Customer confidence, digitisation and new regulations on the bancassurance market in Poland

"The Big Game" of the 13th European Banking and Insurance Forum

For the thirteenth time, the Polish Europa Group, the subsidiary of Talanx International has organised the European Banking and Insurance Forum. It is one of the most prominent places for dialogue and to exchange experience in the bancassurance industry. This year's conference took place on 22nd and 23rd May in Warsaw, and the main topics under discussion were clients' confidence, digitisation and new regulations which are to influence the Polish market. It was the first time when the conference was relayed on our Twitter feed: @grupaeuropa.

The forum gathered over one hundred experts and managers from the industry. The main theme of the event was the "Big Game" that is now being played among Polish clients, legislators and financial institutions. The stakes are high: each of the parties wants to have a significant impact on the situation in the financial market.

The special guest of the forum, Mr Herbert K. Haas, Chairman of the Boards of Management of Talanx AG and HDI V.a.G., opened the conference with his lecture: ”Key challenges in building a global company in the changing environment”. “There is only one boss in each company, namely, the client”, said Herbert K. Haas relating to the current role of the consumer in the market.

Jacek Podoba, President of Europa Group, stated that the key factors for keeping a client are sensitivity to their needs, offering the highest quality of products and services that would also meet their requirements. “A change in the behaviour of the consumer, also in the finance services industry, is currently a huge challenge for the whole sector”, added Jacek Podoba.

Client meaning boss

Nowadays the average consumer is active in many different communities and has mobile devices which allow them to dictate the conditions how companies should reach them with their products. Before buying a product or using services, the consumer can easily verify every detail on the Internet. Translocating sales services to the Internet or mobile devices influences the way banks run their business and this factor will become increasingly important for insurers.

“One of the latest trends is Big Data and the insurance industry should be able to make use of its potential quickly. Thanks to such analysis it will be possible to adjust financial products to the needs of our clients, as well as allow for more efficient segmentation and thus development of this industry”, highlighted Christopher Freese, PhD, a senior partner and Managing Director of Boston Consulting Group in Berlin, Head of insurance practice in Europe.

Digitisation is yet another new potential frontier for better use of mass data processing. Another vital topic under discussion was fast growing technologies: ongoing digitisation and automation of processes. Clients increasingly pay attention to the quality of mobile services when choosing a new bank or leaving their current provider. Buying an insurance policy or taking out a loan with one click in an app is becoming standard.

As the "Annual Global CEO survey" from 2013 conducted by PWC shows, 86 per cent of CEOs of global banks are convinced that technologies will be the greatest challenge for lending institutions globally. Similar opinion was expressed by the participants of our Forum. Without introducing innovative solutions that can be beneficial to the existing business model, the chances of maintaining market position are none. Providing financial services through telecommunication providers or giants like Google can permanently change the market landscape. If insurance companies do not want to be marginalised to the role of service providers for other brands, they have to fight for better and more frequent contact with the client.

Legislation games

The discussion panel "Legislation games", which included among others; Krzysztof Pietraszkiewicz, President of the Polish Banks Association, and Jan Prądzyński, President of the Polish Chamber for Insurance, encouraged participants of the conference to take part in a debate on ways of introducing changes and particular solutions. The industry is aware of the necessity to improve solutions for insuring clients, however it is generally thought that excessive regulation in this matter will prevent Polish bancassurance market growth.

Apart from lectures and discussion panels, the participants, experts in bancassurance field, had a chance to express their attitudes towards the topics covered in a live vote. The results showed that 51 per cent of experts believe that within the next two to three years the financial market in Poland will be shaped by increasingly severe regulations. Even though the bancassurance market will go through many changes, 52 per cent of respondents believe it will still grow. The main direction of these changes will be the creation of banking-insurance alliances. In the last two years, the number of people who believe that this is the direction for the bancassurance market has grown by over 40 percentage points.

At the end of 2013, the bancassurance market in Poland constituted as much as 47 per cent of the life insurance market (according to Polish Accounting Standards) and almost 10 per cent of the non-life market. This market is currently undergoing significant changes as the industry adopts self-regulation aimed to further improve products as well as the way they are offered to the end customer.

The 13th European Banking and Insurance Forum was one of the largest annual events for banking and insurance industries and it resulted in heated discussions on the changes and challenges ahead of the whole sector. We believe that the conference held by Europa Group was another important step in building the awareness of bancassurance managers in the areas of the customer topics and the new challenges to be faced.

Katarzyna Greszta
Europa Insurance Group

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