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29 октября 2014

Difficult Development

Current conditions in the Russian insurance market are rather controversial – the number of insurers decreases, while the rest of them experience stable performance and increasing total capital, as experts say. The governmental regulations on insurance have become stricter, with the competition growing stronger. For such conditions, what to think of the insurance market and what are prime trends to focus on?

In 2013, the Prime Agency conducted the market survey with the outcomes published by the Insurance portal. According  to this survey, the number of insurers in Russia dropped by 38 in 2013. For the current year, experts predicted the market growth by 5 to 7 percent, while the previous year showed 12 percent.

Experts of RIA Rating say that now Russian insurers focus their priorities on increasing quality of products. Experts also observe other positive trends, such as new sales techniques, improvement of technological platforms, and introduction of serious systems of risk management. Such positive changes have brought new trends in the insurance market and made new products in high demand.

"As for trends, I can note a growing popularity of insurance products that are not related to loans. This is protection of property (apartments and country houses), family (life and health), and finances (insurance products for savings)," says Igor Antonov, Rosbank’s First Deputy Chair of Board. "We see great potentials of investment products for the mass market and corporate pension programs and plan to present a line of investment products in this year, using extensive experiences and friendly support of our colleagues from Societe Generale."

Natalia Prosvetova, Head of Interaction with Insurers, DeltaCredit Bank, says, "We view box products as prospective for the coming years. Such products are intended for the mass market, provide standard policies for standard conditions, and could be purchased online."

For banks, the prime indicators are as follows: valid license, reserve structure and placement of reserves in accordance with the governmental regulations, and a certain rating composed of various indicators, such as financial sustainability, profitability, investment portfolio, and liquidity. Also, important indicators are reinsurance agreements, business reputation, income growth rate, and capital sufficiency.  

Irina DVOYNIKOVA, OJSC PARY Insurance, Deputy Director General

How does the insurance market feel on the verge of a next turmoil? What criteria could a bank or an individual choose now to select an insurance partner?

These and similar questions have often been asked in the last months, by both individuals and corporate customers concerned with a reliable insurance coverage.

Many people know that 16 out of TOP20 of Russian insurers went below zero in 2013 – and this cannot be viewed as a sign of the market sustainability. Partly, this was caused by the 2013 difficulties in the car insurance segment – lawyers specializing in car insurance and the current judicial practice made insurers’ losses, already expected, grew even more, by 30 to 40 per cent, I believe. For companies focused on car insurance, these circumstances significantly worsened their income statements. Since it is very difficult to improve such situation within a brief timeframe, prices for car insurance have drastically increased in the last months.

Also, the Russian insurance market holds its breath when looking at the current state of international affairs. The majority of Russian insurers have long been used European reinsurers. Such partnerships have always warranted timely and proper performance of obligations and been viewed by Russian insurers as a sign of quality. As of now, we hope political winds would not press our economy too much, yet anyway, the Asiatic markets now become more attractive.

All these mean that the current turbulent time requires partnering with insurers that manage their portfolios independently and could promptly correct their actions, as suggested by changes in the market and the world. When choosing an insurance partner, you need to look closely at its portfolio components and the ability to act freely towards the negative environment.

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