A journalist has changed her profession. By the will of fate, she has determined all the advantages of working in the insurance market for her. Being interviewed by the correspondent of the business information center Kapital.kz, the financial consultant of the Fortune Invest LLP Gulnar Zairova speaks about the events in her life leading her to the insurance market and the reasons for a product, such as the life insurance, becoming the main one in her case.
"Gulnar, you turn out to be my colleague..."
"Yes, in the past (she smiles)."
"What is your story? Tell us."
"There is nothing too much unusual in my story, in my opinion, although something significant, fateful is definitely present. I’ve never thought of leaving journalism. I worked in Pavlodar as a magazine chief editor. Once I decided to go to Astana to conquer the television market. So, everything happened here, in the capital, in 2009. I got into an accident, I drove myself, and it was my fault. The result was a broken face, a titanium plate in the left part of it, a year and a half on a hospital bed. Of course, this story knocked me out of the profession. I remember very well the first question asked by the doctor to me: are you insured? Of course, I had no immediate interest in the insurance market. The decision to deal with such a product as the life insurance appeared during a conversation with a consultant like me now. Having survived the accident, I realized that this product is necessary and useful. Besides, a long time of demand lack in the labor market affected my decision. Thus, my career in the insurance market began."
"But now you are not working in the insurance company."
"Really, I am working in a brokerage agency, we cooperate with insurance companies and sell insurance policies. We specialize specifically in the life insurance. This product is correctly called "voluntary accumulative life insurance with participation in profit".
"Let’s talk in more detail about the product."
"A person can save a necessary amount by a certain important moment (child’s enrollment in a higher education institution, child’s wedding or retirement), and also receive reliable insurance protection from unforeseen adverse events related to the health or life for the entire insurance period. Each customer chooses a term individually, taking into account his or her needs. As for the savings, there are two types of income: guaranteed basic income and possibility of getting dividends, in other words, investment income."
"Can we analyze it with a specific example? In the language of figures, so to say, let’s try to calculate concrete benefit based on concrete amounts."
"Of course, we can. Individual work with the customer includes processing his personal data: sex, age, amount of annual premiums, in other words, contributions, insurance period, health state, lifestyle and other aspects. For example, a healthy woman of 40 annually pays 200,000 tenge to the insurance company, having chosen a 20-year insurance period; so, what does she have? First of all, it is her life protection in the form of 4 and a half million tenge for 20 years since the first day after the contract signing. If, by the God’s will, everything is fine in the life of our customer, which I always sincerely wish to everyone, she will receive not only her accumulated 4 million, but also the dividends of about 3 million. Totally, the woman will receive about 7 million tenge by her retirement age."
"It’s not quite clear. A person insures his or her life, and the family gets certain money in the event of death? Or does he or she insure the health against injuries and illnesses?"
"Additional options for the "life insurance" product include health insurance against 11 critical diseases. These are, as you said, injuries, and the 11 critical diseases include oncology, stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and others. God forbid, of course, but they can be diagnosed. If one has money, it’s easier. Even foreign services, treatment are possible with the insurance payments."
"And who gets the 4 million in the event of the insured person’s death?"
"If the person dies for any reason, the money is received by his or her family or a person specified in the policy. If the insured person is fine, the money does not disappear, it stays on the account like a bank deposit. At the end of the chosen insurance term, the person gets the money back together with the interest."
"We are talking about the voluntary insurance, but are there any cases when it is mandatory?"
"I have an example from my personal life: my son plays for the national hockey club "Barys", and the athletes must necessarily insure their lives and health against accidents. This type is not mandatory, but the athlete will not be allowed to compete without the insurance. However, this type is not cumulative. This is a special serious discussion."
"As for the demand, where is this product more popular today: among individuals or in the corporate sector?"
"In my opinion, individuals are more interested in voluntary cumulative insurance. First of all, it is an optimal way of long-term saving and insurance protection for the entire period at the same time. People should be more reasonable about their lives, welfare of their families, future of their children; they should not shift this responsibility to anyone, whether it is the society, state or anything else."
"Gulnar, let us analyze the last 9-10 years of the insurance market as it is the time you’ve devoted to this business. How did the demand for the "life insurance" product change during this time? And how can you explain particular trends?"
"If we take the indicated period of 10 years into consideration, there is a quite noticeable trend of the life insurance popularity growth year by year. This is explained by the trust in the insurance companies growing for many reasons: timely payments in the case of insurance events without bureaucratic delays, and if the insured event has not occurred, the people see their money returning together with the investment income. As a rule, these people open programs again for themselves, their family members and so on. Besides, our compatriots began to travel abroad much more often over the last decade not only as tourists, but also for business and education, they are facing life insurance issues when looking for jobs, and after returning to the homeland their attitude to the life insurance in Kazakhstan is absolutely smooth and reasonable. According to my own experience of insurance, I can note that many of my customers have experience of long staying abroad. In 2001, the annual amount of all customers’ contributions in the entire market was about 70 million tenge, but now the monthly premiums in the life insurance sphere are much more than this amount. It seems to me that Kazakhstanis are slowly learning to ask an unpleasant question to themselves, "What will happen to my children or elderly parents if something happens to me?"
"However, the achievements of your foreign colleagues are probably far away. I’m talking about the popularity of life insurance in Kazakhstan compared to the Western countries."
"The difference is huge. For example, in Japan almost 100% of the population is insured, the same happens in Germany, in America a person will not make a step out without being insured. They have different types of insurance, they insure parts of the body, vocal cords, hair, everything. Recently, a person has insured even the risk of alien invasion in the US, can you imagine?"
"Have you heard such wishes from the customers in Kazakhstan?"
"Never. We are trying to provide Kazakhstanis with the main idea – the life insurance and cumulative program are requirements of nowadays. We have never had cases of asking to insure parts of the body. This is a contract, it is standard. Now we are working hard to improve the culture of the most primitive, I would say, format - the value of life and health."
"What’s the result? I would like you to make a general forecast on the demand for the life insurance in the coming years."
"The popularity is growing, the Kazakhstanis’ attitude to their lives is still reasonable, they love their children, think about the future of their families and look more closely at their future."
"Do you have any statistics on the percentage of deaths in the total number of insured people?"
"It is about 5 insurance cases per 10 thousand people including deaths and injuries. Of course, the percentage is not too high, otherwise the insurance companies would have gone bankrupt long ago."
"And what about guarantees for the deposits? What about the security of investments?"
"You know, if a bank goes bankrupt, the depositor receives at least 10 million tenge, which is the amount of return guaranteed by the Kazakhstan Deposit Guarantee Fund. In our case, the guarantor is the state represented by the National Bank, and the amount is not fixed, no limitations. Besides, some insurance companies have agreements with another guarantor. This is the German reinsurance company Hannover Re, which is a leader in the global insurance market. If something suddenly happens, it also has certain obligations."
"I understand that my next question already has an obvious answer, but I will still ask: have you insured your life?"
"Of course, my family has 5 insurance policies, my husband has two saving programs, I also have two, one of them is for my retirement age, and the other one is for my son’s wedding, now he is 14. And one more cumulative insurance deposit belongs to my elder daughter."
"Good luck to you, Gulnar, and thank you for the conversation!"
AUTHOR: Gauhar Anuarbek