Kazakhstan 2014 | FINANCE | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Oybek Khalilov, Chairman of Chartis in Kazakhstan, on Moody's rating change, corporate clients, and D&O insurance.

Oybek Khalilov
Oybek Khalilov graduated from the State Economic University in Uzbekistan, and worked in the country at various companies and institutions, including the National Bank of Uzbekistan and Uzbekinvest National Insurance Co. He spent four years with AIG/UICC in the UK before returning to Uzbekistan to work for the National Export-Import Insurance Co. From 2000 to 2010, he was the General Manager of AIG Uzbekistan, and later became the Chairman of the Board at Chartis Kazakhstan in May 2010. In 2001, he was elected as Vice-President of AmCham in Uzbekistan, where he distinguished himself as one of the leaders of the financial services sector. In May 2010, he resigned with honors from the Board, and in January 2012 he was elected as a Member of the Board of Directors of AmCham in Kazakhstan. He is currently the Chairman of Chartis in Kazakhstan.

Moody's Investors Service recently awarded Chartis a Ba1 Rating. What is the significance of the rating for you?

Moody's has assigned a Ba1 rating to Chartis Kazakhstan for the first time recently, the highest rating among non-governmental insurance companies in Kazakhstan. This is almost guaranteed to boost our business development prospects.

Chartis has traditionally focused on corporate clients. Are you also interested in focusing more on the retail market?

In Kazakhstan, our company is an absolute leader in bancassurance. In fact, we are partnered with the top-10 banks. We aim to keep the customer at the center of everything we do—from how we sell, to how we support and pay insurance indemnities to them. It is our goal to maximize customer satisfaction and become the insurer of choice in our selected product fields, namely accident and health, travel, loyalty and plus products, and personal property insurance. Sustainable customer satisfaction is what we emphasize. We are introducing innovative products, and this is the only way we can survive in a soft market environment; we are introducing new products and features, and new distribution channels, with the highest possible service standards.

What are the insurance sector's prospects for growth over the medium term?

Our projections indicate that the market will grow by an average of 13% per annum over the next five years; however, the official government projection for GDP is a conservative annual rate of 6%. In 2013, Chartis Kazakhstan grew by 22% in net premiums written due to new business and a change in obligatory reinsurance agreement conditions. The main contributors to our 2012 profit were casualty, financial lines, and the accident and health lines. The company maintains its position as the first provider of choice for business travel insurance and is a main provider of credit-card related transaction insurance.

“ The main contributors to our 2012 profit were casualty, financial lines, and the accident and health lines. "

How has the market changed over the last three years?

It is worth emphasizing that the market's segmentation is changing. In the past, insurance companies were focused predominantly on corporate clients in the oil, gas, and industrial sectors. Now, this picture is changing; we have a larger number of diverse clients. The regulatory environment makes it more difficult to rely on only a few large accounts, and, consequently, insurance companies are diversifying their portfolios. Of course, from an insurance regulation point of view, this is a positive step because, by being less reliant on the large risks and large clients, it improves risk diversification. We are happy that this is happening because the regulator is quite comfortable that we are taking the risk, as we have large capacity: energy $250 million, property $250 million, marine cargo $85 million, auto $200 million, and casualty $100 million.

What insights did you gain from the first Directors and Officers (D&O) Liability Insurance Conference in November 2012?

The key objective of our conference was to organize the platform for open discussion between potential and existing clients, insurers, and brokers. It was also aimed at strengthening AIG's leadership position in financial lines products, promoting the AIG brand, and laying the base for further contacts with companies' decision-makers on D&O insurance. During the second D&O Conference in November 2013, we concentrated on D&O insurance. Strong growth on exposures ranging from increasing litigiousness, and the globalization of business activities, to the global economic downtown leads to the high level of directors' liability risks. Therefore, it is reasonable to expect that directors may require protection against such risks. The best way to protect directors and companies is through D&O liability insurance. A further conference will be dedicated to questions related to the duties of boards, the basis for charges against directors, the advantages of purchasing D&O insurance, and other related issues.

What is your outlook then for the rest of the year and 2014?

The outlook is positive. We expect stable growth of at least 20%. I presume growth will be even higher in 2014, as our own internal capacity is growing.