1H2011 - Too big to be small

18 October 2011 — Vlad BOLDIJAR
The region of the Commonwealth of Independent States offers important potentials for future growth of the insurance market. This statement is reinforced if we compare the figures recorded in the first six months of this year to those recorded in Central and Eastern Europe. In the first six months of 2011, the market amounted to EUR17.3bn, with only half euro million less than the cumulated result of the 17 countries of the CEE Region. Also, the growth rate was higher than in the CEE: 11.2%, compared to 8.2%.

If we exclude Russia's "giant insurance market", the insurance market of the CIS countries (including Georgia) accounted for a volume of EUR1.85bn underwritings, about 3.2% less than in 2010. This minimum decrease is due the depreciation of local currencies against euro in Belarus and Ukraine, while in national currency, both insurance markets increased.

In case of Georgia and Moldova, these two insurance markets are comparable with some Eastern European markets. The Georgian market, under the crisis pressure, decreased in local currency and also in euro - so did Croatia, Hungary and Romania, too -, while the Moldavian market, in terms of portfolio structure, is comparable with the smaller and younger CEE markets, as Montenegro and Albania.

Regarding Turkmenistan and Tajikistan, the insurance markets are "closed" in terms of information, and are monopolized by the State-owned companies and driven by compulsory insurance.

Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan are also three ex-Soviet states, but here, we can notice many private-owned insurance companies and the globalization trend of the market. However, in these three countries, the development of the insurance industry will be a real challenge for local authorities, because the population culture regarding insurance is now being formed.

Regarding the two Caucasus insurance markets, Armenia and Azerbaijan, they were dominated by reforms which have changed the old market trends. In case of Armenia, the development seems shocking considering legislative changes this year that implied introducing MTPL, insurance class which could increase the insurance market.

In Azerbaijan, the State helps the insurers fight the crisis, through a law that exempts companies from paying income tax, but companies need to raise their capital.

In fact, this period can be defined as a "period of reforms", in many countries significant changes happening or being planned to happen in the future.

In case of Belarus, the legislation requires that the compulsory insurance can be provided only by state-owned insurers or insurers with more than 50% state ownership, and in the second half of 2011, insurers expect an adoption of a presidential decree, which includes a number of liberal moments for the insurance market.

In Armenia, the "MTPL reform" has led to a new challenge for the authorities: the Central Bank of the Republic of Armenia established the organization "Insurers Bureau of Armenia", which, together with the Guarantee Fund, was established for the effective functioning of MTPL and for coordinating the motor insurer's activity.

A "motor insurance reform" also took place in Ukraine: the form of amicable report of damages due to road accidents can be used in Ukraine since September 19th this year.

In the case of Moldova, the minimum capitalization requirement to be achieved by April 2011 reduced the number of profiles companies from 24 to 22 this year. A similar situation happened in Russia with reinsurance companies: since the beginning of 2011, the reinsurance market has decreased by about 20 companies.

These above-mentioned reforms represent only one set of changes made by market authorities in each country, but correlated with the globalization, there have been created all the premises for the development of this industry.

In conclusion, a greater competition and a well defined legal framework will undoubtedly lead to evolution!

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