Aviva Romaniaĺs head sees opportunities in the midst of financial crisis

Even if the global financial crisis spreads wider in the Romanian economy, Aviva Group Romania had a good year, according to its CEO, Shaf Rouf, who projects its growth rate at 10-15% above the market’s margin next year.

“In the current context, 2008 was a good year for us, and the business plan was 95% achieved. However, we fear a possible slowdown of the economy, and the 5% share which has not been achieved is explained by the sagging growth rate of loans in the market, as a part of our business is what we call credit life, a product designed to cover the life insurance policies. This segment underwent a slowdown in the last month. Apart from this, it was a good year”, said Shah Rouf, CEO of Aviva Group Romania.

Aviva Group Romania includes: Aviva Life Insurances, Aviva Private Pension Fund Management and Aviva Investors Romania which has been acquired in September last year.

In the private pension segment, the company reported 312,000 customer database, on second pylon (annuity) and for third pylon (private annuity) approximately 8,000 clients. On life insurance segment, the company has 17,000 clients and 4,000 on credit life segment.

Aviva and the domestic market

Aviva Romania projects a 10-15% growth rate above the market’s level, which will register, according to Shah Rouf a 22-25% growth rate from a year earlier. “It will be a lower pace than this year. Few months ago we would have forecasted a 25-30% growth rate for next year, but given the current market trend, 22-25% is a more realistic projection”, Aviva’s CEO said.

Shah Rouf’s forecasts are more optimistic compared to CSA’s projections that estimated 12-15% pace for next year, compared to 25% growth rate estimated for this year, in the context of international turmoil.
Aviva Europe, that includes Aviva Romania, reported a 16% growth in sales from 2007, up to 12.1 billion GB pounds.

Although he has an optimistic view on the opportunities that emerge in crisis, Rouf said if Romania would face a recession next year, then people’s priorities would change. Based on this scenario, people’s priorities become the basic needs. “Moreover, if things will worsen and the entire economy will suffer, we cannot evade from the general situation, so that our industry will be hit, in the end”, Rouf said.

However, head of Aviva Group Romania agrees with the fact that the current situation makes people be more careful with their financial resources. “What we must do is to make people understand that life does not always turn out the way you plan and that you need more instruments to protect yourself (not only a real estate or a bank deposit), and to secure your financial resources. But this behavior requires a plan beforehand and I think this fact will be changed after the crisis passes away, if we give good advices”, Rouf explained.

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