"It has been an intense start. Since my appointment in December 2019, we have dealt with a number of challenges including COVID-19, the earthquake in Zagreb, two acquisitions, a change in claims criteria and an ongoing reshuffle of the management team. In this context, we remain committed to delivering on our priorities, i.e. the integration of the portfolios of Izvor and Adriatic Slovenica, a strong focus on profitable growth, the acceleration of our digital agenda coupled with a review of our processes and a restructuring of the company organization.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had so far an impact both on the business itself as well as on the organization of our work. From a business perspective, we have definitely seen certain lines of business more affected, in terms of premium development, especially credit and life. In general, we have observed how the pandemic has shifted the demand of insurance towards protection, a pillar of our industry and the strategy of our Group. From a financial perspective, in the figures of the first six months we can see the impact of the spring lockdown, however the effects of the pandemic, in economic terms, will persist in the mid-term. After a summer touristic season - a crucial segment for the Croatian economy - which has seen an inflow of tourists lower than last year, but better than some spring forecasts, this autumn will be particularly important.
In terms of the organization of our work, the pandemic has accelerated the use of smart working, especially for our administrative functions, something Generali osiguranje was not really familiar with in the past. In this respect, I am very proud of the way our team has been able to respond to such a sudden shock very quickly, in fact overnight, and also smoothly from an operational perspective. Our priority has been and remains the safety of our colleagues, clients and partners. After a couple of months, I can say that significant use of smart working will become a permanent feature of the way we work. Despite the fact our colleagues spend less time together in person in the office, the cooperation among them, as well as in many cases also the relationships with partners and clients, seems to have improved even while working at a distance".
Talking about the Italian group expansion on Croatian market, after the competition of the acquisition of the Izvor osiguranje portfolio, CARINI mentioned that this year "we are focusing on strengthening our footprint in the Croatian market which is consistent with what we do in the rest of the region. Izvor brought us a portfolio of non-life business, allowing us to focus on segments of our strategic interest, further strengthening our sales network and the relationship with our partners. Concluding the acquisition in the middle of lockdown has been a new and challenging experience, but we have succeeded to deliver our plans. Our team members put a great effort into ensuring the smoothest merger possible and we are satisfied with the progress of its implementation.
Now we are devoted to the acquisition of Adriatic Slovenica, being in the last stage of finalizing the process that was started by Generali Slovenia. This further acquisition is strengthening further our capabilities in life and motor business."
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