WE AND THE CAR
/ MEETING IN THE EDITOR
EXPERTS ABOUT THE PROBLEMS OF CAR INSURANCE IN RUSSIA
TEXT, PHOTO / DMITRY LEONTIEV
REMAINED ONLY STICKER
How to determine if the insurance company you want to trust is reliable Ask an expert? Hear from them about the "authorized capital", "assets", "balance"? Specialists like to use these concepts, but how little they mean to the ordinary insured.
Vitaly Knyaginichev, head of the integrated insurance department of Ingosstrakh: “It is difficult to delve into the technical details: does the company have a large share capital, many assets … People should rather trust the opinion of reputable media.”
Let us recall the names of such firms as Continent-Policy, People's Reserve, or NALCO, which occupied places on the top lines of rating tables that flashed relatively recently. Where are they now? Only generously handed out stickers for rear windows reminiscent of their former "greatness".
So how do motorists look for insurance coverage? Already at the car dealership, an insurance agent approaches him and offers to "solve all problems" on the spot. If you don’t want to - turn on the TV, radio, buy a newspaper, go to the Internet - everywhere, “reliable” insurers loudly declare themselves. Some of them promise ridiculous tariffs, for example, for two thousand rubles to insure civil liability in the amount of $ 10, 000. How can I refuse - in other companies it will cost twice as much! When a car enthusiast buys a cheap policy, he rarely thinks about the possible consequences. And why would an insurance company fail? Why bother?
Specialists working for many years in the insurance industry claim that almost all cases of bankruptcy of insurance companies known in Russia are associated not with fraud, but with ordinary unprofessionalism. A newcomer to the market for these services usually has one goal - to "get into" the matter and gain a foothold there. The first is relatively affordable, but the second … At the peak of a massive influx of customers (as a rule, as a result of advertising campaigns and low tariffs), a newcomer can stretch out two - at most three years. Then the money river turns into a frail trickle, and payments to customers (that is, an outflow of funds), on the contrary, into a tangible stream. Today, some Russian insurers are just going through such a difficult time.
CRITERIA FOR AMATEURS
With the help of experts invited to the editorial office, we tried to outline the reliability criteria for choosing an insurer, referring to the average car owner without any special training.
The first criterion is the age of the insurance company. If it has been on the market for five or more years, this is already a measure of confidence.
The second - types of insurance. If the company deals only with cars, this is not the best characteristic, since this is not a very profitable type of service. Reputable firms work in other insurance sectors, such as life, property, medical, etc. The specific weight of automobile insurance “in the portfolio” of a sustainable company should not exceed 50%.
Stanislav Luss, Director of the Progress-Garant Auto Insurance Department: “The reliability of the company is not indicated by its advertising, but by how it pays for its obligations. The most correct way to form an opinion about a company is to try to get a refund from it. True, this is possible only after the accident, and not before the conclusion of the contract.”
The third - branches in the regions. A large company (such as, for example, Ingosstrakh or VSK) usually has branches in each region of Russia. The larger the network of branches, the greater the sustainability of the company itself.
Fourth - the presence of reputable customers. If the company insures large enterprises, public or private entities, this is an unconditional evidence of its credibility.
Ilya Olenin, Executive Director of Industrial Insurance Company: “If the company is asked a lot of questions and the tariff is selected for a specific person, this is evidence of the seriousness of the insurer. The more meticulous the company asks the customer, the more it protects itself from possible risks.”
Fifth - communication with the client. Pay attention to how insurance is offered to you. If you asked only about the make of the car and then they called the price of the policy - this is an alarming sign. A competent company will ask other questions. At a minimum, about your age, profession, residence permit, driving experience, the number of accidents over the past two years, about whether you intend to trust the management of another person and how often you use your car at all. And only then, after making the necessary calculations, they will name the amount. In reputable companies, tariffs vary greatly depending on the data of the owner and a specific car, and where they are only concerned about collecting money, they don’t get into such subtleties - they take one average small tariff.
Evgeny Plygunov, Deputy General Director of RESO-Garantia: “If a client is deceived by an insurance company, he can contact Rosstrakhnadzor. Here his complaint will be considered and a response will be required from the insurer. If the answer does not follow - the license will be withdrawn …"
There is a fairly widespread opinion that in some companies the tariffs are too high (they are trying to tear off three skins from a client there), while in others they are quite acceptable. This is not entirely true. Let’s take one of the most expensive of the existing ones - Ingosstrakh, where “motor civil liability” risk rates have recently been seriously raised, explaining this step very intelligibly: you cannot work at a loss forever …
Many Russian companies still artificially maintain a loss-making price level in the hope of attracting more customers. So it turns out that the highest tariffs that exist today are not "overpriced" at all, but simply … real. The average Russian rate for a motor hull insurance policy (hijacking plus damage) is 7–10 percent of the price of a car. For the risk of “damage” - about 5 percent of the amount of compensation. According to “Civil liability” - 1.5 percent of the sum insured. Have you come across more advantageous offers? It’s worth considering.
Sixth - a package of services. What do you offer along with a possible refund? Reputable companies also provide a free tow truck to the accident site, round-the-clock free consultation of the dispatcher by phone, and in difficult situations, a lawyer can travel to the scene of an accident. Along the way, the client sometimes receives certain discounts (for gasoline, spare parts, service …).
Stanislav Sergeev, ROSNO’s Leading Specialist: “Anyone who has an accident is in a state of affect, and it is the duty of the insurance company to help the client. Either send a lawyer to the accident site, or give a free consultation by calling the “hot line”.
So, six criteria are presented to your attention. Choosing a reliable company, owning such information, is quite realistic. Only one but. What is the margin of this reliability? Today the company is on top - the press writes about it, the radio reports. And in a year? You can find out about problems in the insurance company only by alarm signals from its customers. Such information, in particular, goes to the website of the Society of Insured and to the conference “Insurance Event” on the website of ZR. Unfortunately, in the traditional media, such information appears only after the collapse of the next insurer.
BIG DOES NOT MEAN BEST
The participants in our meeting recommended applying for insurance coverage to large companies that meet these criteria. At the same time, the mass of our motorists uses the services of medium and small insurers.
Evgeny Fedosov, General Director of the insurance company “Sodruzhestvo“Driving”:“Even a small insurance company should be considered reliable if its main shareholder is a well-known and reputable legal entity that strictly controls the activities of its subsidiary.”
So, are there reasons why you might prefer a small company? We asked independent expert lawyer Vladislav Volkov to comment on this.