17 February 2009

Will life get more expensive?

The Ministry of Finance assessed the life of a person
It costs, according to the calculations of officials, from 1 to 10 million rubles

Irina Kolodina, "Russian Business Newspaper", 17.02.2009

In the current legislation, there are no uniform approaches to determining insurance payments for harm caused to human life. According to the CTP law, the insurance amount is 160 thousand rubles, according to the Air Code – 2 million, and payments of compulsory insurance of military personnel are tied to their salary. According to the Ministry of Finance, in case of revision of approaches to the definition of insurance amounts in the legislation for damage caused to human life, it would be possible to introduce limits of 2-3 million rubles. Is it a lot or a little? After all, in the West, in such cases, you can get much more. So, in the UK, based on the theory of human capital, adequate payments for harm caused to human life are estimated at 1.5 million pounds, in the USA – about 3 million dollars. We are talking with Vera Balakireva, Deputy Director of the Financial Policy Department of the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation, about how the Ministry of Finance calculated adequate payments for harm caused to human life, and what approaches were used in this case.

– What methods of calculating the cost of living were used by the specialists of the Ministry of Finance?– We wanted to estimate the cost of a person's life for the purpose of determining the amount of insurance amounts and the amount of insurance payments for insured events under insurance contracts.

Today, the level of insurance payments, in particular, for civil liability insurance, is quite low. The standards are inadequate for the expenses of the family as a result of the loss of health by the breadwinner or his death.

We analyzed several methods for estimating the average cost of living and based on their results tried to apply some valuation methods for insurance purposes.

Most of the methods analyzed by us are based on determining the cost of living based on the funds earned during life and the expenses incurred by a person during treatment or representatives of his family spent on funerals and their life support after his death. We were also based on an estimate of the cost of living based on the amount of spending carried out by the state from the moment of a person's birth to his death. The costs associated with the birth of a child were analyzed, allowances for children under the age of 16 were taken into account, as well as the costs of society for the child's education and upbringing. Of course, we took the amount of the minimum wage, the size of the assigned (average) monthly state benefits, the size of the costs of medical care and funeral services. Calculations were carried out for different ages, taking into account the upcoming life expectancy. The average life expectancy for calculations was 67 years.

As I said, there were several methods. We proceeded, firstly, from the methodology of human economic capital. Secondly, from the amount of insurance payments and insurance amounts that are paid through social insurance and social security. And finally, sociological surveys were taken into account when people themselves assessed their lives. As calculations and surveys have shown, the average cost of living in Russia is not very high and varies from two to five million rubles, depending on age, risk assessment and standard of life support. The results of the study indicate that for insurance purposes, combined methods can be used that reflect several approaches at once. For example, a costly approach and an approach related to the average statistical cost of a citizen's life, taking into account the upcoming length of his life, as well as taking into account individual personal characteristics, additional (indirect) costs borne by each family, taking into account social status, the level of its income. Estimating indirect costs is a rather difficult task, since the cost of education, medical care and medicines are very different on the territory of the Russian Federation. For the purposes of determining the amounts of insurance amounts, insurance payments under an insurance contract that are adequate to the cost of living, it is necessary to proceed from the cost assessment and selection of those items of expenditure that are necessary to make payments to dependents in the event of the death of the breadwinner or in the event of disability.

The current norms of the Civil Code regulating relations on compensation for damage caused to life and health have certain restrictions on the list of persons entitled to receive compensation in the event of the death of the breadwinner, determining the amount of expenses to be reimbursed.

The current practice is based on compensation for damage due to the death of the breadwinner based on the average monthly earnings (income) of the deceased and compensation for funeral expenses. Of course, this approach restricts the rights of persons entitled to compensation to receive an insurance payment adequate to the rising cost of living and the necessary expenses for the maintenance of surviving family members.

It is necessary to improve legislation, including insurance legislation, in order to switch to a different mechanism for making insurance payments in order to expand the list of persons entitled to insurance payments in the event of the death of one of the family members, the composition and amount of expenses (costs) that will be payable by the insurer under the insurance contract.

An increase in the amount of insurance amounts by types of civil liability insurance and personal insurance is possible, it will allow making payments to citizens in an amount adequate to the vital needs of the family. However, it is necessary to approach the solution of this problem carefully, estimating the cost of the insurance service provided by the insurer in proportion to the increase in the insured amount. I think that we will continue this work and in the future we will develop approaches related to changing legislation and moving to a new practice of compensation for damage caused to the life and health of citizens in the field of insurance.

– Please give the most illustrative, in your opinion, examples of calculating insurance payments for harm caused to human life.– For example, as a result of the death of a 34-year-old man with a salary of about 50 thousand rubles a month, whose wife and daughter are 7 years old, compensation payments may amount to about 12 million rubles.

Moreover, the wife – about 2-3 million, and most of it – the daughter, since the costs of her education, upbringing, nutrition are much greater. To a pensioner left without a breadwinner at the age of 70, the compensation amounts may amount to a little more than 1 million rubles.

– What are the main approaches to determining adequate amounts of insurance payments for harm to human life used in foreign practice?– They are very different.

Abroad, unlike us, almost all indirect costs, moral damage, mental state as a result of the incident are taken into account, respectively, the amount of compensation is much higher.

These factors have not yet been taken into account in the calculations. Payments are made in installments over several years.

In Russian practice, due to the small amounts of payments that are calculated based on average earnings and those social standards that are in effect today, victims prefer to receive them at a time.

Portal "Eternal youth" www.vechnayamolodost.ru17.02.2009

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