Top 100 See - - Contents - By Nevena Krasteva

South­east Europe's re­turn to steady growth, though slow to af­fect the in­sur­ers in the re­gion, is even­tu­ally show­ing in their bal­ance sheets. In the merciful ab­sence of nat­u­ral dis­as­ters or ma­jor ex­ter­nal shocks and amid ris­ing con­sump­tion and a favourable fis­cal en­vi­ron­ment, the pos­i­tive trends that had emerged al­ready in 2014 re­sulted in a 6% in­crease of the com­bined gross writ­ten pre­mi­ums (GWP) of the 100 big­gest in­sur­ers, and, more no­tably, a 43% growth of their com­bined net profit.

Croa­t­ian in­sur­ers in par­tic­u­lar put up a re­mark­able per­for­mance and over­took the rank­ing, as Croa­tia Osig­u­ranje, the re­gion’s se­cond big­gest in­surer, saw an im­pres­sive turn­around to profit.

The prospects be­fore the SEE in­sur­ance in­dus­try re­main even more op­ti­mistic as the pos­i­tive busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment and con­di­tions for con­ver­gence to­wards the mar­kets of other EU coun­tries are ex­pected to per­sist. Fur­ther­more, the re­gion is largely seen as rel­a­tively un­der­de­vel­oped and there­fore hold­ing un­tapped po­ten­tial.

In 2015, the com­bined GWP of the re­gion's top 100 in­sur­ers rose to 6.8 bil­lion euro from 6.4 bil­lion euro of the en­trants in the pre­vi­ous year's rank­ing. Still, about a quar­ter re­ported a de­cline in their GWP ver­sus just 11 a year ear­lier.

The com­bined net profit of the re­gion's top in­sur­ers, how­ever, leapt to 234 mil­lion euro from 163 mil­lion euro a year ear­lier and a re­vised loss of 137.5 mil­lion euro booked col­lec­tively by the en­trants in the 2013 rank­ing.

Ljubl­jana-based Zavaroval­nica Triglav, the top in­surer for yet an­other year, posted 586.3 mil­lion euro in GWP, as com­pared to 592.6 mil­lion euro a year ear­lier. It was also the top per­former in terms of net profit earned in 2015 with 58.5 mil­lion euro ver­sus 45.6 mil­lion euro and way ahead of the rest.

In 2015, Triglav Group ac­quired Skupna poko­jnin­ska druzba, the se­cond largest provider of sup­ple­men­tal pen­sion in­sur­ance on the Slove­nian mar­ket, which is one of the fac­tors that sig­nif­i­cantly boosted its fi­nan­cial re­sults along with a pre­mium growth in mar­kets out­side Slove­nia and the ab­sence of mass loss events. At the end of 2015, Triglav held a mar­ket share of 44% in non-life in­sur­ance, 35% in life in­sur­ance and 23% in health in­sur­ance. Go­ing for­ward, in the six coun­tries in SEE where it op­er­ates, Triglav Group's fo­cus will be on health and life in­sur­ance, with spe­cial at­ten­tion to in­no­va­tive telem­at­ics so­lu­tions. (You can read an in­ter­view with Ben­jamin Josar, mem­ber of the man­age­ment board, on the next pages).

The only changes in the top 10 spots in the 2015 edi­tion of the TOP 100 in­sur­ers rank­ing were a switch of places be­tween Croa­tia Osig­u­ranje and Adri­atic Slovenica, as well as the en­try of Ser­bia's Du­nav Osig­u­ranje at no. 8 and of Euroins Ro­ma­nia Asig­u­rare Reasig­u­rare at no. 10. They re­placed Croa­tia's Al­lianz Za­greb and Ro­ma­nia's As­tra.

At no. 2, Croa­tia Osig­u­ranje saw its GWP edge up 3.2% to 301.4 mil­lion, whereas the third­placed Adri­atic Slovenica recorded GWP of 296.6 mil­lion euro, down from 297.9 mil­lion euro a year ear­lier.

Fur­ther­more, the Croa­t­ian in­surer swung to a net profit of 6.1 mil­lion euro from a loss of 53.9 mil­lion euro af­ter com­plet­ing the first stage of a re­struc­tur­ing process. The com­pany has said that its con­tin­ued trans­for­ma­tion to­wards long-term sus­tain­abil­ity and the preser­va­tion and strength­en­ing of its mar­ket po­si­tion will be fo­cused on fur­ther devel­op­ment of prod­ucts, ser­vices and its avail­abil­ity to ex­ist­ing and fu­ture cus­tomers and on im­prov­ing busi­ness ef­fi­ciency and re­duc­ing costs.

Croa­tia Osiguarnje's strong per­for­mance came on a very ac­tive do­mes­tic mar­ket which re­turned to growth, al­beit slight, af­ter a de­cline a year ear­lier. This pos­i­tive devel­op­ment, how­ever, was not re­flected in the num­ber of Croa­t­ian en­trants in the rank­ing, which dropped by one from a year ear­lier, to 14.

In­ter­est­ingly, the se­cond place in the rank­ing in terms of profit was taken by Ro­ma­nia's Metropoli­tan Life Asig­u­rari, oth­er­wise 39th in terms of GWP, with a net re­sult of 39.4 mil­lion euro. It was fol­lowed by Slove­nia's Zavaroval­nica Mari­bor with a net profit of 24 mil­lion euro.

A to­tal of eight new en­trants made it into the rank­ing as one – Bulgaria's Dall Bogg Zhivot I Zdrave - booked a star­tling 848% jump in GWP to 438,000 euro.

On the op­po­site end of the ta­ble, Ro­ma­nia's As­tra, which is in bank­ruptcy, posted the big­gest de­cline in GWP, by 43% to 97.4 mil­lion euro.

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