Zoran NARASANOV CEO WINNER - Vienna Insurance Group, Macedonia

XPRIMM: What are your comments on the evolution of the Macedonian insurance market in the current year? (Any significant changes, the most challenging aspects, opportunities, etc.)

ZORAN NARASANOV: 2018 was a major year for positive changes in the Macedonian insurance market, which is growing. Public awareness of insurance is increasing, for example clients are frequently visiting our 90 branches to inform themselves as thoroughly as possible and to always be aware of their priorities. Therefore we are sure this growth to continue in the following year.

The Macedonian insurance market registered a significant increase in health insurance in Q2 2018 compared to the same period last year. The premium is double compared with the previous year.

In addition, the past year, large development was noticed in bank insurance, especially in the life segment.

Data from the analysis show that in Q2 2018, the market recorded a growth of 5% in non- life insurance (with the domination of MTPL) and 15% growth in life insurance, making it obvious that by the end of the year the growth of the premium will be higher. Non-life NCR is 97%, positively effected by NCR of MTPL with 88%, thanks to the tariff control by the regulator.

Vienna Insurance Group holds 21% of the market share in Macedonia.

Regarding the challenges we faced: digitalization, as one's habit, need, and preference, was a big step forward for all of us this year, not only in digital sales, online travel insurance policies, online renewal of domestic MTPL, but in digital claims check in as well. The software solution, Winner, was developed to offer safer and more advanced, quick and easy access to the company's services to improve the customer experience. For being pioneers in implementing this software in Macedonia and accepting the challenge we got 2nd place in the VIG Exelerate program.

XPRIMM: At market level, what are your expectations for the end of the year and next year?

Z.N.: We are constantly challenging ourselves and that is the motivation that, following the dedication and competence of our employees, is the magical formula of our company's success. We will achieve this year's targets and we'll focus on further growth in GWP, as well as high level of stability, positive financial results, and an increased number of satisfied clients as a result of the quick claims settlement process. Our company focuses on maintaining a PBT of higher than 22% of the shareholder equity and a NCR below 89%. This is our 10th year with the lowest number of unsettled claims on the market, and we are striving for continuous success, as we offer insurance packages optimized to meet the needs and capacities of each individual and business partner. Our task for the following year is to find the perfect balance between the need for reliable insurance that is indispensable and the opportunities for citizens to allocate funds for this. At the same time, we make sure that our customers are confident in what we know - that they receive the most optimal and best-quality insurance solution for their money.

XPRIMM: How would you comment on your company's evolution during 2018?

Z.N.: In the past 10 years, we managed to create intelligent and rational insurance solutions for our clients and win their trust with our superior service, professionalism, dedication, and ethics. This year was no different than the others. We have raised the awareness of citizens for their safety, and insurance policies are only a part of that process. The company has been working tirelessly on different campaigns to engage more people with our insurance products and to help them have a better understanding of how different types of insurance can improve their lives.

We are market leaders in claims settlement with less than 3% of unsettled claims, which is why the number of our clients grows every day - they feel safe with our company as their insurance partner, which resulted in a market share of 9% in Q2 2018.  In the past 10 years, our annual GWP growth has been over 10% and the annual profit growth was over 20%. 

We are continuously widening our sales network, by maintaining 90 branches in the territory of Macedonia, and we strive to continue serving our clients the best possible way, as they are our everyday focus.

We continue to function as an honest, sincere, modern, efficient company oriented to professionalism, competence, and ethics - a company that is associated with insurance on the market. Our growth and development will continue by strengthening personnel, sales and process solutions, and this is what leads us to a more prosperous corporate environment, an environment open to all professionals in the field and to all young talented people who have the ambition to build a career in the insurance business.

Meanwhile, we are always available for useful insurance advice - through the Contact Center, brochures that we give to our clients, and even more through the social media profiles of Winner, where our followers can read helpful advice every day.

XPRIMM: What are your company's future development plans? (Top priorities, new services offered to customers, relevant CSR activities, etc.)

Z.N.: The maximum satisfaction of each of our clients has always been our ultimate goal and top priority. The client has always been, is, and will be at the center of all business processes of Winner.

The emergence of new risks from the changing dynamics of the global economy offers new opportunities for our sector, and that is why there's always room for insurance development. The practice of online payments has increased in the past years and the population feels free and safe to make online purchases, especially knowing that online payment is faster and more convenient, saves postage, and helps the environment through reduced paper costs. Therefore we continuously develop new products and strategies to integrate our work with the online market.

Carrying out our duties the best we can is our primary responsibility to society and that is the best base in developing all other activities, through which we try to improve the quality of life in the environment we work in. This is clearly emphasized in our strategy and mission - we create stable and timeless values and serve as an example of quality, honesty, professionalism, and ethics in the market. We strive to build this solid foundation by giving examples of actions that outweigh the sphere of our work and emphasizing our belief that being a good employee is a paralleled by being a good member of the community.

XPRIMM: Motor insurance represents a significant share of the Macedonian insurance market's portfolio. According to the local supervisory authority's statement, the overall motor insurance business' profitability has improved this year compared to the first half of 2017. How would you comment on the motor insurance lines' evolution this year?

Z.N.: Considering the fact that motor insurance is mandatory in Macedonia, as it is in most countries, it is expected that this would hold the highest share and profitability in the insurance market. The bonus-malus system is implemented and the expected effects are working.

Moreover, public awareness of the risks faced on the road has risen, so people tend to insure other risks as well, especially the passengers in the vehicle. This year we also noticed incremental growth in Casco insurance of vehicles, which means people tend to get the highest number of risks covered for the price they pay.  Winner's most significant concern is customer security; therefore we offer comprehensive and quality products. Customers come to us because we are recognizable by the added value provided through superior service, maximum reliability, and quick settlement and payment of claims. We have achieved this under the professionalism and dedication of our employees, who invest their entire personal and business capacity in customer satisfaction. Taking all of this into consideration, yes, profit is inevitable.

XPRIMM: The Macedonian market is one of the CEE markets with the lowest coverage degree in home insurance. What are the main reasons behind this situation? In your view, are there any solutions to narrow the protection gap that were not taken into consideration and may be successful?

Z.N.: We are always here to provide the best insurance solutions for all the challenges our customers face and protect them from unpleasant financial expenditures for unexpected events. People are becoming more aware of the consequences and losses they can suffer due to natural disasters.

On the other hand, more significant activity is required among insurance companies in the offer of innovative insurance products that respond to current needs.  This is what we are always working on, first of all informing the population of the possible risks and raise the awareness of their priorities, i.e. personal security, the security of their loved ones and all property that they have acquired. This does not withstand being unprepared.

The most effective method of protection is insurance.

XPRIMM: Agricultural insurance is among the main concerns of the Macedonian supervisory authority, as the current lack of insurance coverage leaves a very significant part of the Macedonian economy at risk. How much is your company involved in this line of business and what solutions do you see for this particular sector to increase the national coverage degree?

Z.N.: Winner's agricultural insurance prevents the long-term labor that our clients have invested, along with the vast resources, to keep their crops from being endangered by weather disasters that are increasingly occurring in our country. Now agricultural insurance is more accessible than ever, because 60% of the price of the policy is subsidized.

At a recent conference organized by the ISA on the World Insurance Day, the Ministry of Agriculture appealed for insurance companies to affirm agricultural insurance and to obtain a quality reinsurance system that will provide better security for themselves and the insured farmers.

Winner, as an insurance company, strives to create products that build mutual trust between farmers and ourselves and will enable full protection of agricultural products from natural disasters, so the farmers would entirely rely on us as an insurance company in case of events that inevitably happen.

Insurers need to focus more on the 'unexpected' and be financially prepared for such unforeseen large natural disasters.

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