The FINANCIAL -- On November 8, 2016, the "International Insurance Consortium", a Dutch insurance company, signed an agreement to invest GEL 7 million into the Georgian "IC Group Insurance Company".
The investment agreement was signed by the General Director of “IC Group”, Tengiz Mezurnishvili and the Founder and Director of “International Insurance Consortium” (Netherlands), Jacob Westerlaken.
The investment will be aimed at the growth and development of the company. This will increase the job opportunities. Moreover, soon, the IC group will operate on the Georgian market in the renovated form.
The “IC Group” was founded on November 10, 2005. Since the beginning, the company successfully operated in the insurance market and in the existing competitive environment. After acquiring “People’s Insurance” in May 2009, the “IC Group” became one of the leaders in health insurance.
The International Insurance Consortium (IIC) has valuable knowledge and expertise in all areas related to insurance and social security. IIC is currently involved in projects across 8 countries. It is represented in 4 countries by IIC Netherlands, IIC Slovenia, IIC Ukraine and IIC Georgia. Its core activities include consulting and providing investments to support local companies and organizations in their strategic approaches and risk management decisions.
The Consortium focuses on the partnership with insurance companies operating in South-East and East Europe and the Black Sea region. The Consortium provides long-term investments, thus creating the basis for the stable development of the companies and benefiting from the existing networks and potential, as well from the investor's knowledge and expertise.
What do you think will be the benefits of the investment?
I think what is important, here in Georgia, is that people understand that insurance is not something that is invented for nothing. The awareness is not there. I always hear that when a disaster happens, afterward, people always say “oh I wish I had insurance”. But nobody wants to know about it before. It’s always after. So, this is where I think that we can do something to benefit Georgia. We know how to make it easier and bring the products to people.
The second part where I feel that the market can benefit is on the social security level. Not only on personal savings but also on health insurance. We work in a lot of countries for health insurance. And there’s always the same question: how much will the state pay and how much will the individual pay? If you don’t know, as an individual what you pay and what the state pays, then you have an issue. Because you don’t know what to insure. This discussion needs to be held because people need to know their opportunities. And this is what we do and provide.
What do you think about the Georgian insurance market? Is there anything that must be improved or changed?
The first thing that must be improved is the awareness of the customers. I think that the insurance companies here have not developed a system to explain why they are there.
Also, I think that there aren’t enough options for the customers to choose where they want to buy the insurance. If I go to other countries, I can choose. I can have an agent; I can go via the internet and I can go via a broker. I have a choice. You must be able to buy a policy whenever and wherever you want. Here, why not receive an SMS at the airport asking if you have travel insurance. No? Push this button. Yes? Push that button. Then you’ll have what you need without any hassle. This is where, I believe, we can bring in new methodologies.
How do you see the IC groups future?
We are ambitious. We don’t come here to become number 10 in the market. We believe that our approach gives us a good market position. We will not work for maintaining the current state. In the beginning of next year, we will bring out the strategies and goals that we will have.
How aware are you of Georgia’s insurance markets that made you want to invest GEL 7 million?
Of course, you get a general picture from the people you know. First, I get information from the insurance companies themselves, the people you talk to and the regulators. But I, also, always talk to the customers. So, if I’m going on the streets, I always ask where did you buy your policy? Why did you buy it there? That way, you get all the information. In my opinion, the awareness is not there yet. If I talk to people, they do not know what insurance is. Overall, the Georgian market is very attractive to us and we believe in its potential.