“The Polish bancassurance market has been growing very dynamically. We can see it in the number of products we are developing and selling. Banks are increasingly interested in working with us. Our research shows that customers are satisfied with the insurance products purchased through banks,” says Jacek Podoba, President of the Board of Towarzystwo Ubezpieczeń Europa S.A. and Towarzystwo Ubezpieczeń na Życie Europa S.A.
The Europa Group that specialises in insurance products dedicated for banking sector has just published its Bancassurance in Poland report. The project has been implemented with the support provided by the Warsaw School of Economics and by the Wrocław University of Economics and in collaboration with the Polish Bank Association and with the Conference of Financial Companies in Poland. The survey was conducted by the TNS Pentor research institute and by the Economic Development Institute at the Warsaw School of Economics.
Poles don't have the time
As the research shows, customers of financial institutions are not shopping around for insurance offers. They are happy to follow the suggestions of a bank advisor. More than 60 per cent of respondents learned about the insurance directly from the bank employee. In the opinion of customers, the fact that insurance is sold together with the banking product offers additional benefits. Because the insurance policy is a product added to the banking product, the respondents prefer not to “be bothered about it” and lose time shopping around for it.
The economic crisis drives insurance sales
The most frequent reason behind taking out insurance is the desire to be protected in the event of unemployment (48 per cent of respondents) and death or accident (43 per cent). The above answer was most frequently given by persons using credit products. Over the past three years, the number of respondents expressing their intention to take out unemployment insurance has increased significantly, which may be a sign of a growing public awareness of the economic effects of the slowdown on the lending conditions in Poland.
The respondents are satisfied with their insurance (as much as 93 per cent) and think that they need it (91 per cent). More than 80 per cent of respondents would buy their insurance again if they had to take the decision again.
When thinking about insurance they think about certainty, security and protection. Insurance gives them a sense of stability. Because the awareness of being insured satisfies their emotional needs more than physical ones, respondents do not spend much time analysing the terms of insurance in detail.
I do not know who provides my cover
Every fourth respondent does not know the name of his/her insurer. The above unawareness of the brand is especially noticeable in the case of insurance products attached to cash loans, auto loans and cards. In the case of the above types of products, as many as 30 per cent of respondents do not know their insurer. The broadest knowledge is demonstrated by persons taking out insurance attached to mortgages.
All roads lead through the bank
The reliability of the insurance company offering an insurance product attached to a banking product is supported by the banking institution itself. The fact that an insurance is recommended by a bank employee increases the trust of customers and, in effect, eliminates the customer’s need to verify the insurer. In the opinion of more than 80 per cent of respondents, a bank employee was able to clearly explain the terms of insurance and provided answers to all questions. 72 per cent of respondents said that the sales clerk encouraged them to use the offer. The brand of the insurance company is of secondary importance to customers; it counts only when customers choose the insurer themselves. In such a situation customers most often select well-known brands with which they have had positive experience in the past.
As research conducted by the Europa Group shows, respondents highly evaluate the knowledge of bank employees about banking products. At the same time, they are aware that bank clerks do not have a very broad knowledge of insurance because they specialise in other products. More than 85 per cent of respondents think however that during their visit at the bank they received full product information. 83 per cent of those surveyed said that the bank employee’s knowledge was ‘good’ or ‘very good’ and only 1 per cent expressed a negative opinion.
Offer development and growing demand
In the opinion of managers and employees of banks, the importance of bancassurance products has grown significantly in the past few years. In the opinion of respondents the advent of the financial crisis was the turning point. It was then that the awareness and willingness of both customers and banks to take additional risk mitigation measures increased significantly. The above noticeably spurred insurance product sales. The increased importance of bancassurance products is also a result of the benefits they offer both for banks and for the customers. The respondents expect that the insurance offer will be largely extended in the future and will constitute a sizeable portion of a bank’s revenues. In their attempt to provide comprehensive services, banks will work more closely with those insurance companies that will provide the best offer.
Banks are choosing innovators
The quality of service offered by insurance companies is very high. When taking a decision to start business with an insurer, respondents were paying attention mainly to the parameters of the offer proposed, its innovation and price to end customer. An insurance company capable of offering an innovative product going beyond the standard is able to gain sustainable competitive advantage.
Because it is the bank that distributes bancassurance products, also insurance products are associated by end customers with the bank. Thus, any problems or shortcomings on the part of the insurance company may harm the image of a bank in the eyes of its customers. In the opinion of banks, insurers must demonstrate professionalism in every aspect of the business relationship, especially in the area of claim payments and loss adjustment to which the end customers are especially sensitive.
The consumer research conducted by TNS Pentor involved the use of multiple research tools. An omnibus survey was conducted in January 2011 on a representative sample of around 1,000 Poles above 15 years of age. The research also included the CAWI method used to interview persons who in the past 12 months signed insurance contracts in connection with banking products. Among other methods were focus group research with customers and in-depth interviews (IDI) with the representatives of bank management.
Among other sources used in the preparation of the report were the general household survey commissioned by the Conference of Financial Companies in Poland and conducted by the Economic Development Institute at the Warsaw School of Economics (IRG SGH) as well as surveys of business tendencies at bank branches conducted by TNS Pentor in collaboration with and commissioned by the Polish Bank Association.
For additional information please contact:
Director, Marketing and PR Department
TU Europa SA
TUnŻ Europa SA
tel. +48 71 334 17 70
Head of Financial Services Department
Ciszewski Financial Communicationsmobile+48 533 771 882