by the industry's efforts and the supervisory authority's efforts for a better financial education.
- We are wishing for an insured Romania. We can do this through identifying / developing insurance solutions sustaining PNRR, shortening the protection gap (life, health, housing), identifying, or generating solutions to protect the environment and, also, financial education.
- The vast majority of companies have adapted their business to the new context - I am referring in particular to the damage caused by COVID-19 in the area of health and travel. The role of insurance was relevant when, between March 2020 and August 2021 alone, insurance companies paid over EUR 9.37 million in health and life insurance policies related to the risks associated with COVID-19;
- The Romanian insurance industry is not without its challenges, such as: The reputation of the industry; Protection deficit: individuals and companies; MTPL: technical indicators under pressure; High frequency of road accidents; The need for legislative stability;
Petr JAKUBIK, Financial Stability Team Leader, EIOPA
- Extensive fiscal measures and accommodative monetary policy constrained the economic impact of COVID-19;
- Fiscal and monetary space has been substantially reduced due to COVID-19. The pandemic reduced the economic resilience and the room for maneuver for a future crisis;
- Significant market losses in March 2020 were broadly recovered even within the year;
- A clear trend toward digitalization was intensified by the crisis. This trend highlighted the importance of cyber risk with a negative effect on financial firms' operational risk;
- The Covid-19 crisis caused more extensive work from home, the question is to which extend this this trend will revert back to pre-pandemic situation with implications to commercial real estate prices. We might not go back to the pre-pandemic situation;
- We moved from one crisis to another: getting out of the pandemic crisis in early 2022, Russian invaded Ukraine on 24 February 2022. The inflation that has been elevated driven by energy prices before the war has been further pushed up;
- Accommodative monetary policy is phasing out to control inflation;
- The yield curve has been moved up from ultra low to 2013 levels;
- All developments on the back of green and digital transformations, as well as the demographic trends with population ageing need to be taken into account;
- The macroeconomic outlook is uncertain. On the one hand, we are experiencing lower growth prospects and higher inflation. In April, in EA (EU), the inflation reached 7.4% (8.1%) with core 3.5% (4.1%). The latest EC forecasts for 2022 indicate a growth from 4% revised down to 2.7% & inflation from 3.5% revised up to 6.1%. Moreover, the EC projections are assuming severe disruption to natural gas imports (0.2% growth and 9.1% inflation for 2022). On the other hand, market corrections could materialise given the war consequences and tighter monetary policy that central banks are implementing. A more severe impact with double digit inflation figures can be triggered by cut-off of gas supplies from Russia and further intensification of the supply bottlenecks due to China's Covid-zero policy and subsequent substantial increase of risk premia;
- The direct impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on European insurers is limited: European insurers have limited activities in the Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian markets; a low number of EEA groups are active in those countries through subsidiaries, whose size are small compared to the groups; major movements where observed on derivatives linked to commodities and energy related commodities, but very limited exposures for insurers;
- However, the second hand effects could be higher - with regards to assets, two areas are most relevant: the exposures to the banking sector and the exposure to sectors of the economy that are more sensitive to energy and gas prices; losses in those sectors could have spill-over effects to insurers through losses on investments; furthermore, lower economic growth could significantly affect new as well as existing businesses;
- The European insurance sector entered 2022 with solid capital buffers, an improvement is observed for life and composite insurers while a slight decline for non-life insurers. An improvement is observed for life and composite insurers while a slight decline for non-life insurers. The median SCR ratio for life solo undertakings went from 216% in Q4-2020 to 225% in Q4-2021. The median SCR ratio for non-life insurers slightly decreased from 218% towards 211%, probably due to the increase in interest rates;
- European insurers need to pay attention to inflation;
- Non-life claims and expenses reserved by insurers might need to be adjusted to reflect the increase in inflation; insurers usually set aside technical provisions whose calculation uses an assumption about inflation development;
- An important dimension is the length of the settlement period; longer duration cumulates an unexpected one-off increase in inflation over more years;
- Non-life liabilities typically have a duration of several years in fact 55% of technical provisions have duration longer than 2 years;
- Duration of non-life technical provisions depends on business lines;
- We definitely face many challenges in terms of EU economy, we have high volatility, with potential impact on derivative markets. We definitely need to factor in the inflation numbers;
Matteo CARBONE, Founder and Director, IoT Insurance Observatory
- Rumors about the death of personal auto insurance have been greatly exaggerated. It's true that cars are adding new technologies that are making them safer, but all the expectations that we had 5 years ago about the frequency and severity of accidents didn't happen;
- We expected self-driving cars to take over - but this didn't happen. Attempts exist, but not at the level we have been anticipating it 5 years ago;
- In the next 5 years, the most successful insures will be those that will use telematics well;
- When it comes to the use of telematics, there are 4 types of insurers: a) Conservatives - they are really prudent in exploring new things, they are not exploring all the opportunities to grow. Historically, insurers are a conservative industry; b) Fashionistas - they are exploring all the opportunities to grow because they fall in love with all new technologies, but they are not changing the way they work, so they grow less, c) Digital Masters - they overcome the difficulties that challenge their competitors, d) Beginners - They are at the beginning of their digital journey;
- Some players in the auto insurance industry have been able to use telematics well to innovate their business - these are the Digital Masters and include: All State, Discovery, Progressive, HUK-COBURG;
- Progressive's approach: they changed the price based on telematics. More drivers accepted to be monitored, which lead to up-front election and self-selection, which in turn led pricing sophistication;
- In 2020, more than 20 million cars in Europe and North-America were sharing data with their insurers, through Black Boxes, but also through mobile;
- We have a new wave of telematics, based on mobile use. Insurers are "in the mobile phone" of their clients;
- AllState Drivewise in the USA - they use a mobile app that is representing to the driver the risks and an analysis of his past behavior, suggesting how to improve their driving skills. They also reward their clients for good driving behavior;
- Discovery Insure have used telematics to influence the driver behaviour by rewarding them with a cup of coffee each week;
- The usage of a driving score at the underwriting stage is a different way to use telematics data: 1) A customer (not yet a policyholder) downloads the app and fills in her data, 2) She drives and a driving score is calculated along the trial period, 3) She receives a quotation based both on her data - the traditional data - and her driving score, 4) If she likes the proposed price for all the period of coverage, she will purchase the policy and become a policyholder;
- Telematics offer insurers economic benefits, including: positive selection - attracting the best risks for each pricing level (leaving the worst to the competitors), as well as premium leakage reduction - having all the policies underwritten with a more accurate price (smaller clusters);
- Some best practices have obtained material impacts from using telematics data in claims management: reduced claim average cost and litigations, detected more frauds,
increased the speed of the process and improved the customer satisfaction;
- Telematics enhanced the effectiveness of the claim evaluation and the efficiency of the claim process;
- Almost a fourth of the Italian auto policyholders have an insurance telematics device installed in their car;
- Today, all the US insurers are seriously looking at telematics - they are in the learning phase, trying to understand how to apply it to their company. Telematics has already been recognized as a necessary capability in personal auto insurance;
- Telematics adoption should not be seen as a product or an IT project, it is a business transformation enabled by connected data;
- Telematics data can be used for different use cases in the insurance business: 1) you have the opportunity to interact with your clients, 2) you create value on Insurance core processes, 3) you develop new knowledge that helps you develop your company, 4) you improve sustainability on a societal level (you help reduce the number of car accidents);
- By 2030, it will be the norm for drivers: 1) to download insurer's app on their phone to be insured (this app will continuously use the smartphone's sensors to deliver a superior customer experience), 2) to have the insurer proactively prevent risks (this will be done through both real-time warnings in risky situations and driver improvement via rewards for safe driving), 3) to have all the claim touchpoints enhanced by the usage of telematics data (there will with a virtuous collaboration between claim handlers and AI), 4) to select among personalized offers their insurers' apps (they will receive both telematics-based services and additional contextualized risk transfer solutions);
Interactive panel - What the future has in store for the Romanian insurers?
Mihai TECAU, CEO, President of the Managing Board, OMNIASIG VIG:
- The market will show its maturity and it may be more relaxed when we will have a deeper diversity on the portfolio segment. Unfortunately, the other lines of business, except the motor one, are growing at a slow speed. So, it appears the following question: "What can we do?" There is potential, it has always been seen, that's why the stakeholders are present in this market.
- I think that the power of example is the most important. It is important to pay the claims, to be close to the clients, to grow the services in value. On some segments, there is a lot of room for improvement, such as housing, property, liabilities.
- I think we must change in terms of mentality, young people to come to the insurance market. We must promote ourselves more to the students. We will also address to new generations. Z Generation is a special one, values are different and the insurance we promote must also be addressed to this generation.
- The market is changing; clients are changing and those working in the insurance industry must also change and permanently adapt.
- We must innovate in the insurance segment, it's our day-to-day obligation.
- We won't convince our clients with a catastrophic event, we must convince them with domestic risks, today, we must try and attract clients, show them, through the examples we have, that housing insurance is a benefit - claims, our presence in the territory. Also add product diversity, their promotion, digitization.
- I wish that housing insurance was a normal thing for a family's budget.
Tanja BLATNIK, CEO, EUROINS Romania:
- At EUROINS Romania, we've been focusing, for the last year, mainly on the non-MTPL segments;
- Financial education is hard work. As insurers, we need to simplify our products. Insurance is a social product, because, at the end of the day, we help each other. We need to get closer to the public through different educational projects and through marketing actions, as well as through other means;
- The short term orientation, this short term orientation we, as insurers, currently have - this need of finding solutions for tomorrow - will not bear any fruits. Insurance is a long term investment, it's a system, it's a connection between people, environment, politicians, a stable economy. We need to step out of our space and get outside, get to the people;
- As far as health insurance is concerned, any incentives - things that the customers will get back - are important. The fiscal benefits are important, but are they enough? People are interested in good medical services, in better well-being, better quality of life.
- If you don't see the incentive, then you don't believe in it. Hence, it's important to have an incentive, but it's also important to show this incentive to the client. It's also very important to have access to good conditions for hospitalization and medical services;
Adrian MARIN, CEO, GENERALI Asigurari:
- I think that, to develop the products, the motor part should also function, because this part gives the dimension, which also gives money for innovation, for other investments, you can also assume new business lines, which don't have a dimension and / or full experience.
- Now, it's an opportunity for health insurance, but inflation will have a word to say - and not only there, but everywhere.
- For us, GENERALI, this NPS is primordial, we are following it and we are observing the clients' preferences.
- We must succeed as a market, concerning the reputation, we must get over these events and people to believe more in insurance.
- New challenges are everywhere. This is the new life. It's important to accept them, manage them, map the client. Everybody's role is obvious: distributor, broker, agent, online.
Nicoleta RADU, CEO, PAID Romania:
- As for PAID, we totally agree that, on the medium and long term, optimizing the quality of the services is important to attract the customer's trust. We won't be able to get over the actual challenges without an informed and satisfied client - the only ways through which we can help the industry grow.
- We are very preoccupied with growing the quality of our services. We wish to have the certainty that, in case of an important event, the market will have the capacity to react promptly and efficiently.
- Together with the market, we are trying to grow the response capacity in case of disaster. It's a huge project, it's maybe the biggest project the whole market is working for. I thank all those who joined the initiative, which is a complex one. We want to give predictability to some totally unpredictable actions in case of a major disaster.
- We want to reduce as much as possible the risk that we would have in the event of an event in terms of processing damage files. We are also trying to digitize and automate processes, to create those procedures that work efficiently between companies. These are just some of the elements we want to solve. All these processes are for the benefit and satisfaction of the end customer, who will be able to be compensated as quickly as possible.
- We shouldn't ignore climate change.
- CNA has approved a public interest spot for PAID, which will be broadcasted on Romanian TV and will promote home insurance as a means of financial protection. This will be beneficial for the whole insurance market in Romania, not only for home insurance, because in the end we are trying to promote as much as we can the concept of insurance itself.
Benjamin TURQUIN, CEO, BRD Asigurari Generale, Commercial Director, BRD Asigurari de Viata
- As far as life insurance is concerned, unit-linked increased a lot last year, it represents one third of the total life insurance business last year in Romania, and the tax incentive played an important role as well;
- The value of Unit Linked (UL) insurance in Romania amounts to 151.3 million euros in 2021, representing approximately 1/3 of the total life insurance market in Romania. The UL market is growing faster than the life insurance market, + 25% in 2021 compared to 2020, compared to the 18% growth of the life insurance market as a whole;
- From the market trend, we notice that the appetite for long-term investments increases. Life insurance with investment component can meet this need;
- On the life insurance segment, we need to make sure that clients have access to their economies. Our clients on the unit-linked segments didn't dis-invest after the war in Ukraine started, because we made sure that this product is a very stable;
- For these products that we are selling we are diversifying a lot - we aim a long term diversification for our products;
- We should consider that these products are really good for long term. We have a huge interest in front of us, but it's linked with financial education. It's our role, as insurers, to explain our products and their benefits to our clients.
Paul Dieter CIRLANARU, CEO, CITR:
- We need to see what positive lessons we can take from negative market events such as bankruptcies.
- Every time, a problematic aspect has been related to liquidity. If the problem lies in these indicators and attempts have been made to solve these indicators, we need to see why the solutions did not work.
- We need to be careful and learn that, in terms of the complexity of this activity, we need to look not only at how it is being attempted to be solved, but also at the point of origin.
- How can a company turn its business around? It is very important to bear in mind that it is very easy to draw conclusions after the event has taken place, without thinking that, in context, things look different.
- We see volatility in the future context - I think one of the big challenges is related to this volatility.
- We have the business of the insurance company itself - the underwriting and the way it's done - and the investment dimension, from outside the company. In this second dimension it is important to find a balance between caution and boldness.
Adrian GHEORGHITA, Vice-President, National Commission for Financial Markets, Republic of Moldova:
- The structure of the insurance market in the Republic of Moldova: 119 insurance institutions, of which 10 active insurance and reinsurance companies (top 5 hold 73.07% of PBS), 44 brokers and 64 agents.
- In terms of gross written premiums, there is an upward trend - a 36% increase in 2021 compared to 2020. In Q1 2022, we are pleased with the results, with the market growing by about 20% compared to the same period in 2021.
- The market is dominated by general insurance - 95% of the market - while life insurance has a 5% share.
- If we look at the market structure in terms of insurance classes, we see that MTPL has more than half of the market (52%), property insurance - 35%, health and accident insurance - 35%, life insurance - 5%.
- Last year, a new law on subsidizing insurance in agriculture was put in place and this segment has grown by 400% in 2021, thanks to the awareness of the agricultural sector on the need for this product, but also thanks to the 70% subsidy on the insurance policy.
- Intermediation activity: we have policies intermediated by brokers - 45% and policies intermediated by agents.
- A new law on insurance and reinsurance was recently approved and will be implemented from the beginning of 2023. The law is based on the Solvency II directive.
- What does the insurance market in the Republic of Moldova need? The pressure now on the supervisory authority is to ensure a level playing field for all players. Only under such conditions can the market develop, competition between players can flourish - the winners are the policyholders.
Katrin KROEGER, Natural Catastrophe Expert, Swiss Re
- The impact of climate change on the insurance business is considerable
- Insured Nat Cat loss today is approximately 10 times bigger than 30 years ago
- Secondary perils (these refer to 1) perils that generate event losses of low-to-medium magnitude that happen relatively frequently, such as hail, tornado, drought, wildfire, snow, flash floods, and landslides, as well as 2) secondary effects of primary perils such as storm surge, heavy precipitation in the wake of a tropical cyclone, fire following EQ or tsunami) represent 56% of the total insured Nat Cat losses since 1970 (in 2020: 70%, 2021: 73%);
- A complex interplay of many factors resulted in record losses from "2021 Flood Bernd", which included: 1) Extreme precipitation over days. Climate change likely one driver for the increase of these events, 2) Severe convective storms with heavy rain a month earlier had left the soils close to saturation, 3) The topography with steep river valleys exacerbated the flash intensity of the event, 4) Soil erosion and debris flow due to the heavy flows and fewer trees after 2018 drought, 5) In some areas, failure of alert and emergency systems, 6) Supply chain disruptions, inflation, increased material costs and labour shortages;
- Multiple drivers are behind rising insurance losses: economic growth (Increasing values in line with GDP growth), accumulation of exposed asset values, insurance penetration (take-up rates, broader coverage, social inflation, regulatory changes), urbanization (urbanisation, population growth), and climate change;
- Climate change has long been acknowledged as a threat and the effects are evident today: warmer average temperatures, rising sea levels, melting ice caps, longer and more frequent heat waves, erratic rainfall patterns, other weather extremes;
- Climate change has a limited change for insurance today. however, on mid/long term, there's a possible significant impact on re/insurance covers;
- The insurance industry has fundamental exposure to climate risks through physical and transition risks;
- The physical risks come from the following aspects: 1) a projected loss of 1-20% of global GDP by 2100; 2) models are flawed and do not capture large uncertainties and fat tails, 3) Relative winners and losers - low-income countries to suffer most
- The transition risks come from the following aspects: 1) estimated USD 4-14 trn of financial assets will become worthless, so-called stranded assets, typically in carbon-intense industries, 2) opportunities arise to invest in "green" assets, such as climate-resilient infrastructure or renewable energy
Joss MATTHEWMAN - Senior Director, Climate Change Product Management & Strategy, RMS
- Insurers and reinsurers will need to adapt their response to climate change;
- Climate change is a slow phenomenon, but the change is still there;
- The uncertainty around climate change (and climate variability) - we need to understand how big the uncertainty might be;
- At RMS, we are looking at changes in European windstorms and changes in European floods - we are starting to "model" climate change itself;
- The policy decisions will change as a result of climate change, so we take into account this near and long term side of climate change;
- We are trying to understand how climate change will change the decisions we take today;
Interactive panel - Top priorities on the insurance industry's agenda - closing the insurance gaps
Adriana GRECU, President, PRBAR:
- The potential of the Romanian insurance market is far from being reached, but we are on the right track.
- One of the reasons for the stagnation of the Romanian market is the culture inherited from decades of communism regarding insurance that we find in all the countries of our region. A culture impregnated in generations over decades cannot be erased in 30 years, but steps have been taken.
- If we were to make a list, reasons like lack of financial education, lack of confidence or low living standards are easy to put on paper. There is one area that remains untapped.
- We are constantly oscillating between this growing market dynamic, which helps to sustain our market image, and issues that negatively affect our market image.
- All we can do is take a constructive approach to the market and make a change where we are.
- It is very important that each one of us - those who have contact with the customer - is aware to a great extent of the ways to communicate with this customer and to pass on information.
- The priority of brokers should be to develop this area of communication skills, of making a pitch to present insurance products.
Dorel DUTA, President, UNSICAR:
- We did not reach the topics we set some time ago because maybe they were too optimistic, or we did not do enough. However, the market has evolved and there have been increases, often in double digits. This is the result of everyone's work.
- In general, when we talk about insurance, we talk about image, trust, and predictability.
- The tumultuous period we have all gone through, the adaptation to new realities - entry into the EU, pandemics, wars - all impact on the individual's behavior to buy something, including insurance. In the last period, we had the pandemic which changed buying behavior, we started to develop the online part, to optimize processes, now we have a complicated geopolitical situation. People first think about the need to ensure their family's welfare and then they start thinking about protection.
- This year, will probably be a historic year in terms of underwriting.
Alexandru CIUNCAN, General Manager, UNSAR:
- I don't think we realize how much has changed in the last 3 years. In terms of calendar years, 3 years have passed, but in terms of development and in terms of changes in everyday life, 10, 20 or maybe 30 years have passed.
- There is a lot of talk about potential, and it is not bad to talk about it, it is very good, because this potential is materializing. We are at 1.3% of GDP, compared to 1.15%, but we are still a long way from the 2.5% of GDP that the ECE average represents.
- The UNSAR barometer tells us what the drivers are - what motivated customers to insure. 38% of respondents say that a higher level of income would make them more likely to take out insurance, and in second place in terms of reasons is better information (35%). Thus, 7 out of 10 Romanians say they would need more income and more information to take out insurance. It is hard to work on the first factor, but when it comes to information, communication is the key.
- The insurance market is going a step further to fill this information gap.
- On Digitization, huge strides have been made in this pandemic period, but that's because many of the processes that have been accelerated were already underway and could be built on.
- 1 in 3 Romanians say they use online services to access insurance, while 3 in 5 Romanians use the online channel for other types of services. This is the gap we need to fill.
Erik BARNA, Founder & Member of the Board, Life is Hard:
- During the pandemic period, significant progress has been made in terms of digital transformation.
- Unfortunately, technology doesn't always help us with a lot of things - it needs to be complemented by a legislative framework. Technology helps us, but it needs the legislative card to change things.
- A big problem in interacting with the customer is this information part - the customer does not have clear enough information.
- Things will evolve in automatic data exchange between all players in the market.
- It wouldn't be bad if in insurance too we work on the "once only" idea - the customer gives one data, and this data is used by all processors.
- There is also a need for standardization of data types, not just a common database.
- What we build today affects our future - we need to start building today.