FIAR 2024. Property Insurance Conference: A Perspective on the Agricultural Insurance Sector in Romania

30 May 2024 — Daniela GHETU

The Property Insurance Conference hosted a very interesting panel of discussions on the topic of agricultural insurance. Among the questions seeking answers there were: why do Romanian farmers not seem to give enough importance to insurance, or what are the most significant barriers to developing this sector of the market?

Read some of the main statements:

Antonio BABETI, Vice President, PRBAR, Romania

  • Barriers to Growth: The barriers impeding more robust growth in agricultural insurance include lack of education, funding, and a risk management culture.
  • Geopolitical Context: The current geopolitical context encourages very cautious behavior when it comes to spending on insurance, whose utility is not well understood.
  • State Subsidies: Although there are state subsidies for traditional agricultural insurance policies, what is needed most is to create a culture of insurance and positive experiences to build trust.

Andrei Sorin TROFIN, Regional Manager, AGRA Asigurări, Romania

  • Focus on Agricultural Insurance: Agricultural insurance is the sole focus of our company.
  • Economic Pillar: Agriculture is a key economic pillar of the country and has one of the highest rates of absorption of European funds.
  • Investment and Insurance: Increasing investments in agriculture must also be insured. About 2.5 million hectares out of the 8.5 – 9 million hectares of crops are currently insured. The numbers are growing, but financial difficulties farmers face slow the process. Therefore, they choose to insure only the crops with higher revenue potential.
  • Awareness: Awareness of the need for insurance is higher among large, well-capitalized farms.
  • EU Funded Projects: EU-funded agricultural projects act as a "school" for insurance, creating positive experiences. Farmers initially buy insurance because it is mandated by financing contracts and subsequently recognize its utility.

Cerasela TUDOR, Senior Consultant Agribusiness, AON Romania

  • Challenging Times: Agriculture is going through one of the most challenging periods in the last 20 years.
  • Role of AON: At AON, we see ourselves as a link between insurers and farmers, making sustained efforts to disseminate information.
  • Reduced Appetite for Insurance: There are multiple factors for the low appetite for insurance among farmers. Historically, insurance was mainly taken out in relation to bank loans until 2020. Now, the increasing frequency of destructive events has raised interest in insurance.
  • Need for Better Communication: There is a need for better communication, using language that farmers can understand, with concrete information and examples.
  • Regional Differences: Romania is divided into two distinct zones – one prone to drought and the other to floods. This is a reality that insurers need to adapt to.
  • Machinery Investments: There is significant investment in agricultural machinery, mostly acquired through leasing contracts and insured during the contract period, but few are insured after becoming property.

Marian POPESCU, Agricultural Insurance Coordinator, RENOMIA Romania

  • Priority of Insurance: Insurance should be a priority for farmers, but this is not yet the case.
  • Drought Coverage: Drought is no longer excluded from insurance, but existing products still do not fully meet farmers' expectations.

Florentina NANU, Managing Partner, Business Development Group, Romania

  • Challenges in Agricultural Insurance Development: The main difficulty in developing agricultural insurance and adopting "non-conformist" projects like nature-based risk reduction solutions is related to information, understanding, and building trust.
  • Collaboration: The first step in adopting and implementing such solutions is to bring together all interested and potentially involved parties. No single actor can carry out such a project alone.