Virgil SONCUTEAN, CEO, ALLIANZ-TIRIAC Asigurari, Romania

14 September 2023 — Daniela GHETU
Virgil SONCUTEAN, CEO, ALLIANZ-TIRIAC Asigurari, Romania

XPRIMM: Health and life insurance benefits from increased attention within ALLIANZ-TIRIAC. What are the secrets of success in these segments?

Virgil SONCUTEAN: ALLIANZ-TIRIAC has always relied on a balanced portfolio strategy. That is why, in a market still dominated by motor insurance, we have chosen to invest in life and health insurance for several years already. We are now reaping the benefits, but also investing further. For the first time, in our portfolio, life and health insurance are side by side with CASCO (MoD) insurance, a line of business for which customers traditionally choose us, thanks to the trust we have built, by honoring payment promises.

XPRIMM: What are the company's objectives in these segments for the end of the year?

V.S.: Our ambitions in the area of life and health insurance are big. But the most important aspect I need to emphasize is the “why”. Our ambitions are high because we, as a country, have a large protection deficit in the area of life insurance.

In Romania, over 11 million people aged between 18 and 69 are not well prepared for facing the challenges life might put in front of them. They, their families and loved ones are not protected by insurance when life puts them to the test. They don't have a safety net. Our ultimate goal as an insurer is to secure the future, that's why we are interested in life insurance, because through life insurance we can make an even greater contribution. We are concerned with identifying solutions that correspond to the needs and financial power of any person in Romania. We think in terms of solutions and destroying myths. Proof of this approach is the launch of the first 100% online life insurance product that fits into any budget - My Protect. With the launch of My Protect two myths have been busted: life insurance is expensive and life insurance is too complicated. My Protect is clear proof that this is not the case.

XPRIMM: With the growth in underwriting for life and health insurance, has the volume of indemnities paid also increased?

V.S.: The business growth leads, as a rule, to a subsequent increase in the compensations paid. It is only natural that it should be so. For us, indemnities help us reinforce the benefits of insurance in the minds of our customers. It is perhaps the best form of promotion for us as insurers and the best way to strengthen the trust of our customers.

As a general principle, it is important, in any business segment, to grow in line with financial capacity. A healthy rate of growth is needed, which can be sustained.

XPRIMM: This year you launched the first life insurance available 100% online. How was it received by customers?

V.S.: My Protect is a form through which we try to bring life insurance closer to the public in Romania, offering not only theoretical information, but concrete solutions. With My Protect we have opened the door to more comprehensive life insurance, about which ALLIANZ-TIRIAC consultants and distribution partners are ready to provide all the details.

The feedback we received from customers was very good, the simplicity of the purchase process is a novelty for the Romanian market - practically, with the launch of My Protect, life insurance can be concluded in 6 simple steps, without a medical questionnaire.

PRIMM: Online sales tools are increasingly used by Romanian insurance customers in the recent years. How did these sales evolve at ALLIANZ-TIRIAC, and which are the policies most in demand by customers online?

V.S.: Online sales tools are starting to come into notice and are being used by a new customer segment for insurance companies, a customer segment that has been little addressed so far. In the case of ALLIANZ-TIRIAC, the online sales channel - website and mobile application - generates approximately 200 policies per day (renewals and new policies), being accessed mainly by a young customer segment, to which the traditional distributors did not pay enough attention.

Customers who choose online services prefer digital interactions and appreciate access to the desired services in a few clicks. Basic products, structured in a simple way to understand, such as MTPL or travel insurance are most frequently purchased online.

XPRIMM: Could we say that online distribution is the future of the insurance market?

V.S.: The online sales definitely have pleasantly surprised us. If a year ago we had around 100 policies bought online daily by customers, today their number has doubled. It is a new territory, because 95% of the customers who approach us online are customers who do not have policies through any intermediary agent or broker. For us it is a development direction, a direction in which we will invest in the future.

However, it is not the only direction, because we do not believe that the future in insurance is exclusively online. We believe in online, but we also believe in face-to-face interaction in insurance. And in terms of intermediation, we are betting on balance, on a diversified and complete distribution landscape.

XPRIMM: In your opinion, what should be done in the insurance market to increase the financial protection of Romanians and to unlock this stagnant share of 20% held by life and health insurance in the total industry portfolio?

V.S.: First, we think it is our duty, as insurers, to be more accessible, in terms of communication, explanations, so that people and companies understand the benefits of the products and services we offer. This is the first step and allows people to make informed decisions.

Our goal, as ALLIANZ-TIRIAC, is to bring insurance closer to the people and companies in Romania, but we are aware that we have undertaken a marathon, not a sprint.

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ALLIANZ-TIRIAC is part of the German group ALLIANZ, one of the largest providers of financial and insurance services and the most valuable insurance brand in the world, according to the latest Interbrand assessment. In Romania, the company has been enjoying financial stability and customer trust for over 29 years.

ALLIANZ-TIRIAC ended 2022 with gross written premiums worth RON 2.9 billion, up by more than 40% compared to 2021, and paid claims worth RON 1.2 billion.
 

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