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УДК 378.4 (476.6) DIRECT - EXPERIENCES OF THE POLISH INSURANCE MARKET Ryszard Pukala, State School of Technology and Economics in Jaroslaw, Poland e-mail: ryszard.pukala@interia.pl

Dynamic development of an insurance market on the turn of centuries is also a development of new direct distribution channels. Their role is gradually growing and the assortment of offered products not only includes vehicle insurance, but also a vast spectrum of personal (including life insurances) and property products aimed at natural persons and business entities.

We need to assume that due to client expecta­tions and a dynamic development of electronic distribution channels, direct insur­ances will become one of the most rapidly developing segments of the insurance mar­ket in the years to come, not only in Poland, but also in Europe.

DIRECT - ОПЫТ ПОЛЬСКОГО СТРАХОВОГО РЫНКА

Динамическое развитие страхового рынка на рубеже XXI и XX века - это также развитие новых каналов дистрибуции типа direct. Их роль посте­пенно увеличивается, и ассортимент предлагаемых продуктов включает не только автомобильное страхование, но также широкий спектр продуктов личного страхования (в том числе жизненного), а также имущественного, на­правленных частным и юридическим лицам. Надо полагать, что в связи с ожиданиями клиентов и динамическим развитием электронных каналов про­дажи в ближайшие годы direct будет одним из наиболее быстро развивающих­ся сегментов страхового рынка не только в Польше, но и во всей Европе.

The turn of the centuries marked the period of dynamic development of new communication technologies and direct sale systems. The use of electronic channels considerably facilitates trading and client service processes, by generating new de­velopment opportunities for the companies. This particularly relates to the insurance sector, which due to the financial crisis needs to undertake actions aimed at optimiz­ing operating costs, including reduction of expenditure related to accessing a client. Therefore, lots of insurance companies operating on the market strive to increase their product sale and at the same time reduce operating costs by using alternative distribution channels to this end, namely direct ones.

Their effectiveness, efficiency and rapid passing of information to the client provide an argument for their applica­tion. Both sides benefit from this solution:

• an insurance company - demonstrates lower acquisition costs and lowers the risk of potential fraud;

• client - saves time and money - since a company has much lower acqui­sition costs the product is cheaper.

We need to note though, that the direct system is most efficient when it comes to the sale of relatively simple insurance products, such as civil liability insurance for vehicle owners, personal accident insurance, real estate insurance and assistance. It is obvious that more complicated products require the meeting of an agent or a broker to present the offer in greater detail. These include, among others, property, health, professional liability and life insurance linked to various funds.

Undoubtedly, all these elements are characteristic for the Polish insurance market where the first direct policy was sold in January 2003. Thus, it is a relatively fresh market. In the first years insurances per call and Internet were offered only by one company and clients kept their distance from products offered in such a way. The years 2006 - 2007 marked a breakthrough: the number of insurance companies offer­ing direct insurances grew to over a dozen. Clients’ attitudes also changed, as they exhibited more trust towards this form of sale. It resulted in a dynamic growth of ac­quired premiums - see Chart 1 - as well as a gradual broadening of the product offer.

Chart 1. Premium written in the direct system in Poland in the years 2006 - 2013

(PLN million)

Source: data from the Polish Insurance Association for the years 2008 - 2013 (Where 1 PLN about 0, 25 EUR).

As indicated by the data above for the last 8 years of operation, the direct mar­ket has observed a seven-fold growth in Poland, which only confirms an ever greater client interest in this type of service, although they have not become a significant dis­tribution channel so far, demonstrating a market share of 4 % in the property insur­ances group, and are only entering the life insurances market.

We also need to under­line that a few years ago the range of products offered by property insurers was virtu­ally limited to civil liability insurance for vehicle owners. Currently, the offer is broader, although vehicle insurances dominate on the market with the share of 78, 4 % of the direct market - Chart 2.
Chart 2. Direct market structure in Poland (%) as of end 2013

Source: data from the Polish Insurance Association for the year 2013.

In the total vehicle insurances market, the direct system constitutes about 5, 5 % of the entire sale. On the one hand, we can say that it is not much, but on the other hand, we need to remember that this is the freshest and definitely the most rap­idly developing property insurance distribution channel in Poland. In other European countries the share of direct in the sale of vehicle insurances oscillates between sev­eral and over a dozen per cent. Great Britain is an exception - insurers provide pro­tection to over 40 % of drivers there. At the same time, it is the most mature direct market in Europe - the first company offering insurance per call appeared in the 1980s.

We must emphasize that along with vehicle, the share of accident insurances and assistance observes a growth in the insurance market. However, these are mostly products related to vehicle insurances that are a certain carrier of the sales.

Undoubtedly, extension of the insurance offer provides new opportunities for specifying a more client-friendly insurance contract. Due to changes in consumer be­haviour, omnipresence of Internet and mobile apps in every field of life, clients seek uncomplicated and easy-to-buy products. Direct insurers stress that their products can be cheaper for selected client groups, since they can prepare an offer based on a very broad spectrum of variables that directly influence the risk evaluation, and conse­quently, the premium level. This is a doubtless advantage for a recipient.

However, in the case of obligatory vehicle insurances, it is quite easy, as the civil liability insur­ance for vehicle owners covers the same aspects, no matter which insurer provides the service. The price is the main criterion for a downstream user. When it comes to voluntary insurances, it is not that obvious. Apart from the price, we need to pay spe­cial attention to insurance conditions and claims adjustment system, since these offers can be less beneficial than the ones of traditional insurers, particularly for clients who value direct contact with insurer’s representatives on all stages, including the process of claims reporting and adjustment.

Insurances offered in the direct distribution channel not only increase the sale opportunities for an insurer, but also positively influence the development of insur­ances marketed traditionally. We can point at new solutions that have appeared in Po­land since the introduction of the direct offer on the market. These include, among others:

• possibility of concluding an auto-casco contract without a visual inspec­tion and taking photos of a vehicle before signing the contract;

• possibility of purchasing the so-called protection of bonuses, e.g. guaran­tee to keep them despite the accident;

• transferring no-claims bonuses between spouses;

• bonuses for recommending the company to another person;

• extension of assistance services;

• separate insurance of car glass (apart from auto-casco);

• accelerating the adjustment of simple claims by making a payment only based on a visual inspection of an expert (or even a phone conversation).

Individual clients have remained the dominating target group in the direct dis­tribution channel, however the interest in corporate clients is observable as well. The offer is aimed mainly at the micro, small and - more and more often - medium-sized enterprises, covering an ever broader range of offered products and adapting them to individual needs of an enterprise.

Not long ago the direct offer constituted a serious contender for traditional in­surance agents. Even more serious, since backed up by massive, nation-wide adver­tising campaigns, a growing digitalization of the society and changing client behav­iour aimed at a broader use of electronic contact channels. Currently the situation is undergoing gradual changes: insurance companies operating on the market mostly use a hybrid sale system combining electronic channels and insurance agents’ work. Both sides benefit from this solution. An insurer can offer its products to a considera­bly larger number of clients, while agents have been granted access to modern and attractively priced products. Both sides are using IT solutions that make lots of sale and client service processes more automatic to an ever greater extent. It has its im­pact on the policy price, facilitates services provided to a policy holder and makes communication between an insurer and a client more comfortable for an agent.

The Polish direct insurances market is gradually expanding. It reflects the ten­dency observed on the European market. According to Mount Onyx company, au­thors of the Online Insurance Trends 2012 report, the online sale of insurances and the sale using direct channels is now and will continue to be the most rapidly growing business model in Europe. Therefore, it is certainly a chance for a further, dynamic development of products offered to clients by insurers, not including the protection of transport risks, but others aimed at natural persons and enterprises operating on the market. However, we need to note that while the online sale remains a leading chan­nel of vehicle insurances sale, the global market research and consumer opinion sur­veys conducted by Ernst & Young (“Global Consumer Insurance Survey 2012”) or Deloittte (“2012 Global Insurance Outlook”) confirm that at purchasing life insur­ances clients still exhibit the need for interaction with an agent and their expert ad­vice, which indicates the growth of call centre sector and the use of traditional distri­bution channels based on a direct contact with a client, offered by insurance agents and brokers.

Looking from this angle at the development of direct insurances, we need to emphasize that they will certainly constitute a very important distribution channel along with the development of electronic communication tools. However, they will not replace traditional ways of selling products offered by insurers and insurance agents. They will only become a highly useful and modern supplement aimed at the broadest and multi-layer client services in the context of changing expectations and market conditions.

References

1. Global Consumer Insurance Survey 2012, Ernst & Young, http://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/Global_Consumer_Insurance_Survey_2012_- _Time_for_insurers_to_rethink_their_relationships/$FILE/Global%20Consumer%20Insurance%20 Survey%202012%20-%20Trevor%20Rorbye.pdf, (2014-03-30).

2. Information about direct in Poland, Polish Insurance Association, http://www.piu.org.pl/aktualnosci/project/1791/pagination/1 (2014-04-05).

3. Information about Polish insurance market in years 2006 - 2013, Polish Financial Su­pervision Authority,

http://www.knf.gov.pl/opracowania/rynek_ubezpieczen/Dane_o_rynku/Dane_roczne/dzne_roczne.h tml (2014-04-06).

4. Online Insurance Trends 2012 report., Mount Onyx Company, http://www.mountonyx.com/fileadmin/user_upload/Ablagebox/Dokumente/MOG_OIT- Folder_Download_20121011.pdf, (2014-03-28).

5. Pukala R. Direct - панацея на кризис? Insurance TOP, nr 3 (27), Международная агенция “BeeZone”. Киев, 2009. Стр. 66 - 68.

6. Pukala R. The Polish insurance market in the years 2004 - 2011, Acta Oeconomica Cas- soviensia, University of Economics in Bratislava, 2012. Str. 56 - 81.

7. 2012 Global Insurance Outlook, Deloittte, https://www.deloitte.com/assets/Dcom-

Ger-

many/Local%20Assets/Documents/09_Finanzdienstleister/2012/FSI_Global_Insurance_Outlook_2 012.pdf, (2014-04-02).

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Источник: Коллектив авторов. СОЦИАЛЬНАЯ РОЛЬ СИСТЕМЫ СТРАХОВАНИЯ В УСЛОВИЯХ РЫНОЧНОЙ ЭКОНОМИКИ РОССИИ Сборник трудов XV Международной научно-практической конференции (Казань, 2-5 июня 2014 г.). 2014

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