‘It is essential to think clearly in challenging times’
In almost every country in Europe CED CBC has a team with extensive knowledge of the local market and each client΄s specific needs. In Greece, the team is specialized not only in international but also in national claims, providing tailor-made services to its national clients. One of them is Defteros Allilasfalistikos Syneterismos Epagelmation Idioktiton Aftokiniton Dimosias Hriseos Voreiou Elladas kai Thessalias SYN. P. E . Mr. Kostas Kamanas, CFO says: ‘Since 2015, we work closely together. We see CED CBC as an extension of our organization, as part of our business.’
Defteros Allilasfalistikos Syneterismos is a mutual insurance company that represents professional owners of heavy vehicles in Northern and Central Greece. The shareholders of the company are also shareholders of the mutual company that owns and manages the Central Bus Station KTEL Macedonia, the largest bus station in Greece. Its mission is to offer solvent insurance coverage to all its members while maintaining a flexible and transparent organizational structure. It was founded in 1985, managing the reinsurance of 2,100 public busses. In 2015 the company transformed into primary insurance for both public intercity busses and transport trucks; 8,500 in total. ‘Managing to achieve risk diversification via business field expansion is a significant factor in maintaining a healthy organization with endurance in time’, Mr. Kamanas states.
The company was able to foresee the tendency of the insurance market to outsource critical functions to specialized associates. Based on CED CBC Greece background on outsourcing in local claims handling, they decided to outsource this field of business. Mr. Kamanas: ‘We are now in the 6th year of our cooperation and counting. Our relationship is based on the fundamental understanding of relating as business partners. International claims are a neuralgic field in our line of business. Within a diversified environment of international European claims handling, prompt information, information exchange, and accuracy in action taking underline successful cooperation. CED CBC understands and provides the above in practice. We have built solid grounds and mutual trust.’
Wide range of claims
CED CBC handles a wide range of claims for Defteros Allilasfalistikos Syneterismos, with their national claims exceeding the international ones. The busses fleet drive intercity within Greece while almost half of the trucks cross the border. Diversification in accidents varies among vehicle types but also regarding the accident setting. Mr. Kamanas: ‘Working together with a specialized network of experts CED CBC makes sure the claims are evaluated correctly from the very beginning.’
Influence of COVID
In Greece as well, the COVID-pandemic affected the working environment of the company and challenged the insured parties. Next to hygiene measures, we had to abide by the rule of only 50 to 65 percent use of bus seats following social distancing regulations. Moreover, due to the lockdown, schools and universities shut down, and intercity bus routes were disabled. ‘To meet these challenges, we decided to offer a discount annual contract package for our members. Our members, on the other hand, undersigned a cooperation with the State to enhance the public transportation routes. With their fleet, they added extra lines to the system. A cooperation which stimulated their turnover’, tells Mr. Kamanas.
The evolvement of the market
Looking back, two major factors affected the current market in Greece. First the infrastructure. Since the Olympic Games in 2004, infrastructure is blooming. The new roads are safer and faster. ‘Accident factors such as road narrowness or limited visibility have seized to exist, making human errors the most frequent reason for accidents nowadays. More important, frontal collisions in highways have stopped’, sketches Mr. Kamanas. Second is the governmental incentive to bus owners to implement newer technology. The fleet is rejuvenated. Mr. Kamanas: ‘Consequently severity of accidents declined, the cost per claim has decreased, increasing therefore the profitability ratio.’
Future possibilities and challenges
‘Our company compiled a three-year business plan taking under consideration the impact of the pandemic, to ensure in an accrual manner that our solvency ratio will not be affected’, says Mr. Kamanas. ‘Endurance throughout the turbulence will provide a solid ground for the future. And, even if we say it is ‘over’, going back to normal will not happen at a flick of a switch. Many factors of the economy are significantly affected, generates a domino effect. The accidents ratio has dropped, but that is a short-term effect. The market will take corrective actions.’
Advice for other insurance companies
Mr. Kamanas (right photo): ‘It is common ground that we are facing a challenge ahead of us. It requires adaptability and clarity in decision making. Of course, everyone has more responsibility on their shoulders to try to ensure an optimistic outcome for the future.’ President of the Board of Defteros Allilasfalistikos Syneterismos, Mr. Ioannis Lamprou (left photo) quotes ancient Greek philosopher Democritus: ‘It is essential to think clearly in challenging times.’