Juan Ramon Pla, BIPAR: "The most important perspective of COVID-19 is the relation between the client and the insurance intermediary"

26 November 2020 — Alexandra GUZUN
"The COVID-19 epidemy was a surprise for everyone and no one was prepared for this and no one was expecting that this would happen, so we had to be flexible and adapt to serve our clients" declared Juan Ramon Pla, President of BIPAR (European Federation of Insurance Intermediaries) during the fifteenth edition of the National Conference of Insurance and Pension Brokers organized today by UNSICAR.

"We have ensured that the insurance sector was able to continue to serve the clients from the very difficult circumstances (in the pandemic situation). We have laid, as intermediaries, a major role in sustaining the insurance's solution system making sure that insurance worked for the clients at the time that it was the most necessary," Juan Ramon Pla continued.

He also mentioned that there is an uncertainty both at the level of companies and at the economic level, but the perspective that has remained strong is the relationship between clients and intermediaries. Insurance is based on the power of insurers and their activity has been affected worldwide, being the first time that the global economy through external factors creates such situations.

Moreover, he has two wishes related to insurance: firstly, governments to find a quick solution to deal economically to future pandemics, this being also related to the fact that we are all members of the European Union and we must take care of our countries. The second is that insurance to continue to ensure the economy and the clients to be compatible again.

Regarding the pension sector, Juan said that it is important to develop a pan-European pension product, meant to strengthen the structure of the European Union, especially when talking about legislation as the European Union wants to ensure that it will be a good product, but it is important to have as many information on sustainability and it is important to overcome certain barriers to have value in the economy.

During the conference, Nic de Maesschalck, Director of BIPAR commented regarding the digitalization on the insurance sector: "I think that is was not digitization which was allowed the insurance sector to continue and work in the early days of the COVID-19. It was people, their flexibility, their know-how, the way they adapted quickly, their availability, who ensured that the automated processes that were already in the sector due to digitization and that these automated procedures can quickly be taken over and that many difficult questions could be answered in this unprecedented situation".

He thinks that this crisis has really shown to all that the insurance system is a hybrid one, a system in which there is already a digitization tool that goes hand in hand with human services. Many people have increased the level of use of technology because they had to work from home, do their shopping online, but replacing face-to-face meetings with online meetings will change the need of people, customers and especially in the insurance sector, the need to work with other people with trust. and to trust people. "I believe that this interpersonal aspect will continue to be a key factor in our sector",

Regarding the European Commission plan, Nic affirmed that people who make savings are rewarded and encouraged to invest especially in sustainable investments, in innovative renewable energy sources or in small and medium innovative companies, in new economic and social models. "It is important to direct savings from investment accounts" he said.

On the IDD panel, Isabelle Audigier, BIPAR has give her opinion on the subject: "It is true that IDD has been applied in the EU since 2018, but only since April 2019 it has been implemented in all states and because of this late implementation of IDD, it is perhaps too early for BIPAR to have a clear view of its benefits or risks".

As benefits of the IDD implementation, she mentioned that it is good for the consumer, for the investor, it applies to all insurance products, allows a balanced ground and has strengthened consumer protection, guarantees that any products meet the requirements for individual needs and that the products meet customer expectations.

She also mentioned that a revision of this act will be made in 2021, but the key message is that stability is needed regarding the regulatory framework. We had the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), which was a challenge, so from the perspective of applying the new revisions it should only mean an evaluation and must be implemented consistently across Europe.

"It is important for BIPAR that there are no new rules on distribution, so it is crucial that any revised IDD rules will need to remain in a technology neutral" she added.

The fifteenth edition of the National Conference of Insurance and Pension Brokers has been organized today by UNSICAR in a 100% online format and brought together important representatives of the insurance and pension market.

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