Béla Argay, General Manager, Zoltán Mezős Head of Domestic Business and Zsolt Tóth, Head of International Business at GrECo Hungary talk about developments in Hungary, the lack of a social health system and how they deal with insurance market security.

How do the current political developments and economic conditions in Hungary influence the insurance industry and clients’ risks?

ARGAY: There are a lot of foreign investors in Hungary, German investors are the most significant. Our key sectors are automotive, construction and food and agriculture. In recent years the political environment is not conductive to foreign investment, the current government is pursuing protectionist, populist economy politics. In Hungary all the insurance companies (with one exception) are in foreign ownership, all the major international insurers are here.

What are the main facts of the insurance market in Hungary?

ARGAY: In 2018 total insurance premium amounted to 1.081 billion HUF (ca. 3 billion EUR), of which 49% was life insurance. Brokers and intermediaries play a significant role (approx. 500 brokers on the market), while in the retail market segment online brokers have a major relevance. In the corporate business the dominant lines are property and liability.

GrECo Hungary has been on the market for 30 years as a leading international broker company. How does your approach differ when it comes to Employee Benefits?

ARGAY: GrECo Hungary concentrates on group Health & Benefits solutions for its clients. The market was adversely affected, that the government has been taxing the Employee Benefits (EB) products since beginning of 2019. Due to the lack in the social health system the demand on private health care is growing, therefore we are developing new innovative solutions in this field.

Can international insurance programs be implemented? How do you coordinate with the controlling broker?

TÓTH: Yes, of course, many international insurance program were and are implemented. Programs coming from the EU work on a Freedom of Service basis, programs from outside of EU have to be admitted and fronted.
A special regulation about insurance tax (rather insurance levy) has to be considered.

GrECo Hungary ensures an excellent client service based on the long term (about 30 years) experience and specialized service team with good languages skills. Our General Manager and I coordinate the work with the controlling brokers. The service strictly follows the agreed service standards.

Besides myself my team consists of five account handling people. They all they speak English and/or German. They have 10-30 years´ experience in handling international clients and insurance programs. My team is supported by specialists handling EB-programs and motor insurance of big truck fleets.

Can you tell us about your most complicated case when dealing with international clients?

TÓTH: This would be a large multinational German company, which has four individual production factories in Hungary. They need a sophisticated, rather the most comprehensive service including handling of cases under international programs (property, liability, CAR, D&O and Cargo). GrECo Hungary is also handling additional local lines, like employer’s liability (100 claims per year), employee benefit programs (travel, group life and accident), and motor insurance as well.

Was there a recent bankruptcy of an insurance company in Hungary?

MEZŐS: The ASTRA Insurance company (Romanian ownership) went in bankruptcy in 2015 . This affected a lot of car owners and fleets, also private persons with home insurance. We had to manage a quick transfer of several MTPL and casco programs of our clients.

This is one reason why we take market security very serious. Locally we are following the course of the insurance companies. Our carrier risks are monitored on a group level and we will not work with those companies who are not fulfilling certain predefined parameters. If the client wants to partner with such a company we strongly advise him about all possible negative implications this may bring.

This matter will be even more important since it can be expected that also insurers will be affected by the crisis. The overall economic situation will create a more challenging environment for the insurers’ operations. The strong backing of our group and the centrally provided support allow us to adhere to the highest possible servicing standards.

Where do you at Hungary focus on when advising clients and what special expertise have you developed?

ARGAY: We are focusing on thorough risk analysis to understand client’s activities, their insurance needs and loss history. Based on this we are preparing a special risk mapping to show our clients their insurance coverages and lack of covers, which can affect negatively their balance sheet.

Béla Argay

General Manager
GrECo Hungary Biztosítási Alkusz Kft

Béla joined GrECo International Kft. in 2004 and since then inspires the colleagues to reach their potentials and exceed expectations . Béla has previously worked at Gerling-Konzern Hungary, as General Manager, he leads the company with the positive „can do” attitude and acquired new markets. Béla is Customer-focused and company centric manager with the experience in leading teams to record breaking revenues.

Zsolt Tóth

Regional Manager
GrECo Hungary Biztosítási Alkusz Kft

Zsolt first joined GrECo International Kft. in 1992 and was appointed Head of the International Department in 1999. He leads the team with a methodical approach and his extensive experience. Zsolt has previously worked at Providencia – Insurance Company, as Claim Adjuster, with his thoroughness and professional knowledge made all problematic claims look easy. At GrECo Zsolt is leading the team that is handling all international clients serviced by GrECo Hungary.

Zoltán Mezős

Zoltán Mezős

Regional Manager
GrECo Hungary Biztosítási Alkusz Kft

Zoltán started to work in the insurance market in 1997. He joined to GrECo in 2011 when he was the Competence Center Manager of Property and Liability. Later he was promoted tor Head of Risk and Insurance Technique and in 2019 he became the Regional Manager of Central Hungary. He leads our team with experience from different fields, such as Insurers, brokers and Financing Leasing parties. Zoltán has previously worked at Lombard Leasing, AIG Hungary, Aon Hungary and AIM Insurer. Zoltán is responsible for all Account Managers with domestic portfolio and support them in sales process and is an advisor with his high insurance knowledge.

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Jonathan Höh

Group Sales & Market Coordination

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