TOP EVENT: The Croatian Insurance Days start today in Opatija - Day 1

The 2019 edition of the Croatian Insurance Days starts today in Opatija, Croatia, organized by the Croatian Insurance Bureau (HUO). XPRIMM supports the conference as Media Partner and will provide live text reports during the event's two days of debates.

From the difficulties raised by the present volatile economic environment to the challenges raised by the fast technological advancement and the changing customers' behavior, the insurance sector is definitely going through a time of major changes. The event will capture the impact of all these factors on the Croatian insurance market and will have a special focus on the topics related to the technical progress as the application of artificial intelligence in security, intelligent and multi-channel customer experience, the InsureTech regulatory approach etc.






MAIN STATEMENTS (LIVE UPDATES)



Ante ZIGMAN,
DSc, President of the Management Council,
Croatian Financial Services Supervisory Agency
  • The financial indicators and performance rates of the Croatian insurers are improving; as supervisors we are continuously monitoring them, to preserve the market sustainability;
  • The banking sector in dominant in Croatia; pensions funds also have a significant contribution;
  • The concentration on the Croatian insurance market is quite high; the number of companies decreased by three due some mergers in the market; top3 companies account for 16%of the non-life business and 19% on the life side;
  • In terms of insurance penetration and density, Croatian market still lags behind the EU average; low insurance literacy is an important factor explaining this situation;
  • In terms of market growth, it should be said that only this year the market reached the level it had in 2008, before the crisis; the recession has affected strongly the market, but since 2016 we have seen a continuous positive trend, on both life and non-life insurance;
  • Health insurance, credit insurance and also life products have seen a significant growth in the last years; yet, growth in life insurance has slowed down lately; there should be also considered carefully the trend set in 2019, up to now, with indemnities increasing ata significantly higher pace than premiums in life insurance;
  • Most assets of the Croatian insurers are invested in the country, which is very good for the local economy, but some diversification is needed and the investment opportunities abroad need to be consider, especially in the CEE;
  • Climate change is a threat that we consider attentively, as it may affect several lines of business, a situation demonstrated by the events of the last three years;
  • We are welcoming the opportunities provided by the new technologies, we are exercising a careful approach because we need to make sure that customers are treated fair and all market players are benefitting from a level playing field; increasing cyber risks are also to be considered;


Slaven DOBRIC
  • This conference focuses on the insurance hot topics of the day, as well as the challenges of the industry;
  • Aggregators, telematics, autonomus vehicles, cyber threats - these are the challenges we are currently facing on the Croatian market, as well as the international market. However, there are also challenges specific to the Croatian insurance market: Inflation, pressure from the automobile industry - increase of the repair prices -, interest rates in Croatia, new legislative initiatives;


Eric BARTHALON,
Global Head of Capital Market Research,
Allianz Research, Allianz SE
  • Croatia has a very open economy, being highly influenced by the EU economy;
  • Low or even negative rates of interest are too pervasive a phenomenon to be considered a mere anomaly;
  • Without unconventional monetary policy, risk-free interest rates would be higher, but not much higher, owing to substantial private savings, which are here to stay;
  • Confronted with increasing nominal growth uncertainty, investors should top up the discount rates they use to price variable income assets by adding high(er) ex ante risk premia to low(er) risk-free rates;
  • Low interest rates challenge both life and P&C businesses, but not in the same way: 1) Life: an immediate challenge to solvency, a delayed challenge to profitability and the traditional life business model, 2) P&C: an immediate challenge to profitability, a limited challenge on solvency;
  • The most desirable /likely way out of the current situation is a more intimate cooperation between monetary policy and fiscal policy;
  • In Europe we have seen an implosion of interest rates;
  • The typical answer for low interest rates is to blame Central Banks - which is wrong;
  • The growth rate of capital cannot be too different from the growth rate of the economy;
  • The nominal interest rates in many different economies tend to follow the growth rate of that particular economy;
  • In Europe, we are witnessing a important increase of private savings; we have excess savings, and the higher savings you have, the lower the interest rates are;


Assoc. Prof. Dr. Petr Jakubik,
Financial Stability Team Leader,
EIOPA
  • According to October 2019 EIOPA risk board: there are two risk types which have a high level: macro risks and market risks;
  • We have Brexit, trade war between US and China, potential conflict in Middle East - there are a lot if aspects and issues which can affect us at macro level;
  • Bottom-up survey made by EIOPA: the national suvervisory authorities agree that low-interest rates is an important risk for the insurance industry, followed by cyber risks (which we did not even have in our survey up until two years ago), equity risk, macro risk and geopolitical risks;
  • Yields are at their historical minimums;
  • EUR swap curve has decreased and flattened to minimum historical levels;
  • EU sovereign bond yields remain at low level, while slightly increasing since the summer lows;
  • Most EU area sovereign bonds yields are negative;
  • Insuers, especially life insurers, are long time investers;
  • The low interest rate environmemt puts pressure on the profitability of the life insurance industry;
  • 5.4% of the government bonds will reach maturity date in 1 year. These bonds are yielding a cupon if 3 3% assuming they were bought at issuance date;
  • SCR ratios have shown signs of deterioration in the first two quarters of 2019, especially for the life business;
  • SCR ratios vary across the EEA, but median values are close to 200% in most countries;
  • Cyber threats have become more prominent;
  • Climate related risks continue to demand supervisory attention;
  • Overall,climate related exposures are approximately 10-13% of total assets in the EEA, mostly driven by exposure to housing sector;

***



PANEL DISCUSSION



Ivana BRATANIC,
MSc, President of the Management Board,
Euroherc osiguranje d.d
  • Our insurance companies and our people are extremely competent;
  • To go towards the Western countries and develop business there is a bigger challenge for an insurer;
  • Although we need to be aware of the future clients, we also need to talk about the clients we have today, some if them not as digitally savvy;
  • We have different clients and they require different ways through an insurance policy is sold to them;


Mario CARINI,
Generali osiguranje d.d
  • Income may not explain fully the insurance penetration degrees;
  • We, the insurers, need to invest more in financial literacy and in the profesionalization of our agents;
  • Italy is a country exposed to NatCat risks and where people own the houses they live in in a very high percentage;
  • In terms of simplification, one aspect we need to look at is the language: because the language of the policies is extremely complicated. Clients needs to be able to understand their insurance policies;
  • Digitalization means changing processes - we, the insurance industry, need to attract people who are not looking at the insurance industry as an option for a career, because we need different skills. The generation which values loialty and stability in their work environment is replaced by a generation with different values;
  • We are optimistic in the future;


Natasa KAPETANOVIC,
President of the Management Board,
GRAWE Hrvatska d.d
  • People are living longer lives. They need to preserve their quality of life;
  • We, as the insurance industry, can help them;
  • The State needs to do more to improve financial literacy - we need to teach children about saving as well as about other financial aspects;
  • All of us are working on improving our clients' experience, we are working on simpler products, we are trying to learn what the new clients want, what their needs are;
  • There is always room for hiring more people in the insurance industry,  to increase their professionalism;
  • The digital channel sales are more cost effective, it is true, but in the Croatian market, where the financial literacy is low, we need our insurance agents who are the ambassadors of the industry among the general public.  Someone needs to make people aware if their needs and aware of the benefits of insurance;
  • We need to have very efficient sales networks, so I believe the number of employees in the insurance industry in Croatia will grow;
  • The insurance industry is conservative, but it has its advantages. It can offer both a stable environment for employees, but also challenges;
  • I expect a growth on the Croatian general insurance market and a stagnation of the Croatian life insurance market;


Sasa KRBAVAC,
President of the Management Board,
UNIQA osiguranje d.d
  • The Croatian insurance market reported an important growth in the past year;
  • 2020-2025 clients: a new generation of clients. They are digital literate people, they spend up to 8 hours a day in the digital world, they are accustomed to Uber, Airbnb and so in, they expect insurers to provide them with 24/24 service;
  • We have to be simpler, faster and more accessible in order to raise to our clients' expectations;
  • This trend of the consolidation of the Croatian insurance market is a result of the legislative framework, among others;
  • As an industry, we are perceived as a conservative industry and this is the reason creative people don't come to us;
  • The Croatian insurance market is extremely resilient. I do believe that we will continue with a significant premium value and high profitability;


Daniel MATIC,
President of the Management Board,
Allianz Zagreb d.d
  • We have been expecting the low interest rates, it was not unexepected;
  • This phenomenon of falling interes rates is even more critical for our Croatian market, because we did not have as much time as Western countries to adapt to it;
  • Our insurance products need to be as simple as possible;
  • In Croatia we work with modular products - simplifying the products is key for an easier digitalization;
  • Digital solutions in Asia and America are more evolved compared with Europe;
  • Digitalization is much more than having a nice application. We need simpler products and simpler business processes;


Marin MATIJACA,
President of the Management Board,
Triglav osiguranje d.d.
  • 2013-2014 on the Croatian insurance market were crisis years;
  • We are following the current global trends, we are not left behind when it comes to the latest technologies;
  • Our people have learned to buy these classical life insurance products and theybare expecting important savings. A lot needs to be done in terms of financial literacy in the following 10 years in order to explain to them the impact of low interest rates;
  • It is very important to have a stable insurance market;
  • Health insurance will be the segment with the best evolution in the next period;


***


Robert SPUDIC,
MSc,
Permanent court-appointed road traffic expert
  • 1899 - the first hybrid car in the world, introduced in France by Porsche. The batteries allowed the vehicle to run for 40km, and it could reach 56 km/hr;
  • Electric power for autombiles has been used already for more than 100 years;
  • The entire transportation industry and the automobile industry is at a crossroad;


Mag. Thomas HURMER,
President,
Avus Group
  • Electric vehicles come in different forms. Electric cars are legalised, it does not behave differently from a diesel car;
  • There are other vehicles used as replacement for other means of transportation: e-scooters;
  • There is a lot of discussion regarding e-scooters;
  • Study in Berlin: e-scooter users have 6 times more accidents than bicycle users;
  • In Austria, 1,000 injured people are expected for 2019 as a result of the use of e-scooters;
  • In only 22 % of European countries (out of the 23 included in the study made by Avus) it is mandatory to have a MTPL insurance for e-scooters;
  • In the UK, e-scooters are banned from public traffic, they can be used only on private properties;
  • As of June 2019, special rules were introduced in Austria, which equate e-scooters to bicycles, the legislation being similar for both types of vehicles;
  • In Austria there is no compulsory TPL- insurance for e-scooters;
  • In Germany, e-scooters are legally declared motor vehicles; insurance is mandatory; no driving licence is required for using an e-scooters;
  • Germany is one of the very few countries were tpl insurance is mandatory for e-scooters; e-scooters have to have a licence plate;
  • At the momemt, there is a lot of development regarding legislation for e-scooters in all the European countries;
  • There should be more consultation between countries in order to develp similar legislation in all of them;


Interactive panel


Ivica JUJNOVIC, Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure
Prof Tomislav Josip MLINARIC, DSc, Dean, University of Zagreb, Faculty of Transport and Traffic Sciences
A. Prof Krunoslav ORMUZ, MSc, University of Zagreb, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture, Motor and Vehicles Department
Goran PEJIC, MSc, Assistant, Technical Affairs Department, Centar za vozila Hrvatske d.d.
Danijela Saban, Member of the Management Board, ADRIATIC osiguranje d.d.
Vladimir TRIVUNOVIC, Head of the Department for Work Methodology and Road Traffic Safety, Ministry of the Interior
Moderator: Danko DRUZIJANIC

  • The insurers must deal with the legal part of the e-scooters
  • There isn't currently any legislarion regarding e-scooters in Croatia. According to the existing rules, it is specified that scooters are not allowed on the road in Croatia
  • We cannot copy legislation made by others. We can use it as inspiration, but we need to define our own legislation
  • Everything that will be introduced to the roads in the future must be safe
  • The legal regulations  oncerning electric vehicles should be beter defined
  • Here in Croatia, our regulation does not include any definition for e-scooters as vehicles
  • An e-scooter is today's iPhone of mobility. We will need to find ways to define it: is it a motor vehicle, is it a small motor vehicle, is it a bicycle and so on.




***


Davor RUNJE,
Co-founder/CTO,
AIRT, Start-up selected by Lloyd's of London Innovation Lab for the application of AI
  • Neural networks add to traditional machine learning, raising the capabilities of the automatic systems to levels comparable or even higher than the human ability to discern among less obvious characteristics of objects
  • Neural networks are more resilient to "bad" quality data because they have the "perception" that allows recognition of "trash" data
  • Supervised learning is the best driver for commercial success
  • Highly successful use cases - motor insurance, health insurance etc.


Lukasz LAPTAS,
Regional Sales Director for Central and Eastern European insurance markets,
TIA Technology
  • Trends that will impact upon the insurance industry:
    1. From reaction to prevention - particularly important in health insurance, but also relevant in property insurance, including motor
    2. Data value and security
    3. Freedom from ownership - for insurers means moving from retail products to "fleets" of various sorts
    4. Increasing service expectation
    5. AI driving transformation
    6. IoT and omnipresent data collection
    7. Rise of ecosystems
  • Co-development of unique digital solutions can be the link between continuing innovation and transformative innovation (disruptive innovation)
  • The three main areas where digital ecosystems develop today - connected home, connected car, connected health


Filip SARAVANJA,
Senior Analyst and Fintech Coordinator,
Croatian Financial Services Supervisory Agency
  • FinTech and InsurTech companies' development reflect not only the increasing capabilities of technologies, but a real cultural change
  • IoT, online media, geocoding, banking etc. are providing all for enormous quantities of data that allow, together, an increasingly accurate "profiling" of customers
  • Challenges for InsurTechs - regulation - but regulators need to protect both customers and investors; innovation is good, but mistakes can not be totally avoided and regulators have to remain attentive; InsurTech hubs are a good way to help this raising , fast-developing industry and its investors to take a good start







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