Sur­vey finds Greeks rapidly los­ing faith in state in­sur­ance sys­tem

Re­spon­dents say that tak­ing out some form of pri­vate cov­er­age, for health­care in par­tic­u­lar, is very likely in the near fu­ture

Kathimerini English - - Sponsored Section - BY EV­GE­NIA TZORTZI

De­spite a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in so­cial se­cu­rity con­tri­bu­tions, con­sec­u­tive re­forms of the state in­sur­ance sys­tem and dra­matic cuts to pen­sions, some 84 per­cent of Greeks con­tinue to doubt the sus­tain­abil­ity of the so­cial in­sur­ance sys­tem.

This over­whelm­ing skep­ti­cism was among the find­ings of a sur­vey con­ducted by mar­ket re­search firm MRB Hel­las for the Hellenic As­so­ci­a­tion of In­sur­ance Com­pa­nies (EAEE), which also found that one in two re­spon­dents (49 per­cent) have more faith in pri­vate in­sur­ance com­pa­nies to make bet­ter use of their con­tri­bu­tions. In con­trast, just 13 per­cent of those ques­tioned said they be­lieve their money is bet­ter uti­lized when it is man­aged by the state, while 28 per­cent said they didn’t be­lieve there is any dif­fer­ence be­tween the two sys­tems.

The study, ti­tled “Opin­ions and Per­cep­tions of the In­sur­ance Mar­ket,” points to the preva­lent be­lief among 85 per­cent of re­spon­dents that state pen­sions will be slashed fur­ther. Pri­vate in­sur­ance and specif­i­cally the need for health cov­er­age ranked third in the cat­e­gory of is­sues trou­bling the av­er­age Greek house­hold, af­ter pro­vid­ing their chil­dren with a de­cent ed­u­ca­tion and cov­er­ing the cost of ba­sic ne­ces­si­ties.

The sur­vey was con­ducted via tele­phone interview on a rep­re­sen­ta­tive sam­ple of 1,000 peo­ple, com­pris­ing men and women aged from 25 to 54 years, across the coun­try.

Skep­ti­cism re­gard­ing the sus­tain­abil­ity of the pub­lic in­sur­ance sys­tem is preva­lent, the re­searchers found: 86 per­cent feel the pub­lic in­sur­ance sys­tem’s fu­ture is not se­cure; 78 per­cent see a fur­ther de­te­ri­o­ra­tion in the al­ready dire fi­nances of state so­cial se­cu­rity funds; 84 per­cent are afraid that that state in­sur­ers will not be able to pay out ad­e­quate pen­sions in the fu­ture; 89 per­cent fore­see a fur­ther drop in state pen­sions; 91 per­cent say their pen­sion will not be suf­fi­cient to cover the needs that will arise once they re­tire; 62 per­cent are un­happy with the pub­lic health ser­vices they re­ceive and seven in 10 re­spon­dents rec­og­nize the need for en­sur­ing bet­ter health­care ser­vices via pri­vate in­sur­ance.

At a press con­fer­ence held yes­ter­day to present the find­ings of the study, EAEE Pres­i­dent Dimitris Mazarakis stressed the im­por­tance of its con­clu­sions in draft­ing a new strat­egy for the in­sur­ance mar­ket so that pri­vate in­sur­ance ser­vices “re­spond more ef­fec­tively to cit­i­zens’ needs.”

While the sur­vey fur­ther demon­strates a va­ri­ety of rea­sons why cit­i­zens would choose a spe­cific pri­vate in­sur­ance prod­uct, the ma­jor­ity of re­spon­dents agree that pri­vate in­sur­ance is a ne­ces­sity. Asked what they think when con­sid­er­ing the term “pri­vate in­sur­ance,” the ma­jor­ity of re­spon­dents picked the op­tions “pro­vides for me and my fam­ily.” This was fol­lowed in rank­ing by the terms “nec­es­sary evil,” “pro­tec­tion,” “ne­ces­sity,” “re­spon­si­bil­ity/look­ing out for the fu­ture,” “lux­ury,” “in­vest­ment” and “waste of money.” As­sess­ing the find­ings of the study, Mazarakis stressed that “cit­i­zens ac­knowl­edge that pri­vate in­sur­ance can be a re­li­able com­ple­men­tary so­lu­tion and in­creas­ingly en­trust in­sur­ance com­pa­nies with their health­care and pen­sions.” “The ob­jec­tive is to build bridges of trust, so that fewer peo­ple see pri­vate in­sur­ance as a nec­es­sary evil,” he said, adding that sig­nif­i­cant in­roads have been made in this di­rec­tion thanks to more strin­gent su­per­vi­sory mech­a­nisms that im­ple­ment Euro­pean stan­dards and en­sure a high level of re­li­a­bil­ity in the sec­tor.

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