Bright prospects. Legislation means that the insurance market can only grow stronger. FORBES, April 10, 2006
Only 15 million people live in Kazakhstan, which is almost four times the size of Texas, so the Eurasia Insurance Company’s main clients tend to be the oil and construction companies that are creating the state’s ever increasing infrastructure. But the individual client base is growing.
“The market is very small, but every year the government is introducing new kinds of compulsory insurance legislation,” says Dr. Boris Umanov, the company president.
“Last year it was compulsory employers’ liability for damage to the life and health of an employee while at work. For the first two months we had 1,200 new clients. There was a line outside my office and we worked 12 hours a day, for seven days a week.
“Although we have a relatively small population in a huge country, I see the future as a bright one for us,” says Dr. Umanov. “We are finding new clients throughout Eastern Europe and Asia and, of course, in our neighboring countries because they have similar mentalities.
“We have new clients now from Siberia, the Moscow region, Belorussia, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. We can see the entire Eurasian region as our original homeland, as our original working area.”
Dr. Umanov says Eurasia Insurance’s key qualities are the speed with which it accesses data and makes decisions, and its prompt payment of valid claims. “We have created a highly cost-efficient product distribution system that gives us a competitive advantage. We have clear and strong control over the distribution system.
“Eurasia’s products are tailor-made to each client’s requests and requirements,” he says. “We make decisions on a caseby- case basis. We analyze the past and project the future. We use sophisticated actuarial and statistical tools to calculate risks, not only correctly, but also quickly. Then we use our database to determine which risks are the most profitable and allocate Eurasia’s capital accordingly.”
Dr. Umanov says this requires good underwriting skills to make the premium perfectly correlated to the risk assumed. “Of course, that means we have comparatively higher expense structures, but the loss experience is better than that of our competitors. “We are selective about which risks we are going to insure,” he says.
“Profitability is more important to us than volume. These policies have enabled us to be the most profitable insurer in the market for the last four consecutive years.”