The 12th edition of Insurance Europe's International Conference organized under the titles of "CLOSING THE GAP: Protection for all" takes place today in Prague, at the Zofin Palace. XPRIMM is supporting the conference as Media Partner.
Protection gaps impact the health and wealth of both individuals and businesses. In a full day of debates and speeches, Insurance Europe will examine what, where and why gaps exist, looking into exposures to natural catastrophes, cyber risks, inadequate pension saving and much more.
A top-level roster of policymakers, consumer representatives and speakers from the insurance industry will explore what actions and solutions could build resilience and ensure greater protection for all.
Here are some of the main statements:
Martin DIVIS, President, Czech Insurance Association (CAP); Chairman & CEO, Kooperativa pojisovna, VIG, Czech Republic
"We are facing big challenges. Europe's economy is challenged. We are facing unprecedented threat to our very way of life and the War in Ukraine is a test to our capacity of dealing with difficulties. We are talking today about risks and closing the insurance gap. To provide insurance protection to a greater part of the society. Difficulties as inflation or increasing prices of energy will be important both us and our clients. But insurers are here exactly for such times and insurers are to play a bigger role in protecting people and especially the less favored ones. We are not here just for paying claims. My dream is that our clients may say that their insurers proved a reliable help for them in many other respects"
Andreas BRANDSTETTER, President, Insurance Europe; Chairman & CEO, UNIQA Insurance Group, Austria
"During the Covid pandemics our industry proved it may empathic. Unfortunately, Covid was not the last challenge to our resilience. The war in Ukraine, the resilience of the Ukrainian people, as well as the wave of solidarity, were inspiring. I am grateful the insurers proved one more time being involved in the society and generous. Yet, beside that particular situation, there challenges as the demographic evolution, climate change or evolving cyber risks that are coming from the past and will be here for a long time. We have to deal with them. The insurance industry is willing to share forces with all the forces that might help closing the protection gap."
"I would mention only the top three challenges:
- People just don't save enough money for pensions. A survey that we have recently undertaken show that about 40 of people are not saving at all. This is a huge task for policy makers. The pace of pension reforms in the European nations has increased lately, some solutions have emerged and have been tested. Still, there is till much to do.
- The scale of the protection gap in NatCat terms is huge - globally about USD 270 billion. Both our retail and corporate customers are highly vulnerable to NatCat risks. The climate change is increasing the pressure on all stakeholders to find a solution. So we are in high need of finding solution to increase resilience.
- Cyber - the most complex issue, partly because we are lacking data. On the positive side, I would say the awareness is increasing. Yet, providing coverage for cyber is risks is difficult. There is no geographic limit in cyber risks, which makes them different from most the other major risks. The European legislation needs to evolve so that allows insurers to get aggregated data they need to underwrite cyber risks. Also, people need to receive more relevant information so that they understand their exposure to cyber risks and try to protect themselves."
Ekhosuehi IYAHEN, Secretary general, Insurance Development Forum (IDF)
The insurance community needs to be more active in explaining how it may help protecting people and communities, in closing the protection gap. Insurance may much more than pure financial protection - it may be a factor of evolution and development. There is a lot of research done in the insurance community that may help the world accelerate its efforts to close the gap.
Setting the scene: PANEL: What and where are the gaps?
Moderator: Sandro PANIZZA, Vice-president, Insurance Europe; Group chief insurance & investment officer, Assicurazioni Generali, Italy
- Jerome Jean HAEGELI, Group chief economist, Swiss Re Institute, Switzerland - "Throughout the last decade Europe has been challenged by several crises - financial crises, the pandemic, now the war in Ukraine and its impact on the global economy. So, closing the protection gap is maybe more important than ever." "The world is experiencing a profound change - we will never see again the world that we knew. Increasing its resilience in face of these changes means also closing the protection gap." "insurance has the capacity, both in financial and modeling ability terms, to contributed to reducing the protection gap in NatCat."
- Alan SHEPPARD, Senior technical adviser, Prudential Regulation Authority, UK - "We might see a growing systemic risk from different sources. Also, a long lasting uncertainty.
Vera JOUROVA, European Commission Vice-President for values and transparency
- We need all understand that we will see not predictability and stability for a long time.
- It is obvious that sanctions against Russia also affect the re/insurance business, but they cannot be avoided.
- The EC will use all its tools to make sure that the rule of law is preserved in all countries.
- From our standpoint it is necessary more clarity in insurance contracts, especially on the exclusions side. Insurance conditions need to be fair for customers.
- The storms and wildfires in Europe in 2021 showed how strong the climate change impact is, but also how many properties are not insured, leaving people non-protected in face of NatCat events
Panel debate: Why dona??t they buy? The barriers to insurance purchase
Moderator: Michaela KOLLER, Director general, Insurance Europe
Iona BAIN, Financial journalist & broadcaster, UK
- Young people think that they are invincible and will probably live forever. The problem for the insurance industry is that it cannot force young people to force their mindset. Only life will teach them otherwise.
Dean CAMERON, President, National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), USA; Director, Idaho Department of Insurance, USA
- There are lots of barriers to people getting insurance and NAIC is working to remove as many as possible. The younger generations are not fully understanding the value embedded in insurance and we need to explain more. Affordability is another issue that needs addressing by a whole pull of stakeholders, including regulators and policy makers.
- We are increasingly preoccupied with diversity including in what the customers are concerned a?" how to make sure you are speaking to clients in the language they really understand
Claudia DONZELMANN, Global head of regulatory & public affairs, Allianz Group, Germany
- The first step to finding solutions is including in the discussions all stakeholders, all entities that might play a role.
- The pandemic risk was so broad that needed a different approach a?" it was far beyond the simple health issue.
- We wondered how much awareness increased and how much of this increased awareness translates in insurance acquiring a?" our studies showed that for many people other priorities are more important; only a minority of those stating they are more aware about the risks have actually bought insurance
Petra HIELKEMA, Chairperson, European Insurance & Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA)
- We can not give one answer and one single solution for the entire EU market. Depends on the market development, on how much coverage is there. So, why people are not buying insurance. It is important how you offer insurance so that people understand what they are really getting by buying it. There is an expectation gap, as well some issues the perceived affordability of insurance products. Attitude towards insurance is also a cultural issue, so transferring information about relevant experiences with insurance might be very useful.
Michaela KOLLER, Director general, Insurance Europe - at a certain point, some years ago, we were convinced that we have started closing the protection gap, but lately we can no longer think like that. There is a lot of concern, both on the gap's dimensions and the relevance of insurance protection
Philippe DONNET, Group CEO, Assicurazioni Generali, Italy
- The new geopolitical environment creates pressure on economies and the insurance industry as well and there is a real risk that insurance will be more difficult to provide.
- Raising inflation is lending to increasing claims costs and therefore probably raises in prices. This is why access to insurance will be more difficult. In addition, the trust in the industry is on a decreasing trend, so we expect the protection gap to grow.
- The main protection gaps as in NatCat, pensions risks, health risks and cyber. Generali is pleading for the formation of public-private partnerships to address the main risks, especially in the business interruption claims that may arise again in the case of a new wave of the pandemics. Such a process is usually a lengthy one, but we think that it absolutely needs to be accelerated because it is our belief that the pandemics did not end.
- Our industry's mission is to act such as to allow people and businesses to cope with the crisis situation and remain active - our business is nit just a business, but it also has a strong social role.