XPRIMM: How would you comment on your company’s overall performance in 2020? Did the special context created by the Covid-19 crisis have an impact on your business plan for 2020?
K.P: For us, every year of our operation has been full of challenges as the brokerage market is in its early stage of development and we do our best to increase knowledge about
this service and change perception of a broker, but 2020 has introduced special difficulties due to obvious reasons.
I can say that for the year 2020 we were able to meet all key performance indicators and even achieved higher than expected growth rate – 27 % in written commissions, which is basically the revenue for insurance brokers. Definitely, this is the indication of flexibility of the company and ability to adapt to the changing environment.
I expect that the year 2021 will be much more challenging for the industry as we will experience long-term effects of the pandemic. When pandemic was declared, companies had their budgets already approved, while budgets of this year are adjusted by negative implications of Covid-19.
However, one thing I would like to emphasize is that almost 95% of our customers are companies, not individuals, so the way Covid-19 affected businesses in our country will inevitably reflect on the insurance and brokerage market sooner or later. I expect that the year 2021 will be much more challenging for the industry as we will experience long-term effects of the pandemic.
Proportion of companies that use brokers is also increasing. In 2019 roughly 5% of the total market was distributed through brokers, this year we have an increase to 6.5%, but I am sure there is a lot more we can do.
XPRIMM: Did you implement special measures to better reach to your customers and maintain the business portfolio?
K.P.: Always, before, after and during pandemic, our clients and their needs have been and will be our top one priority. We never had strict working hours or preferred means of communication with them, so in this regard Covid-19 did not cause any interruptions and there was not much to change to better reach out to our customers. Working from home was a cultural shock for many organisations, but as we had experience of serving our clients remotely, it turned out to be a pretty natural shift for our employees. In-person meetings and presentations were moved online, which was unusual but definitely not as painful as it would be for many other industries.
XPRIMM: How would you comment on the overall Georgian insurance market’s performance in 2020? What about the insurance distribution’s evolution?
K.P.: If we look at 2020 statistics of the market, it is nice to see that despite pandemic, lockdowns and economic distress, insurance market in Georgia maintains an increasing trend. However, it would be interesting to see the results without foreign exchange rate impact.
Proportion of companies that use brokers is also increasing. In 2019 roughly 5% of the total market was distributed through brokers, this year we have an increase to 6.5%, but I am sure there is a lot more we can do. For comparison, this figure is around 90-95% in developed countries. Eventually, more and more companies and individuals will understand the additional value that brokers create in insurance transactions. To name a few – independent consulting based on specific risks relevant to
each client, obtaining a range of covers from different insurers, explaining complexities of insurance wordings and terms, assistance in claims settlement, etc.
XPRIMM: Providing good quality services to consumers has certainly been more difficult in pandemic conditions? Would you say Georgian insurers succeeded in doing it? What about your company, as an insurance broker?
K.P.: Most of the insurance companies on the market quickly adapted to pandemic and moved their operations online. They made immediate changes to allow digital support and access to customers. Insurers appeared to be flexible in terms of time frames and document requirements. This is one of the areas where the pandemic influenced the market in a good way, as traditionally insurance communications were paper-heavy, but now these online services will stay around and improve customer experience.
Brokerage service in its essence is more digital and does not require as much face-to-face contact and paperwork, as insurance companies do. Because of that, we were able to continue our business as usual. We supported customers with limited access to digital platforms and made sure they had maintained smooth relations with insurers. We managed to demonstrate reliability, resilience, and excellence to our clients.
Overall, I think all direct and indirect participants of Georgian insurance market, such as medical service providers, insurers, brokers, TPAs, etc., coped with the pandemic successfully and I Believe it will strengthen trust towards the insurance industry.
I am certain that no matter what challenges this year brings, with our integrity and belief we will be able to handle them.
XPRIMM: What are your expectations for the year-end, in business terms, both for your company and the whole market?
K.P.: Last year this time the world was full of uncertainty, but now we know that the pandemic will end, it is just a matter of time. Compared to other crises, Covid-19 is substantially different and my expectations are more optimistic in regard to economic recovery and its timelines. However, as I mentioned, I think 2021 will be more challenging than the previous year and we already see its indications in renewals. When pandemic was declared, companies had their budgets already approved, while budgets of this year are adjusted by negative implications of Covid-19.
Our company has always been client-oriented and employeecentric, and we intend to keep the same values. Our employees are our greatest asset who are dedicated to customer needs, brokerage market development, and provision of their professional service to the clients. Therefore, I am certain that no
matter what challenges this year brings, with our integrity and belief we will be able to handle them.
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