The magazine “World Finance” has given your company the “Global Insurance Award” as the best Hungarian life insurer for the third time in succession. What do you think makes you more successful than your competitors?
Anett Pandurics: Naturally, it’s a fantastic feeling to receive an accolade like this from an international magazine. This is a reward for all the work that we put in each year. However, the award also belongs to all the employees who sell our products for us every day in around 2,500 Hungarian postal branches. They are the ones who provide the service that our customers expect. A big role in the award of the prize appears to be that we pay a great deal of attention to the requirements and the proposals put forward by our sales staff and our customers.
Can you provide us with an example?
We try to integrate as many feasible ideas as possible into our products and services. One example was to make the core data of our customers available to sales employees in the postal branches in real time through our electronic sales system. Thanks to this innovation, our colleagues in sales are immediately able to call up the data of customers who already have a contract with us. If these customers want to conclude a new contract with us, this makes processing easier for both sides – the customer and our sales colleague. Improvements like this contributed to help us outperform the market in life insurance business in 2015.
How has the Hungarian insurance market been developing in recent years?
The market demonstrated its stability during the financial crisis and in recent years it has continued to grow steadily. Property insurance has been the driver of this growth. After a long period of tough price wars in the area of statutory compulsory motor liability insurance, premiums started to climb again in this area. But the fact is that average insurance premiums are still far below the level that we can see in neighbouring countries.
What are the most important trends?
The Hungarian economy has proved itself stable over recent years and the assets of households and companies are increasing. That’s why the demand for insurance of material assets is likely to continue growing. Another effect of the favourable economic development is that the number of people who want to take out travel insurance when they go on holiday is increasing every year. More and more people in Hungary are also becoming aware of the need to make private provision for old age.
What opportunities does private provision for old age offer for insurers?
It is obvious that life and health insurance, and private pension insurance, offer the greatest opportunities for growth. A large number of studies have demonstrated that more and more Hungarian people are becoming aware of the fact that as pensioners, they will be unable to finance their lifestyle from the state pension alone. The stability of the Hungarian pension system is only assured up until the year 2030. The function of insurers in this area is not to appear as fearmongers and send everyone into a panic but to present a realistic alternative.
Young Hungarians in particular will therefore have to make more provision than their parents?
That is undoubtedly the case. But as insurers we are confronted with a challenge. We are no longer reaching the young target group through the old, orthodox sales channels. Young people don’t tend to go into their local post office branch and take out an insurance policy there. This is why it is important to review our products, services and sales concepts. We need to make use of the advantages offered to us by digitalisation.
What steps are you taking to get in contact with young customers?
We have to find new ways to reach Generation Y. We are working at creating modern services for our younger target groups and we want to develop products that are tailored to their needs. We are establishing products and services where this target group spends a lot of time: on social networks. We have set up communities on Facebook that are tailored to three specific topics and these are intended to reach a total of 300,000 people. This spring we are also launching a completely new brand called “HELLO”, which will offer insurance policies for the younger generation. The first policy is going to be a bicycle insurance with the associated service. Anybody who has a claim can report it to us and we will help them. Sales and claims settlement are carried out exclusively online.
Global Insurance Award
The British finance magazine “World Finance” confers an annual award on the best insurer in each country. In Hungary, Magyar Posta Életbiztosító Zrt. received the award last year for the third time in succession following on from 2014 and 2015. The Hungarian company is a joint venture of Talanx International AG – which holds 67 percent – and the Hungarian Post.