Insurance broker aims high

The Baltic Times, TALLINN
Sep 30, 1999
By Kairi Kurm

It started Sept. 1 as a merger of two insurance brokerages, and already Aon is setting its sights high: The company’s main goal is to conquer 40 percent of the Estonian insurance market by 2003.

Aon, which grew out of a merger between Quest Insurance Brokers and Kindlustuskonsultant, currently holds about 12 percent of the insurance market.

According to Kari Aitolehti, chairman of the board of Aon Eesti, the insurance brokerage market in Estonia is very small. But it is this weakness that Aitolehti says he intends to take advantage of as he attempts to build an internationally-known company.

The biggest difference between the services of an insurance company and an insurance brokerage is that the former offers a range of  services it has, but an insurance broker can find a more diversified service package from many different companies according to the specific needs of a client. The insurance broker is an independent intermediary who carries out his functions, basing on agreements concluded with policyholders and insurers.

“A broker values a company’s risk and if none of the local insurance companies is able to offer the necessary service, then that broker finds it abroad,” said Kristjan Varton, a member of the board at Aon Eesti. The Aon corporation operates in more than 115 countries worldwide with some 40,000 employees in more than 600 offices.

In Estonia, Aon will be offering property-, life- and investment-insurance services.

Varton said there are about 25 insurance brokerage companies in Estonia, some of which are quite obscure, but the exact number will not be known as long as the Estonian Insurance Supervisory Authority does not take control over the insurance-brokerage business in Estonia.

Kaido Tropp, deputy director at the supervisory authority, said that starting in January 2000, when amendments are introduces to the insurance law, the supervisory board will start inspecting insurance brokerage companies and information about them will become more available.

“We are looking forward to the regulation of the market,” said Varton.