Private insurance is taking the place of social security in Greece

The Greek recession had a seismic impact on the country’s population, certainly in terms of healthcare and insurance. A new road of opportunities lies ahead for insurers

 
Greek healthcare
A man donates blood on the Greek island of Samos. Cuts to public healthcare spending have led to a surge in the number of Greeks taking out private medical insurance 
Author: Marianna Politopoulou, CEO of NN Hellas and Chairman of the firm’s board of directors
October 12, 2016

Following the Greek economic crisis, the country’s social security system continues to face sizeable financial and regulatory pressures. Specifically, the insurance industry is caught in the middle of the latest package of reforms, and is still lacking a clear strategy and exit route out of its current predicament.

Meanwhile, over three decades of shortcomings within the pension system still cause issues through constantly changing incomes for thousands of retirees, together with rapidly increasing age limits, eligibility criteria and, ultimately, that terrible feeling of uncertainty. Attempting to understand the climate in which NN Hellas operates proves crucial in determining the impact we are making.

Alternatives to social security
During the first phase of the Greek crisis, between 2010 and 2014, a cut in private pension insurance was made, thus making long-term pensions a luxury. The desolate state of the public health system, coupled with the ongoing social struggle the country is facing, is forcing many Greeks towards private health insurance. As indicated by data collected by the Association of Hellenic Insurance Companies, the number of private health insurance contracts showed a 12.5 percent increase last year from 2014.

What is notable about this increase is that it has come about despite the marked decline in household disposable income. That said, it also reflects society’s reaction to the dire deterioration of the public healthcare system.

12.5%

Increase in private health insurance contracts in Greece, 2014-15

850,000

Number of healthcare policyholders in Greece, 2015

Statistics show the number of hospital care contracts soared to 313,061 in 2015, compared to 278,211 in the year prior. This concerns lifelong health insurance policies sold either as hospital programmes, as supplements to basic life insurance policies, or as savings programmes. When annual health insurance policies are included, the number of healthcare policyholders reaches 850,000.

As Greece now enters the second phase of its economic crisis, the growing feeling of mistrust towards the state has revealed a new set of opportunities for private insurance to capitalise upon. Simply put, Greeks are not satisfied with the state health insurance that is provided by EOPYY, an organisation that has suffered numerous cuts as a result of the measures imposed by the country’s creditors.

A potential convergence between state and private services could see the entire insurance industry rebound and reach a new level of economic performance, becoming a driving force in the nationwide process of economic recovery. Such a scheme would require extensive collaboration between the two kinds of service providers, thus making insurance even more accessible to consumers.

Protecting customers in declining market conditions
The challenge Greek insurers are facing is providing accessible programmes that are compatible with the state’s public services. With a wide range of services spanning from lifelong health insurance to savings and pension schemes, NN Hellas is uniquely situated and fills the demand created by Greeks, who no longer feel comfortable with the security offered by the Greek state. Specifically, NN Orange Genius is an insurance investment programme that is adapted to meet the customer’s needs and combines return of insurance premium at maturity. Together with the possibility of high returns, NN Orange Genius is designed for those who seek a future income or who are looking for long-term family security.

For NN Orange Genius, investing safely is essential in order to protect customers in declining market conditions, while also offering potential increases in personal account value when markets are up. As customers have the option to temporarily suspend premium payment, the programme can be adjusted according to individual needs, thus offering flexibility.

Then there are NN Orange Cross and NN Orange Easy, NN Hellas’ simple and flexible health insurance programmes, for which the company has gained a reputation for providing high quality and trustworthy services. These programmes offer integrated, good quality medical and diagnostic services at different price points, while also supporting a healthy lifestyle for all those insured.

Additionally, in 2015 NN Hellas introduced a new direct distribution channel for products and services through its innovative NN Direct Health programme. This new health insurance product is designed to cover the needs of the modern family, who seek reliable health insurance at an affordable price. A key feature of NN Direct Health is the simple procedures both for acquisition and after-sales services.

NN Hellas responds to the growing needs of customers with affordable and integrated solutions that appeal to everyone. The company continues to build strategic partnerships with leading providers that allow it to design innovative programmes and services, which can provide real value to customers, whether they are individuals or businesses.

NN Hellas stands out in the market for its high level of professionalism and for remaining true to its values: “We care, we are clear, we commit.” This is further evidenced by its frequent investments in new technologies that improve customer experience and provide access to proper health and pension services, for all Greek citizens.