Duminica, Ianuarie 21, 2007, 11:06 AM 

The Dutch Bribe Insurer
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In Romania, being hospitalized or suffering a surgery does not represent anymore a financial risk. This is not due to entering European Union, neither due to corruption elimination. Offering bribe to the medical staff is still a (compulsory) practice in our country but... as any other risk, it can be mitigated by ... insurance!

You have to respect yourself and the clients, so you have to wear suit and tie. Remember that we are a respected multinational Company, having its headquarters in Holland, used to say an insurance unit manager at the Company’s presentation to potential recruiters. This was the key sentence, the corporatist template sentence, namely You, loosers, here is the place filled with milk and honey, you’ll be cool for your friends working here, everybody heard of us, gee, man!

Let’s see what they meant by respect. One of the arguments to work for them that they present is the lower income tax you have to pay. If you work as employee – said the same unit manager at the same presentation– you’ll pay a 40% income tax. If you work as self-employed, you’ll pay 25% income tax. But, if you’ll choose us, you’ll work as an agent and you’ll be able to deduct your expense – so you’ll pay ZERO. How come? It’s easy. It’s also them who’ll teach you how to deduct also your parents, brother and cousins expenses in order to reach a zero profit (or even loss), therefore zero tax. This is the way how they respect the Inland Revenue (tax authorities).

Once accepted for an induction training, you’ll begin to learn how to... harass clients. On my personal phone agenda I have two special contacts. One is named ‘Nu raspunde !!!!’ ( Do not answer !!!) and other is called ‘Nu raspunde 2 !!!” (Do not answer, too !!!!). Both of them contain 7 phone numbers. All of them belong to life insurance agents. An ‘I’m not interested’ answer is not sufficient for an agent. The reply template provided by his Corporation manual is ‘How come? You’re saying that you’re not interested in your family’s future?’ (intrebarea e: ce dracu ii fute p-astia grija de viitorul familiei mele? Care oricum nu exista, ca de, cu experiente gen CSI si la otra...)

They’ll end up anyway by saying they’ll call again. And they’ll do. All they want is a meeting, just like a stubbom adolescent. They don’t know who they’re talking to, what is the profile of the person on the phone. They just dial the number like a six year old spoiled child and they start harassing. Maybe on the phone is a student with no money, or a lonely person. For them it does not seem to matter. They’ll find a policy to sell, like a Jew selling cucumbers to the gardener. They’ll sell even their mother for the damn bonus they get. They do not know how to take no for an answer. Luckily for them, the harassment law is not in force. Because, if this is not harassment, then how would you define harassment? (daca si neprihanita neprihanitelor mi-a zis ca o hartuiesc pentru ca am indraznit s-o sun sa o invit la ziua mea..). This is the way they respect their market.

Well, statistics show that from 5 clients called, 1 of them is naive enough to accept a meeting where the agent will invent a risk. Their manual clearly stipulates cases where a risk exists. For instance, let’s say that in a family with 3 kids, only the husband is working. His wife stays at home taking care of kids. They have high expenses with the house administration, they have a mortgage loan and their cars are leased. In this case, the husband’s death is clearly a risk whose occurrence will ruin the lives of all the other family members. A life insurance for the husband’s life will compensate his family, in the case of his death, for the repayment of the mortgage loan, of the leases and for the payment of monthly administration expenses until she’ll get a job.

In the Romanian version, the agent will try to sell the life insurance policy to everyone he meets. He’ll sell to the less rich partner, to the students, to the poor people, to the single persons, to parents who don’t live with their children anymore. What could be the risk in these instances? Will the insured amount be able to bring the dead back between us? This amount will only make the insurance holder look, on financial grounds, more valuable dead than alive

Once, an agent tried to convince a friend of mine with a 200 EUR net salary, single and living with her parents (earning more than her), to conclude a life insurance policy. Well, said the agent, if you die it will be hard for your parents. Do you have any idea how much a coffin costs today?. There are also other funeral costs. It is very expensive. You should consider a life insurance policy. No, really, Mr. Insurer Guy, do you know that the State offers a funeral aid for all employees? Yes, you know, but you keep lying. Of course, the girl could not be convinced. He harassed her several times. She memorized his phone number and refused to answer his calls but he borrowed a colleague phone and called again. Anyway, he did not let her go without obtaining some references about her friends. Obviously, my friend invented some. This is the way they respect their guests.

Maybe the thing that annoys me most is their false promotion. This is because they usually combine two opposite risks in the same policy, e.g. the death risk with the survival risks. This is what they call a mix policy. Obviously, the survival risk is only in the actuarial manuals. They do not disclose this thing to their clients. They promote it as a life insurance with a saving component. Enormous lie!!!! Do not ever buy something like this. They do not sell saving products. For this, there are bank deposits. The so called saving product is in fact a separate policy with a separate premium and a separate insured amount (which in fact is identical with the death component insured amount) covering the ‘survival risk’. It is obviously that the premiums paid are higher than the insured amount. Therefore, you get no yield for ‘investing’ (yes, they even use this term!!!) the amount in the policy. It is clear that if you would know the amount of insurance premium for the survival component and you’ll monthly deposit it in a savings account opened with the bank you’ll get more at the end of the insurance policy. More than this, if you die at the middle of the insurance term, your family will collect both the insured amount for the death risk and the amount cumulated in the Bank account. Anyway, this is the way they respect their clients.

One of the new products offered by this insurance Company is the Health insurance policy. In fact, this should be a general non-life insurance service but in Romania everything is possible. This is the typical insurance policy that offers you a fixed amount of money if you are hospitalized or if you are subject to surgery. Normally, the medical services are free for all the citizens legally employed due to the Social Insurance we pay to the Budget. Anyway, the insurer agents noticed a way to promote the policy and to invent a financial risk to be covered. This insurance covers the price of the bribe that you pay to the doctors and to assistants! His face was very clear saying that. He wasn’t ashamed. He was the same employee of a multinational company having its Headquarters in Holland. Is it also bribe covered by the insurance policy in Holland? Or is it Romania a country where you can sell anything? This is the way they respect our country.

According to the data published by http://www.1asig.ro/ this Company has the highest volume of gross written premiums, three times bigger than the next competitor on the Romanian market. Their success resides in the great adaptability to the Romanian customers and their bad habits. Many of their sales are towards people earning money from the black or grey market as no income proof is needed when concluding such a policy. Most of them conclude the policy only because their neighbor concluded one too and this imposes kind of respect toward him. Maybe in the next future they’ll come with insurance policies covering more innovative risks like: penalties to tax dodgers, fines or imprisonments for prostitution, drugs traffic and high-level corruption.

Let's make it clear. I don’t want to get revenge in any way to someone from this Company or to the Company itself. I don’t work for their competition. I’m just a Romanian blogger who really supports the European Union integration. I was always working for multinational Companies but the services offered by these Companies were fairly promoted, distributed and serviced. I am aware that there is a big delay between Romanian GDP and Dutch or French or German GDP. I am aware that this multinational Company has an important contribution to the Romania GDP growth. But I am also strong in my beliefs that money should be earned in an honest way, not by adapting to former communist practices. Bribe should be eliminated not insured. Agents’ net income should be raised by the increase in sales or in the percentage per sales not by finding criminal ways to decrease the tax. New clients should be approached by new distribution channels not by harassing unknown people on the phone. The products should be fairly promoted without using false features. I want to discourage any foreign Company that invests in Romania for gaining advantages that would never be gained home. This is why I posted this in English. I really hope they’ll understand this, both the Romanian subsidiary and the Dutch mother Company.

Acum, ca intre noi romanii, sa dea dracu daca ii pot suporta pe astia. Daca ma mai suna o singura data, iau o bata si ma duc in Costache Negri peste ei :) Puteti posta comentarii in orice limba vreti.


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