Michael Gatt CEO, Atlas Insurance PCC Ltd In 2016, the non-life insurance industry continued to grow albeit at a slightly slower pace than the previous year. We at Atlas were satisfied with our premium growth which was in line with the previous year increase, however, our overall performance was negatively affected by an increase in the frequency and severity of claims, in particular bodily injury claims. In addition, investment returns were also well below the previous year’s performance, so all in all it was quite a challenging year for us but satisfactory nonetheless in the current environment. With reference to 2017 forecasts, market players, some more than others, had begun to adjust premiums in 2016 to stem the losses experienced over the last years, particularly on motor vehicles, and it is hoped that the effect of these adjustments will result in an improved performance for this class of business which makes up almost 50 per cent of the market premiums. If the economic activity in general continues to expand, then our industry could possibly be looking at a similar or even better year. However, it is difficult to project technical results due to the very nature of our business. Claims and
investment income, which are two very crucial elements, are both very difficult to predict and can be very volatile from year to year. The international insurance industry is entering a period of profound change, with the increasing momentum of fintechs and insuretechs entering the scene, changing buying behaviour, and growing needs and purchasing power of millennials and digital natives. These are challenging how insurance is bought, sold, underwritten and serviced in a fundamental way. It is up to us to seize opportunities presented by technology and data to create innovative solutions, reduce costs and capture greater value for our customers. Linked to this is the war on talent where we face competition from other sectors and need to find new ways to develop and attract young people to careers in the industry. As for future endeavours, each year is an exercise in improving our service for our customers, in terms of improved products, but also providing a more efficient and convenient experience for all our clients. This year, Atlas Insurance launched new and improved travel insurance benefits and is working on
a number of new products and services. Atlas Healthcare, together with AXA PPP healthcare, has also launched improved health and dental benefits. At Atlas, we take the feedback received from clients very seriously and, during 2017, we plan to continue adding service enhancements, particularly at claims stage, when clients need us most. Finally, we believe that happy and motivated employees are the backbone of our company. The continued attraction, development and encouragement of talent is becoming ever more crucial and ever more challenging at the same time. Through staff initiatives, training, and an emphasis on talent management, we aim to always improve our corporate culture, making Atlas a great place to work.
Karl Schranz General Manager, FCM Travel Solutions Malta 2016 was a great year for FCM Travel Solutions Malta – with our overall performance exceeding expectations by 20 per cent. This was largely due to our amazing team, which has grown substantially in 2016, to our expansion programme and the merger of EC Travel, Howards Travel, Westland Travel, as well as our very close working collaboration with JPE Travel and also KDM Travel. Now that we are nicely settled into our new, state-of-the-art Head Office located on the Birkirkara by-pass, we are more motivated
than ever to continue our growth – especially within the leisure travel industry. We are very excited about our new product ‘Stellina Holidays by FCM Travel Solutions’, which is proving to be extremely popular and is being received incredibly well by all our clients. With sub-offices in Mosta, Valletta and Gozo, we are focused on increasing our client reach and offering all kinds of logistical services throughout the world. A major challenge for our industry is the internet, as many seem to think that booking online is faster, cheaper and will always work in their favour – however, many times, this is not the case, mainly due to the false assumption that web bookings are fee-free. Upon closer examination, you will discover that fares through a travel management company are more competitive, because they are likely to have strong supplier relationships and industryinnovative technology which will work to the clients’ advantage. It is for this reason that we have invested in the latest OBT (Online Booking Tool) technology, where our corporate clients can use our services through the internet and book online or via email, allowing them to issue their own air tickets (including low cost carriers), hotel vouchers and more with no need for
credit card payments and with the peace of mind that they are purchasing from a trusted travel management company, with a 24/7 emergency service. We give our clients peace of mind and support, knowing that, should they find themselves in an emergency situation, our dedicated team will be of aid – web bookings can be unforgiving in these scenarios, with no rerouting, crisis updates, refunds or assistance being offered. On the positive side, the internet boom has also brought with it several opportunities for our industry, with information and communication at our fingertips. This has allowed us to build relationships with suppliers and other travel management companies all over the globe. Throughout 2017, we are looking towards further growth, with expansion programmes in place for our Malta operations as well as expanding our operations in Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt and Algiers. We plan to continue to negotiate, to enable us to offer special rates for our clients, which in some cases has allowed us to go even lower than BFOD, including conference rates – the more a client books through us, the more our booking volume grows, and this gives us the fuel we need to negotiate even better discounts for our clients.” cc APRIL / MAY 2017
The Official Business magazine of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise & Industry since 1947.