Lack of eco­nomic mo­men­tum key chal­lenge for SEE in­sur­ers

Top 100 See - - Top 100 Insurers - By Ge­orgi Ge­orgiev

The in­sur­ance com­pa­nies op­er­at­ing in South­east Europe (SEE) had to cope with a re­strained eco­nomic mo­men­tum in the re­gion in 2014 when the ef­fects of the fi­nan­cial cri­sis con­tin­ued to dampen the re­cov­ery of consumer spend­ing and over­all busi­ness ac­tiv­ity. Nat­u­ral dis­as­ters hit sev­eral key Balkan mar­kets, but fall­out for the in­sur­ance industry was lim­ited due to the low in­sur­ance rate. Con­di­tions in the SEE in­sur­ance sec­tor did not im­prove last year – the com­bined gross writ­ten pre­mi­ums (GWP) of the re­gion's top 100 in­sur­ers stayed nearly flat at around 6.4 bil­lion euro in 2014 - with ma­jor play­ers not­ing a cer­tain slip­page in the qual­ity and rate of re­tail and cor­po­rate in­sur­ance cov­er­age even in some of the re­gion's rel­a­tively wellde­vel­oped mar­kets.

The out­look for the SEE in­sur­ance mar­ket in 2015 is cau­tiously op­ti­mistic with no longterm re­ces­sions ex­pected in any mar­kets. The industry still views SEE as a growth re­gion with high po­ten­tial, though in­creas­ingly com­pet­i­tive.

On the back­drop of the struc­tural prob­lems still dog­ging most of the SEE economies and the dif­fer­ent speeds of growth from coun­try to coun­try, the com­pa­nies that made the cut for the TOP 100 In­sur­ers rank­ing for 2014 posted a com­bined net profit of 163.3 mil­lion euro com­pared to a re­vised loss of 137.5 mil­lion euro booked col­lec­tively by the en­trants in the 2013 rank­ings*.

The to­tal com­bined net profit of the re­gion's top five in­sur­ers dropped 26.6% to 31.8 mil­lion euro in 2014, mainly due to a widen­ing of the loss booked by Croa­tia Osig­u­ranje. The top hon­ors again went to Ljubl­jan­abased Zavaroval­nica Triglav which re­mained the re­gion's big­gest in­surer in 2014, book­ing a to­tal of 592.6 mil­lion euro GWP and keep­ing its near­est com­peti­tor, up-and-comer Adri­atic Slovenica, at a rea­son­able dis­tance.

Zavaroval­nica Triglav has en­joyed an un­in­ter­rupted run at the top ever since the in­au­gu­ral edi­tion of the rank­ing of the 100 big­gest SEE in­sur­ers in 2010.

The run­ner-up in the 2014 edi­tion of the rank­ings, Croa­tia Osig­u­ranje, was pushed down to the third po­si­tion by Slove­nia's Adri­atic Slovenica which recorded GWP of 297.9 mil­lion euro ver­sus 291 mil­lion euro for its Za­greb-based peer.

Zavaroval­nica Triglav was also ahead of the pack in terms of net profit earned in 2014 with 45.6 mil­lion euro. The top three in terms of this per­for­mance in­di­ca­tor was an al­lSlove­nian af­fair with Adri­atic Slovenica rank­ing sec­ond and Mo­dra Zavaroval­nica plac­ing third, earn­ing a net profit of 18.8 mil­lion euro and 17.4 mil­lion euro, re­spec­tively.

The only change in the top five spots in the 2015 edi­tion of the TOP 100 in­sur­ers rank­ing was the switch-up be­tween Adri­atic Slovenica and Croa­tia Osig­u­ranje. By cling­ing on to a po­si­tion among the re­gion's big five, the Croa­t­ian in­surer once again pre­vented a Slove­nian sweep at the top.

Ro­ma­nia's Pool-ul de Asig­u­rare Im­potriva Deza­s­trelor Nat­u­rale SA recorded the high­est GWP growth rate in 2014, of just over 110% to 28.3 mil­lion euro.

Croa­tia's Basler Osig­u­ranje Za­greb d.d. paced the de­clin­ers with a GWP drop of 37.7% to 32.4 mil­lion euro. The com­pany slumped by 17 places on the TOP 100 in­sur­ers rank­ing to the 50 po­si­tion com­pared to its show­ing in the 2013 edi­tion.

Five of the eight new­com­ers in the rank­ing's 2014 edi­tion hail from Slove­nia with Bulgaria, Ro­ma­nia and Ser­bia ac­count­ing for one new en­try each.

Ro­ma­nia and Bulgaria were the mar­kets with the big­gest pres­ence in the 2015 edi­tion of the TOP 100 in­sur­ers rank­ing, notch­ing up 20 en­trants each. The Ro­ma­nian count is down by one from the last edi­tion of the rank­ings while that for Bulgaria is flat.

The num­ber of Croa­t­ian com­pa­nies fea­tured in the 2015 rank­ing fell by one from the pre­vi­ous year to 15, en­sur­ing the no.2 rank­ing for that mar­ket.

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