UNSAR-IRES Barometer: Pandemic has increased Romanians' interest in health, housing and life insurance

8 July 2021 — Cristian SUCA
The COVID-19 pandemic changed Romanians' perception of risks, increasing their interest in insurance protection. The most significant change was observed in health insurance, 4 out of 10 Romanians stating that the pandemic has increased their interest in the matter, according to a UNSAR-IRES Barometer on Risk Perception and Insurance Culture in Romania.

Thus, 42% of Romanians (compared to 28% in 2020) say that they are more interested, because of the pandemic, in the protection offered by health insurance, 37% in home insurance (vs. 24% in 2020) and 30% in insurance for unemployment and temporary takeover of rates (vs. 23% in 2020). In addition, this year's edition of the study also refers to insurance for cyber risks (theft of card data, passwords etc.), where 32% of respondents indicated a higher interest in such a protection.

"The need for safety is growing and people have felt more than ever the need to be protected from risks through an insurance policy. In fact, these indicators of perception are in line with the latest results recorded on market level. Therefore, it is important that financial education programs and information campaigns reach even more Romanians - UNSAR accelerating its efforts in this regard as well", said Adrian MARIN - UNSAR President.

Regarding the impact of the pandemic on the financial state of the population, only 1 in 5 respondents stated that will save more because of pandemic, respectively 22%, which indicates a decrease of 14 percentage points compared to 2020 (36%). These respondents would place their savings mainly in bank deposits (50% compared to 41% in 2020) and life insurance (27% vs. 21%), while the share of those who would invest in the stock market, government securities or real estate is less than 10% of the total. We also note that the fact that life insurance has risen in the top of Romanians' preferences regarding saving instruments.

Last, but not least, the mentioned sociological research shows a greater need for information among the population. The main source of information on insurance remained the Internet, mentioned by 58% of respondents, followed by television and the insurance industry (24%).

The IRES-UNSAR Barometer on Risk Perception and Insurance Culture in Romania was conducted on a sample of 1,336 respondents aged 18-50, in May 2021, using the CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing) method.

Established in 1994, UNSAR - the National Union of Insurance and Reinsurance Companies in Romania represents 19 companies. These companies hold a share of about 80% of the local insurance market. UNSAR's activity aims to defend and represent the interests of insurers and reinsurers in Romania, participation in improving the legislative framework in the insurance field, promoting insurance activity in Romania and the sustainable development of the industry both domestically and internationally. Since 2007, UNSAR has been a full member of the Federation of European Insurers and Reinsurers - Insurance Europe.

Founded in 2009, the Romanian Institute for Evaluation and Strategy - IRES operates on the Romanian research market and functions as an independent think tank, part of the studied and projects it develops being dedicated to optimizing public policies in various areas of Romanian society. IRES is a member of ESOMAR (European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research).

The insurance companies authorized and regulated by ASF have written, in 2020, gross premiums amounting approximately 11.5 billion lei, increasing by approximately 4,6% compared to the value recorded in the previous year, managing to adapt and exceed the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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