COOPERATION BEATS COMPETITION

Azerbaijan 2016 | FINANCE | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Alexandr Kananadze, Chairman of the Board of Directors of AZSIGORTA, on maximizing coverage and leading by example.

Alexandr Kananadze
BIOGRAPHY
Alexandr Kananadze was born in Moscow and graduated from Bauman Univesity, where he received his MBA in finance. He has worked in the automobile industry, leasing, and insurance sectors in Russia. The Chairman of the Board of Directors at AZSIGORTA is his first overseas position, which he assumed a year and a half ago.

AZSIGORTA is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2016. Could you tell us about some of the company's milestone achievements?

We started as an insurance company in 2006, and have grown considerably since then. We have expanded to about 400 employees working across eight branches in all parts of Azerbaijan except for Nakhichevan. We mainly focus on the retail segment of insurance. Our company portfolio is balanced, and we offer compulsory third-party liability insurance (OSAGO), fully comprehensive motor vehicle insurance (KASKO), as well as health and property insurance. In 2015, we became the most profitable company in Azerbaijan.

How has AZSIGORTA worked to be more flexible with clients, including the use of online services and the recent expansions of your representative office base?

We have the largest branch network in the country. We have a fully operational branch in every region of Azerbaijan with a director, accountant, and economist. Each branch is a miniature copy of the company. We also have our own emergency representatives. Our strategy is to reach out to every person in the region because awareness is low. Even if there is an available digital service, it is still necessary to have someone who is be able to explain it. Our offices work to explain the benefits of insurance. The future belongs to digital technologies. We are now working on a new project; it will either be a website or an application that offers a paperless insurance policy. This makes us more mainstream. We adapt our approach and systems to benchmarks set by the government.

In addition to offering compulsory insurance services, what are some of the other types of insurance that AZSIGORTA offers to clients?

We offer KASKO, OSAGO, and voluntary medical insurance. We also provide a unique product in deposit medical insurance. We insure construction risks and water transport. We do almost everything apart from oil and energy sector risks, as this is the area of expertise of PASHA Insurance. Last year was an extremely difficult year for Azerbaijan. There were a lot of natural disasters including an earthquake in Sheki, a flood in Lankaran, and a fire on an oil rig in the Caspian Sea.

How do your partnerships with leading international insurance companies and domestic institutions help strengthen AZSIGORTA?

In terms of reinsurance, we work with A+ companies such as Swiss Re, Hannover Re, and SCOR, among other international institutions. We also work with neighboring countries in this regard, including Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. We closely collaborate with PASHA Insurance for several reasons. We share similar values, both develop the internal market, and are involved in reinsurance. This partnership has been fruitful. Insurance is not about competition, but cooperation. As for working with various public companies, we have a deep history of collaboration with ASAN Xidmet, which is a promising and effective partnership. We also closely collaborate with the Ministry of Finance and the State Body for Supervising Insurance. We have been given clear information about the various incentives, such as the shift toward digital services, implementation of new products, new standards, and liabilities, for example. We work in close partnership with the Ministry of Emergency Situations, especially in the regions, regarding raising awareness. We are the biggest taxpayer in the insurance sector, which we are proud of. Last year, we paid almost AZN7million in taxes. We are the only insurance company in Azerbaijan that received a Fitch rating, proving the high quality of our work and our reliability.