KAZAKHSTAN: Unit-Linked may become a new market driver

25 January 2019 — Marina MAGNAVAL
Staring January 1, 2019 Kazakh life insurers may offer Unit-Linked products, charging an insurance fee that will depend on the investment results. Also this year insurance companies may get an investment broker license, as explained the Deputy chairman of the board of Nomad Life, Askar SHAKENOV.

Insurers believe that Unit-linked will be fully launched in the market in the second half of the year, as it is necessary to create a convenient and highly automated product. According to the market experts, the amendments, made by the National Bank to the law on life insurance, are revolutionary and may drastically change the life insurance sector. As the managing director of Halyk-Life, Vitaly LYUBIMOV, said "it is very important to develop everything in time. I think four or five out of six life insurers will move in that direction."

"The market in the coming years will grow up by 8 times. Unit-Linked will be, of course, the market driver. After all, profits here, perhaps, will exceed those of bank deposits. We have already a Russian company that has entered the market. This is a big broker with good experience, its experience in investment portfolio management is very interesting and appropriate. They acquired a life company. In 2019 it will be very interesting to watch the market and promotion of new products", SHAKENOV added.

The life insurance market in Kazakhstan started its rapid decrease in the late 2000s due to the global economic crisis. In order to support the sector, in 2012 the National Bank transferred the class of insurance of employees against accidents at work to life companies, and thanks to that the strongest players were able to stay in the market. As of today there are 6 life insurers - Halyk-Life, Nomad Life, European Insurance Company, Feedom Finance Life, State Annuity Company and Standard Life.

Currently, the life sector is supported by mortgage contracts, pension annuities and compulsory insurance of employees against accidents at work. According to the Association of Financiers of Kazakhstan (AFK), over the last 3 years the life sector has been steadily increasing by 23-24%. As of December 1, 2018 the share of life insurance in total GWP was 21.7%, while as of December 1, 2017 its share was 17.3%. As AFK expects, the growth rates will remain at the level of over 20% in 2019. In 2018 growth of the total market amounted to 3%, while the life sector went up by 20%, annuity insurance increased by 17% and the compulsory insurance of employees against accidents at work grew by 10%.

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