Allianz gears towards road safety awareness

Bumpy, jam-packed and monsoon-flooded roads, a family of four riding on one rickety scooter – a common traffic scene that can be encountered in several Asian cities. With thousands of new vehicles embarking on Asia’s streets each day, there has never been a more important time for the motor insurance industry in the region.

According to the World Bank, the global road death toll will grow by approximately 66 percent between 2000 and 2020. This number reflects divergent rates of change in different parts of the world – e.g. a decline in fatalities in high-income countries of 28 percent versus an increase in fatalities of almost 92 percent in China and 147 percent in India.

With this in mind, motor insurance experts and executives of Allianz – globally and locally - met in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Jakarta, Indonesia to promote road safety in Asia. The events highlighted Allianz commitment towards road safety through local entities, research of Allianz Center for Technology (AZT) and its partnership with Formula One as an effective platform to reach customers.

Family trip – everyday traffic scenery in Jakarta

From left to right: Allianz Utama CEO Victor Sandjaja, Allianz Life CEO Jens Reisch, Allianz head of Marketing Communication Steven Althaus, AZT head Christoph Lauterwasser and F1 Expert Christian Danner

Alexander Ankel, CEO of Allianz General Insurance Company (Malaysia) Berhad said, "The Allianz Group has led to improvements in traffic safety and cost-savings through the automotive engineering research of Allianz Center of Technology (AZT). There are many road safety initiatives taken at a global level, and it is vital for Allianz in Malaysia to tap into this with the countless road accidents that happen every day in this country."

Allianz Malaysia had kicked off the year with a Road Safety Video Contest for college students. This they believe will target the issue at its core: the youth of today who are the drivers – and the leaders – of tomorrow. For this, Allianz teamed up with the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research to increase road safety awareness. Together they shared vivid facts on how vehicle safety can save lives.

Christoph Lauterwasser, Managing Director of AZT Automotive, pointed out that road safety needs a holistic approach, taking into account drivers, vehicle technology and road infrastructure. With this risk management approach, a large percentage of accidents is preventable, in Asia, Europe, and other regions too.

In Indonesia, Allianz Utama have invited novice drivers to driving coaching. Supported by former F1 driver Christian Danner and the AZT, the Indonesian motor society Ikatan Motor Indonesia coached the beginners on fundamental driving skills as well as accurate road safety behavior.

The audience was impressed when the implications of a 30 kilometer-per-hour crash test were shown. "I had no idea how serious crashes at low speed could be. I will definitely use my safety belt in future, even just for short drives,"  one participant commented.

"Traffic is becoming very hectic in Indonesia. Every day, new motor vehicles are joining the streets, which increase the risks on the road. As a good corporate citizen and also for the sake of our business, we need to increase the safety on the roads," commented Victor Sandjaja, CEO of Allianz Utama.

The Allianz CEOs in both Indonesia and Malaysia are planning further local initiatives to promote road safety.

In 2007, Allianz motor insurance premiums in Asia totaled 314 million euros, representing more than a third of the region's premium income. "With the growth of our motor insurance business, we see the importance of keeping our customers and people in general safe from harm," said Don Nguyen, Regional P&C Manager Allianz Asia Pacific. Nguyen added: "The motor business continues to be a dominant factor in our growth, and if managed properly it can be a profitable line of business in spite of the current competitive pressure."

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