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The Warsaw Voice » Business » June 3, 2009
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Banking On It
June 3, 2009   
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A growing number of banks provide their clients what are known as bank insurance services. This means that they sell insurance along with their banking products. Until recently most insurance products offered by banks involved investment insurance. Today banks are increasingly offering insurance unrelated to specific investments as well as a range of additional services for clients known as Bankassistance. Those are the main conclusions of a conference held at Warsaw's Marriott Hotel May 14.

The conference, billed as the 3rd Forum Assistance, was dedicated to Bankassistance and Bancassurance services. It was organized by the Europ Assistance Polska company. The event, held under the auspices of the Polish Bank Association (ZBP), brought together more than 80 bank and insurance company executives, academics and journalists. The forum hosts were Norbert Jeziolowicz, director of the Polish Bank Association, and Ryszard Grzelak, president of Europ Assistance Polska. Speakers included Włodzimierz Grudziński, vice-president of the Polish Bank Association; Paweł Zylm, chairman of BRE Ubezpieczenia TU SA; Renata Kopeć, director of the insurance department of Santander Consumer Bank SA; Włodzimierz Kiciński, chairman of Nordea Bank Polska SA; and Krzysztof Szczerbacz, senior project manager at ARC Rynek i Opinia Sp. z o.o. Szczerbacz briefed conference participants on the results of a nationwide poll on Bankassistance services.

In addition to presentations by experts, the conference included a panel discussion dedicated to best practices in Bancassurance services and the impact of the ongoing economic crisis on Bancassurance.

Panel discussion participants included Ewa Katyk, department director at AIG Bank Polska SA; Andrzej Gładysz, management board member at Commercial Union Powszechne Towarzystwo Emerytalne BPH CU WBK SA; Ryszard Grzelak, chairman of Europ Assistance Polska; Norbert Jeziolowicz, director of the Polish Bank Association; Marek Patuła, management board member at Raiffeisen Bank Polska SA; and Paweł Zawisza, management board member at BZ WBK-CU TU SA. Małgorzata Knut, management board member at BRE Ubezpieczenia TU SA, moderated the discussion.

Media partners included Bank, Businessman.pl, Gazeta Prawna, Miesięcznik Ubezpieczeniowy, Gazeta Finansowa, Dziennik Ubezpieczeniowy, Kurier Finansowy, bankier.pl, PRNews, and Polska Assistance Newsletter published by Europ Assistance, in addition to The Warsaw Voice.

"For many banks, insurance is one of the few business lines that showed increased sales compared with last year," said Paweł Zawisza, management board member at BZ WBK-CU TU SA.

Overall, meeting participants agreed that Bancassurance is a major opportunity for the banking sector in a time of turbulence.

Beata Gołębiewska-Chęciak
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