Our goal is to enter the TOP-10 insurance companies in Ukraine
Euroins Ukraine was one of the first in the non-life insurance market to announce the successful results of its work in 2020. How to adapt a business to a post-covid reality, find new clients, grow and implement your plans despite the corona virus crisis, says the chairman of the board of the company Yanko Nikolov.
It is often said now that a crisis is a time of opportunity. Do you agree with this statement?
- In my opinion, this is just a fashionable cliché. The crisis cannot bring new opportunities if you do not understand how to act in the current situation. Opportunities do not arise by themselves - they only appear for those who have already done a lot of preliminary work.
If you systematically build a business, develop a company, the result will not be long in coming, and even serious external changes are unlikely to become a hindrance. During the corona virus crisis, the Euroins team and I became even more convinced of this. So, despite all the challenges of 2020, over the past year our bonuses have grown by more than a third, we have increased the client portfolio, retained all jobs and the level of remuneration of our specialists. At the same time, all the requirements of the new regulator were strictly followed.
Moreover, our growth was profitable: in comparison with the "pre-crisis" 2019, when the company's financial result was negative, Euroins' net profit for 2020 exceeded UAH 37 million.
What are the most proud results of the last year?
- First of all, the growth rates of our business. Before the start of the quarantine restrictions, we planned an annual increase in insurance premiums in 2020 at the level of 25%. But in the end, we managed to attract 36% more than a year earlier. Behind these numbers is the colossal work of the entire team.
The second reason for pride: in the conditions of economic and social instability, we grew not only quickly, but also qualitatively. For the timely fulfillment of all obligations, we have increased the financial stability of the company. Assets of Euroins increased by 47%, and equity - by 40%. Of course, we 100% complied with all NBU standards, and also strictly adhered to market standards for the quality of services. This, for example, is evidenced by our indicator of "green traffic light" in the rating of the Motor Insurance Bureau of Ukraine.
There is another achievement that I am proud of. At a time when many companies and entire industries were shutting down their business, we retained the team and the payroll. I am very pleased that the team supported this step and confirmed its correctness with such high results.
What areas did you manage to grow in 2020?
- We have a perfectly balanced portfolio - about 50% of it is "motor", another half is accounted for by other types of insurance. And we have been actively increasing the volume of business in new sectors for us. In my opinion, the key to success is understanding customer needs and being willing to provide timely solutions for them.
A striking example is the situation with the pandemic. While many insurers were pondering whether it was possible to provide people with insurance coverage against coronavirus, Euroins quickly developed and in May 2020 offered a health insurance program in the event of COVID-19. Its peculiarity is that we accompany the client at all stages of treatment, and not just make a payment after recovery, like many of our colleagues in the market. Of course, this product turned out to be in demand, and it helped us to declare ourselves in the VHI sector. Our premiums in this area have grown by 114%, and the number of insured has exceeded 7000 people. Today, medical insurance is among the TOP-3 areas of our business, and we do not plan to stop.
The second component of our growth is the strengthening of positions in those sectors where we have already managed to declare ourselves earlier, even before the corona virus crisis. The stake on motor insurance was made at the very beginning of Euroins' work in Ukraine. Having good prerequisites for development in this sector, we continued to improve our work and build up our portfolio.
What exactly do you do in auto insurance?
- In the retail segment of auto insurance, we focused on improving service and access to our products - both in terms of hull insurance and in the most massive direction, OSAGO. We do not hesitate to say that the Euroins team is very fond of the "auto civil liability" market. We provide the most popular product and this is where it all begins - our acquaintance with the client, our partnership with popular online services and platforms, our brand awareness among a wide audience. Not everyone understands how serious this area of work is. In Ukraine, there is a harmful stereotype that the OSAGO market does not need special knowledge, people do not know enough about insurance, and the insurer just gets the money and leaves. In Euroins, this is treated in a completely different way.
We are sure that a mandatory and at the same time a mass insurance product is extremely responsible, and this is a real test of the company's reliability. The client today can very quickly assess the capabilities of the insurer, the quality of its offers, the speed of payments and support of all processes. Partners react just as quickly.
Therefore, we are proud that today the CTP policy from Euroins can be issued on all popular insurance aggregators, from Hotline Finance to Polis.ua, in the applications of most large retail banks, from PrivatBank to monobank. At the end of 2020, the increase in our premiums for OSAGO exceeds 48%, the company is confidently among the TOP-10 insurers of Ukraine in terms of the number of sold auto-civil insurance policies and our positions are constantly growing - in the fourth quarter of 2020 we were already in 6th place.
What else, besides the listed factors, made successful work possible?
- Products, technologies, new ideas - all these are embodied by specific people. Euroins Ukraine started to form its team at the end of 2016. Many employees who joined the company at the beginning of its work have already gone through to the leaders. Our team has invaluable qualities, without which we could not grow. This is a willingness to change, a desire to learn and an ability to work for the result.
Today we continue to develop the corporate culture of Euroins, we study a lot. We pay significant attention to digital literacy, issues of remote project and team management. We all need new skills: after all, we, insurers, are used to communicating with clients live, offline, and now it's time to learn online formats of communication and sales. Of course, I believe that everything will work out.
How did the change of the regulator go for your company? Have you felt any difficulties in moving under the supervision of the NBU?
- Both our European shareholders and the Ukrainian team of Euroins are well aware of the relevance of changes in the insurance market. We believe that it will be easier to implement them with the arrival of the new regulator. Today we do not see any difficulties and fully comply with all the requirements of the NBU for insurance companies and their financial reliability. I am sure that thanks to the active cooperation of business, industry associations and the regulator, the Ukrainian market will make a qualitative breakthrough in the near future. We also hope that with the help of the new regulator, our clients will have more information about which companies are truly reliable and honestly fulfill their obligations.
The Euroins team is always happy to take part in a dialogue with the regulator and share its expertise. It is for this that in 2020 we became a member of NASU, the National Association of Starhove Companies of Ukraine. We joined the project because it is the largest association of "classic" insurers that steadily fulfill their financial obligations, demonstrate high solvency and are interested in introducing the best standards of work on the market. And this completely coincides with our vision of Euroins business in Ukraine.
Euroins plans for 2021 - the same dynamic growth?
- Today it is already obvious that the active growth of the client portfolio and the volume of premiums is one of the main markers of the company's successful work. First, growth speaks of the trust of customers and partners. Secondly, when the market passes the stage of concentration, as it is happening now in Ukraine, it is very important to develop faster than competitors, to increase its market share and strengthen its position.
We at Euroins are well aware that with the current trends, in 2-3 years a limited number of large players will remain on the Ukrainian market. These will be well-known insurance brands with a solid reputation and reliable financial performance. Our goal is to enter the TOP-10 insurance companies in Ukraine. It determines our plans for 2021 and for the next few years.
In order to grow, we plan to enter new segments and continue to diversify our portfolio. For this very purpose, at the end of last year, our company received three new licenses - for railway hull insurance, compulsory aviation insurance and agricultural insurance. We do not exclude that for the further development of Euroins in Ukraine, we will not only receive new licenses, but also acquire another insurance company.
We are constantly raising our bar, so we will strive for even more dynamic growth than in 2020. But at the same time, it is fundamentally important for us that this growth is profitable and not based on compromises. The priority remains the strict fulfillment of all requirements of the regulator and all obligations under our contracts. These are the principles of the European group Euroins, which we always adhere to in Ukraine.