Anthie Zachariadou and the Insurance Sector in Cyprus
Our next About the Board feature looks at the work of Anthie Zachariadou, who is the Executive Director of Royal Crown Insurance Co. Ltd. – an insurance company operating in Cyprus.
Can you tell us a bit more about Royal Crown Insurance and the insurance matters that it deals with?
Royal Crown Insurance has been active in the Cypriot market for almost forty years. The company was first part of Royal&Sun Alliance until 1999, when the colossal organisation withdrew its operations in Cyprus, and Royal Crown was then established as a purely Cypriot company, but it remained a Global Partner of the Royal&Sun’s network. We carry out non-life insurance business – property, casualty and liability insurance and offer most non-life insurance products, providing personalized and customized insurance solutions to individuals and incorporations.
What are the particular challenges that insurers in Cyprus have been facing over the past year in relation to changes in what customers expect in terms of products and services?
The challenges for insurers in the past year have been related mostly to applications and compliance with the European Directive “Solvency II” which came into force as Cypriot legislation in April 2016. The new legislation has introduced new obligations regarding technical solvency requirements, corporate governance and transparency by enhanced reporting to the supervisory authorities, all for the purposes of consumer protection. The challenge was to smoothly apply all of the new regulations, and restructure our work functions, in order to comply with time-limits and other obligations. We are now under stringent regulation and control, and workload has increased, but the truth is that this challenge has proved to be very beneficial for us, as well as other companies, as the obligatory actuarial and risk management functions are providing valuable insights into the areas we may need to improve, as well as exposing quantitative and qualitative criteria within which we carry out our operations.
Other challenges that insurers are facing are the regular ones, such as finding effective solutions regarding problematic premium collections and handling the continuous reality of insurance fraud.
How are you currently lobbying or working towards the development of new insurance regulations or permissible strategies in Cyprus?
Our company works closely with the Insurance Association of Cyprus, which is the central body lobbying with the authorities, as well as a decision-making body acting on behalf of all the insurance companies operating in Cyprus, for the purpose of improving the insurance industry in general. At the moment, our main concerns are deciding on a central approach towards effectively applying the Superintendent’s new Credit Policy Directive. This brings in changes in the manner in which we have dealt with our intermediary network – we are trying to build a Central Data Platform to help prevent or ascertain insurance fraud, while looking into ways to collaborate with the police and other authorities, for the purpose of reducing the very high frequency and severity of road traffic accidents in Cyprus, amongst other projects.
There is much room for improvement on the island, both regarding consumer behaviour and insurance-related strategies that could increase the levels of safety and protection for the public in general.
Can you tell us about your involvement in the community and its impact?
Royal Crown applies corporate social responsibility – a cause that we are fully devoted to. We support the arts and culture sector, charitable organisations, an array of healthcare campaigns and causes and sponsor promising athletes.
What lies on the horizon for you and Royal Crown Insurance for the rest of 2017 and beyond?
Our main goal for the future is customer retention and to continue providing high-quality services to our customers. Our efforts are to provide peace of mind, by ensuring that each and every client is covered for their own individualized needs. Of course, we have to continue complying with the new Solvency legislation and regulations, and we hope to continue handling this successfully. We are already certified with the ISO 9001:2008 Quality system of Llloyds Register Quality Assurance, but in 2018 we are hoping to become certified with the new standard, ISO 9001:2015 – something that we’ve been working towards.
Another challenge, which will come into force on 1/1/2018 is the implementation of the new Insurance Distribution Directive. This new European directive which will be incorporated in our legislation, changes the framework of distribution of our products, by applying new criteria and imposing obligations of every person involved in selling insurance, whether they are intermediaries, brokers, middlemen and agents, or insurance company employees. They have to pass fit and proper test, and complete continuing professional development hours in order to be allowed to work within insurance distribution. This is a very challenging development, as it may impact the manner in which we work with our distribution network. We will also have to reorganize our training and education schedule for employees. However, I’m confident that the result will inevitably have a positive impact on the quality of the services we provide to our clients.