Q1.At least in theory, any center-left government should be more preoccupied by the issues of better social protection. A better pensions system is one big chunk of that, but so are health insurance services. Is there any new development that you see on these fronts and if so, what are they? Do they exist at all? Are they good news or bad news?
The reform of the health system which should be passed in a foreseeable future, can have positive impact and bring benefits for all the parties involved (Government, public and private sector and more importantly, people). This is a natural and necessary step to be made, mainly considering the present situation of the health system in Romania: underfinanced, outflow of the medical staff, shortages of medicines, consumables, quality of medical services in the public sector, lack of real prevention activities. If properly designed and implemented, it will offer Romanians access to the insurer’s network, the medical network, medication and a better financing system. For the time being, there is no clear strategy and expectations regarding the changes and improvements of the health system, the health strategy for the next 4-5 years and the plans designed to put it in place. So no news, actually, but all the stakeholders are interested in finding out more about it and looking at what role they can play in future.
Q2. Do you expect any incentives at all in your industry in the months to come? What are the immediate concerns regarding the future of Romania’s insurance market and how do you see them being tackled?
It is difficult to estimate if the Government has any intention to offer incentives on short-term. However, I consider these incentives necessary. The economic context and legislative changes have challenged the entire insurance market in the previous year. The lack of new measures to promote and develop insurance sector, as well as the little support for financial education programs are still an issue for the insurance industry. A higher transparency level and the introduction or the increase of the fiscal deductibility for a certain type of insurances could have positive impact on life and health insurance sector. Besides this, a higher professionalization among insurance agents will help to increase the level of discipline and ethics on the market – actually requested by the legislation in this area.
Q3. What do you make of the establishment of a sole financial supervision authority that shall monitor the insurance, capital market and pension funds altogether? Is it going to help your business, and, most importantly, is it going to help the society and economy?
A consolidated supervisory body can help increase the confidence in the Romanian financial system, stimulating a better allocation of resources and encouraging healthy competition between all the participants in the financial system. Though, there is still uncertainty regarding the economic growth in Europe and the progress of the Romanian financial system has been influenced by this factor. The insurance market has been affected as well. Already approved by the Chamber of Deputies, the draft law will be sent to the Senate for final approval. The creation of a sole supervisory authority was not based on a debate with the representatives of the industries. We have to consider that the profile and the type of activity of each segment of the financial system differ and having a joint supervisory body should validate that the supervision and control will be well organized and done in such a way that the market is supported, the clients are protected and the financial stability is assured.