Life insurance in Russia: development prospects and transformation

Vladimir Chernikov: “It is necessary to strive to ensure that the insurance becomes a need for a person.”

The demand for life insurance products by consumers has become apparent over the past years. However, at present, more than a quarter of the fees in this segment are for credit insurance, which, continuing to increase its market share, is increasingly promoting household credit.

Life insurance in Russia: development prospects and transformation

As in these conditions, is the case with socially important insurance products which can contribute to the growth of cumulative programs, and also affect the work of companies’ new legislative initiatives, information and analytical resources of Calmins.com told the General Director of the Company Ingosstrakh-life Vladimir Chernyakov.

– Vladimir Vladimirovich, good afternoon! We are glad to see you and thank you for your cooperation! We suggest starting from the first question. Currently, insurers are actively discussing changes in the Direction of the Bank of Russia, which sets out the requirements for accumulative life insurance programs. How do you think it will affect the product line and the market as a whole?

– Making predictions and putting forward hypotheses about possible changes in business processes and products in the portfolio before the document receives the final content approval, is I think premature. When we see the requirements of the Central Bank in the final editorial office, it will become clear what amount we will have to revise insurance programs with an investment component, which changes will be necessary to contribute to insurance and regulatory documentation, which should be reconfigured in operational processes, update in IT systems etc.

In the meantime, the Central Bank is providing details of the updated conditions under which insurers will be able to carry out investment and accumulative life insurance, and the insurance community is in a constant dialogue with the regulator, sending their suggestions that will help to form the final version of the document.

– That is, we can say that you are ready for global reconfiguration and transformation?

– Ingosstrakh-Life company, as a participant in the insurance market, is obliged to act in accordance with the law, with recommendations and instructions of the regulator. We work and will work under those conditions that regulate insurance activities and will be prescribed by legal norms. The future of the insurance market depends on the professionalism of all its participants, from strategically verified decisions aimed at making insurance more affordable, democratic and popular. Of course, we are ready to make our contribution to this and indeed already do.

– According to the information from the market about the proposed plans of the Central Bank to ensure guarantees and protection of customer insurance premiums through the DIA (Deposit Insurance Agency) according to bank deposits, how do you think this will affect the guarantee system for insurers and the cost and availability of insurance for the end user?

– The guarantee system should increase customer security and promote the advancement of life insurance products. The cost of its creation and deductions of insurance companies are likely to affect the cost of the policy. However, what this measure will be due to – namely, additional guarantees from the state, will be assessed by the consumer and may have a positive marketing effect, expressed in the ability to attract additional customers and strengthen the confidence of existing ones.

Life insurance in Russia: development prospects and transformation

– In 2022, we expect the emergence of a new long-term program in the market – equity insurance of life. How will this affect the product line Accumulative life insurance and investment life insurance? What should the market as a whole expect?

– As now the concept of equity life insurance is still being worked out, talking about future changes, I think, is too early. If the Russian Unit-Linked will become one-row with existing programs of investment and accumulative life insurance as originally announced by the Central Bank, it means that the long-term program will receive another financial instrument – with all evidence, more highly profitable due to the availability of ample investment opportunities.

However, the Ministry of Finance recently focused on the fact that equity life insurance will replace, and not complement accumulative and investment life insurance. In this case, it should be said that participation in long-term accumulative programs will be the privilege of qualified investors who will bear the risks from their actions. When implementing such a scenario, there is a danger that by implementing one investment tool that is beneficial for a certain circle of players – qualified investors, the market will lose two others, each of which is currently solving specific needs. Accumulative life insurance acts as a long-term piggy bank with a guaranteed income in the form of a social tax deduction, possible investment income, ensuring the return of capital at the end of the program. Investment life insurance allows the implementation of risk-free investments with a 100% capital protection guarantee.

– Banks provide a significant increase in life insurance. The positive dynamics of credit insurance following the first half of this year reached 51.9%. At the same time, in October, the Central Bank published the requirements for insurance which is sold along with the Credits. How do these requirements, in your opinion, affect life insurance?

– The banking channel of sales retains dominant positions, and it imposes great responsibility for them. The vast majority of customers receive experience with insurers and the practice of acquiring insurance products as a result of credit insurance: people make up their opinion about the entire insurance institute, based on one insurance contract, which is concluded when issuing a loan.

So, our task is to make sure that this contract works as efficiently as possible, is transparent, understandable, would have a high level of recycling, and therefore, carries a high value for the client. If it turns out that the expectations of the consumer do not correlate with reality, they will be negatively configured towards further interaction with the insurer. And on the contrary – if everything is fine, they understood how financial protection works, then the insurer also benefits from this, because his client will take a new, conscious look at the possibilities of insurance, at various other insurance products.

An indication of the Central Bank, which you mentioned, contains the requirements in detail and in easy to understand way that informs the client that it, in fact, acquires, signing a life insurance contract. The document instructions standardize the time limits and the procedure for obtaining insurance payments, establishes the amount of payment that should not be less than the size of the loan. All this in the aggregate should work to maximize the needs and expectations of customers.

– Vladimir Vladimirovich, are you set up quite positively in terms of the implementation of the provisions of this document?

– Everything that contributes to an increase in the value of the product for the consumer, to strengthen its confidence in the insurer and is aimed at improving the awareness of the acquisition of insurance products, of course, environmentally affects the future.

– Not far off the New Year. What are the plans of the company “Ingosstrakh-Life” in 2022?

– Continue to work on developing programs that will be really in demand by consumers and are necessary for them. Do everything to strengthen long-term relationships with customers and partners so that the results of our joint work are those that they expect, and may surpass these expectations. To increase the client value of the products, to develop direct sales channels – agency, frontal, and, of course, remote – I think it has great potential.

– That is, do you think that the future is online?

– I am sure of that. Consumer request for online services is obvious, it is among the main trends in sales. Through the Internet, you can buy literally everything you need in everyday life. Therefore, the acquisition of insurance certificates should be made easier to save the client from traveling to the sales office, from paper fuss – everything should be online. We need to strive to ensure that insurance becomes a daily need, habit. When people are on vacation, they spend money on it, for them it is understandable and necessary. I would like to ensure in our country the same attitude is formed. In order for a person to accept as fact that his property, life, and health should be under insurance protection.

Vladimir Vladimirovich, on behalf of Calmins.com, thank you for your time and interesting answers! We wish you and Ingosstrakh-Life to complete 2021 successfully and to continue technologically promoting the insurance market of Russia in the New Year. We are waiting for new customer-oriented and affordable products.

Sergei N. correspondent specifically for Calmins.com:Автор статьи Calmins: Сергей Н.

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