Bancassurance στην Ελλάδα.
Bancassurance in Greece.
SubjectΤράπεζες και τραπεζικές εργασίες ; Τραπεζικό δίκαιο -- Ελλάδα ; Ασφαλιστικό δίκαιο -- Ελλάδα ; Banks and banking -- Insurance business -- Greece
During the last few decades, the introduction of bancassurance has become one of the most important changes in the bank insurance sector. Due to the recent adverse financial situation, the contribution of private insurance in the greater society is becoming increasingly felt and is leading to an increase of profit margins in the private insurance sector and to a greater extent that of the profit margins resulting from insurance products. Private insurance products constitute a new product type for banks, designed to offer high returns and profitability growth contributions with a relative low capital expenditure. In addition, the provision and sale of private insurance products from within the banking sector, enables banks to form long term relationships of trust with clients. Such relationships are a key requirement considering the large number of competing banks and the demographic changes which restrict the growth of client portfolios. Furthermore, banks that choose to expand their operations in the private insurance sector can increase their per customer profit margin and at the same time leverage their overall business risk. Additional potential benefits stem from the banks’ established distribution networks and efficient customer portfolio management, which allow for lower distribution cost and the capability of offering insurance products at more competitive prices as compared to insurance companies. Customers perception of insurance products as closely related to the broader banking system can create a strong sense of security when these products are indeed supplied by banks instead of insurance companies. A bank’s prestige and social standing can serve as to strengthen customers’ purchase intention towards life insurance and private asset insurance products further contributing to the bottom line. The bank organisations in Greece, through acknowledging their competitive advantages, immerse in the insurance market predominantly through the creation of subsidiary insurance companies; this appears to be the best way as it presents to have the most favourable functional and financial results. However, the promotion of insurance products though the bank network presents some significant disadvantages that are particularly specific and relevant to the bank’s employee force. More specifically, the fact that bank employees are in lack of specialised knowledge and certification, in relation to the delivery of insurance services results in the customer’s insufficient informing in relation to the products on offer. Additionally, the fact that the provision of insurance services is not the main duty and responsibility of the bank employees coupled by the low salaries or bonuses received, results in the decreased interest, on behalf of such employees in promoting insurance products and thus the lack of a personal relationship with the customer. Finally, a major disadvantage appears to be the fact that the bank insurance products are specific and therefore do not allow the possibility for flexibility and change, in accordance to the customer’s needs. Insurance companies in Greece are not obliged to publish statistical data relevant to each distribution chanel; therefore the bancassurance share in the insurance market is calculated approximately based on data of the insurance production as published by insurance companies. The percentage of bancassurance participation in life insurance contracts in Europe ranges between 40% and %80, among the whole sum of insurances whereas this percentage is very small on the non life insurance sector (the maximum appears to be 11%, CEA Insurance in figures, November 2010); this demonstrates the margins of participation in the non life insurance sector. The increased percentage of life insurances in Greece has decreased since 2007 to 8,27% in contrast to 17,47% in 2006; in 2008 it has presented a decrease of 0.95% and in 2009 there was an increase of 0.53% (E.A.E.E, Στατιστικη Εκθεση 2009, Η Ιδιωτική Ασφάλιση στην Ελλάδα,, Παραγωγή Ασφαλίστρων 2010 ). On the contrary, the non life insurances present an increase tendency between 2007 and 2009, with a pace of 4%-8%. (E.A.E.E, Στατιστικη Εκθεση 2009, Η Ιδιωτική Ασφάλιση στην Ελλάδα), which is primarily due to the car insurances. However, a limited increase is observed in 2010, the percentage of which is 2,6% (Ε.Α.Ε.Ε , Παραγωγή Ασφαλίστρων 2010). During the last few years banks have limited the provision of mortgages and customer credit, resulting in the decreased market for life insurance products. However, bancassurance continues to be the major sector in the insurance market due to its customers. When considering the various challenges and problems faced by the market in the years to come, the bancassurance products shall concentrate not only on loans and investment proposals but also in new insurance categories that are not included up to date. More specifically, the non life insurance sector and those related to car insurances, as well as the health insurance sector, given that those insured are facing income cuts and are seeking for products that are affordable, in relation to covering health costs.