CEO of the Tunisian Company of Insurance and Reinsurance (STAR), Lassaad Zarrouk said his company and the STB are working for the establishment of an insurance-bank.
He also called on the authorities to take more interest in the insurance sector, given its role in economic recovery.
This call is launched as efforts intensify to increase the rate of penetration of insurance to 4% in Tunisia during the next five years from 2% at present:
Can you give us an assessment of the activity of STAR in 2015?
The company’s figures showed a 7% increase in 2015 to 309.646 MTD from 289.336 MTD in 2014.
Similarly, commendable efforts have been made to maintain the pace of settlement regarding the pace of settlement of claims to 180.008 MTD from 181.372MTD in the past year, with technical commitments of around 580.541 MTD, which corresponds to a rise of 8.3%.
Regarding the total financial assets, it grew by 13.7% from 671.349 MTD in 2014 to 763.178 MTD in 2015. Still, financial income has increased by 14.7% reaching 45.862MD. This also helped to realize a profit before tax of 82.629 MTD. After taxes, the net profit is around 73.450 MTD.
STAR has just started the implementation of a pilot plan for its modernization. What about it?
This is a first in Tunisia that an insurance company adopts a strategic and operational plan called “Vision”.
This project, which is spread over a period from 2015 to 2019, aims to modernize the company, to have the necessary prerequisites to enter the international market. Likewise, it aims to meet customer expectations and reduce settlement times, knowing that in 2015 we managed to reduce the time to 53%. This is very important especially for a growing industry.
Among other objectives, there is product diversification and the development of other segments such as agricultural insurance, home insurance.
For operational purposes, we have to make these goals applicable year by year.
Can you tell us about the budget allocated for the implementation of this plan “Vision”?
STAR has started to innovate, create new products such as Dar Slama, Trik Esslama. They are really new concepts and new packaged products while working to ensure the best value for money.
This is a crucial step to better meet the expectations of our clients. Therefore, this is an axis of an entire commercial and technical plan and also by targeting human resources.
This is a business strategy, which of course requires a heavy investment in IT terms, that of coaching or also training of our network and our personnel.
This also requires investment at the visual level of solidarity and social responsibility.
All this should converge towards a sizeable investment capable of giving us the means to win this bet.
STAR has moved towards a digital revolution to achieve its vision and especially to convince Tunisians that insurance can revive our economy which is at half mast. What do you think?
The Tunisian economy has to rely on the insurance sector the way all developed countries doe. I think this is one of the ways of financing our economy in a healthy way with less debt while targeting several markets.
In this context, the insurance companies can play a decisive role. We must learn from the experience of some developed countries and we are able to achieve this objective, especially that Tunisia has several assets.
Therefore, achieving this goal obviously requires technological innovation such as the digital. That is why STAR, as part of its plan “Vision” has established a multifaceted digital strategy, and efforts combine to fully use smartphones and Big Data in order to be closer to our customers and also to all Tunisians.
Is it possible to meet this challenge?
It is not forbidden to dream. This is in my opinion a shared responsibility that involves all stakeholders and members of civil society.
These actors should take greater interest in this promising sector especially as a series of reforms should be adopted at the level of car insurance and life insurance.
In turn, insurance companies should play a greater role in their renewal, renovation and innovation, and especially improve transparency and governance so that the Tunisians know that we are there to serve them.
STAR is seeking, in co-ordination with STB to establish an insurance-bank. Can you give us more details?
International experience has shown that insurance-banks are the appropriate way to develop the financial packaging vis-à-vis households. When a household appeals to a bank or insurance, it should have the possibility to see all its financial needs met.
From this observation, STAR and STB are working on this synergy and a new strategy in this field will soon be built.