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Dmitriy Zherebyatyev: “We need an alternative”.

Dmitry Igorevich has worked in the insurance market of Kazakhstan for many years, heading a well-known insurance company, and has firsthand knowledge about its advantages and disadvantages. That time and now he raises the issues of this sphere digitalization because of it is required greatly in the current conditions. The expert touched on the life insurance market in the country within a talk with LifeInsurance.
Dmitriy Zherebyatyev: “We need an alternative”.

- Dmitry Igorevich, introduction of online insurance is actively being discussed now in the financial sector. What, in your opinion, an electronic insurance policy will give the citizens of Kazakhstan?

- First of all, there will be no need to visit the office of insurance company. But there is an issue of principle, which has not yet been resolved - existence of a Common database, in which all electronic policies will be maintained, and which will allow verification of insurance intermediaries and companies integrity. To date, the data is not entirely relevant and not fully used for development of digitalization of the insurance itself in the Common database, which insurers have started to maintain, if I am not mistaken, since 2007. There is no guarantee that the database in the form available now will be able to protect against problems with various fraudsters in this field. And this is a big problem. Certain investments and efforts are required from market players in order to solve it.

This database could be useful from the point of view of loss-making analysis by insurance classes, control of policies correctness, and it is especially required for actuarial calculations and health insurance. While we do not have a Common digital health base, insurers could use the existing database for some time.

- Why has this problem been not solved till now, since the question is so important?

- Initially, the database was transferred to private entities, and the requirements to it concerned mainly the input of information.

- Most life insurance companies say that they are almost ready to introduce e-insurance. How do you think, what is the difficulty here? 

- LIC’s products are more expensive than the products of Compulsory insurance of motor vehicles owners’ liability, and people are not always ready to pay so much money immediately. Prior to buying of a more expensive product, every person usually has a natural desire to touch it, make sure of its quality. That is a kind of psychological barrier. And here, as it is quite possible, the help of online consultant will be required.

- There is an opinion that our young generation, who is already at the age of over 30, is more prepared for online services, including purchasing of life insurance products. What is your opinion regarding it

- Yes, they are certainly more ready. On the other hand, there is a tendency to rent everything now, and they are not much fixated on permanent things. At the same time, the generation of the sixties has a greater propensity for accumulation; we have a need in own house, car. To-date, everything is gradually changing: people are increasingly willing to spend money on their education, travelling, and less tendency to money saving.

Another feature of our people is short planning of horizons in the current situation in the country, so not everyone is ready to invest, give money for a long time, for example, for 10 years, everyone used to have deposits for 1-3 years. In fact, money usually is deposited for a longer period, but just not all are ready to immediately identify a long period of investment. Banks spoiled people; there are recall deposits for one year with a rate of 14% after all.

The second obstacle of LIC is absence in our country of a developed stock market and broad investment opportunities.

- According to your practice, which thing attracted customers in insurance mostly?

- Marketing and good point service. You have probably witnessed when the service was created on the principle of call centers with girls who did not really understand the product itself. And the service here is very important, because is medicine, and other areas, and calculations on the calculator, and you need to explain everything in detail, explain intelligibly. Whether it's the case when a grandmother comes and writes out what documents which are not clear, and it's quite another matter when a company comes and offers serious cross products, everything that the client needs. Naturally, a person goes where he understands and where he is more comfortable.

- What products of LIC did you use personally?

- I applied to 2-3 insurance companies with a request for non-standard accident insurance in parallel with the investment. But so far I have not received any offers. It seems to me that it is a rather interesting product: payment in case of death of the breadwinner or loss of capacity of working. Such products are on the market, but they are standardized, not always companies are ready to change or create some conditions for a certain customer.

- When will the Kazakhstani people have more desire to buy products of LIC, in your opinion?

- When more good issuers appear on our stock market represented by large companies. When life insurance companies will be able show their long conservative portfolios that are hard currency-coded, so that people can be sure of their reliability. There is also a need for a rating of life insurance companies.

- From your point of view, what is the reason for such a cool attitude of society towards insurance itself, including life insurance?

- It seems to me that this is due to the fact that we love our banks greatly, which are well supported by the state to-date. Therefore, we do not have so many oligarchs, who hold investment funds and insurance companies, they are mostly in banks. But if you imagine theoretically that there will be no banks, then what will happen? We need an alternative. But it also takes a lot of time and efforts to grow up large investment and insurance companies. The banking sector has been developing for 25 years. Although insurance companies in the West are larger than banks, they lobby large changes in legislation in state agencies and parliaments regarding not even insurance, but borderline issues, for example, in interaction of insurers with various organizations. Why do we support banks? This is a business; insurance seems to be much more difficult. I do not know how to solve this situation. I think that much depends on the regulator - the National Bank.

Source of photo: personal files of D. Zherebyatyev,

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