Hungarian insurers covering niche markets


Having insurance is commonly considered a good idea to prevent damage in accidents or as a result of crime, but it is often surprising what kind of policies are available and the things people are looking to insure. Hungary has some ground to make up in reaching the tabloid headlines, but we’re getting there.

It is a common recurring theme on the lighter side of the news whenever an insurance policy covers something odd or out of the ordinary, usually for an astronomical sum. Piano tuners insure their hands, famous actresses take out policies, often worth millions of dollars, for their breasts or eccentric wealthy people spend a fortune to protect various tidbits they hold on to as keepsakes from their lives.

In searching for new market opportunities, insurers have discovered that expanding their range of services to any and every eventuality imaginable is simply good business.

For instance, it’s easy and common to get insurance for one’s self, children or partner. The business opportunities apparent in the ties now also cover (very) ‘extended families’: you can insure your pets. A survey released by insurer Generali found that 79% of dog owners and 72% of cat owners consider their pets as family members.

Accordingly, the company launched a new policy targeted specifically at those who want to have savings in case there is an accident or a visit to the veterinarian. Based on the terms, the contract could cover up to HUF 300,000 in vet costs, Generali said.

Sensitive gadgets
The range of items that can be covered by a policy has grown, as more relatively pricey equipment has become available to a broader consumer base. It is now common for mobile telecommunication firms to include handset insurance in their basic tariffs, or to make such solutions available to their subscribers.

Getting insured may actually be a good idea, since many of the popular gadgets are anything but inexpensive. For instance, the latest wave of the super-hyped iPhones could cost up to HUF 195,000, depending on the package available at the provider.

Similar considerations apply for laptops, where insurance is on sale to cover the eventualities that aren’t included in the normal warranty terms. A website promoting a laptop policy states that the insurance will pay for common accidents like dropping the device, spilling a beverage on it or damages from voltage fluctuation.

Those looking to buy top-notch gear may want to consider the option, especially if they are looking for high-end brands. The latest 13-inch MacBook Air has a starting price of HUF 350,000, while the peak Alienware laptops optimized for heavy-duty use like gaming or graphic design could easily cost upward of HUF 900,000 – and they break just as easily.

Full coverage
While one of the main issues in the ongoing debate over healthcare insurance in the United States is whether companies should be held to cover medical bills in the case of preexisting conditions, there are policies that cover deliberately inflicted self harm.

While a man in Germany was denied payment from an insurance company after he injured his partner in an extreme sex act last year, after a 2010 court ruling, Hungarian clients have the option to buy life insurance that also pays in the case of suicide, if it happens two years after the contract is signed.

Death in general is a sensitive niche market for insurance but one that will never go out of business for obvious reasons. Clients are offered policies that allow them to have a budget ready to cover their burial and relieve their families of the eventual costs.

One brokerage has three separate offers ranging from HUF 250,000 to HUF 800,000 depending on the desired elements of the ceremony, with monthly installments depending on the type of coverage chosen and the age at which the customer enters the contract.

Though nowhere near as final, companies are also finding a niche in high unemployment. Leading insurers all offer policies targeted specifically at people concerned that they will lose their income for whatever reason so they can bridge the interim period.

Clients who find themselves in unexpected trouble but who had the foresight to save against the possibility can rely on payouts for up to nine months, according to the terms of one popular insurer.

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