SERBIA, 1Q2012: Despite economic decline, insurance market went up

In 1Q2012, the Serbian economy contracted 1.3% amid a frozen agreement with the IMF and weak demand for Serbian exports in the European Union because of the sovereign-debt crisis. The International Monetary Fund forecast Serbian economic growth at 0.5% this year and 3% next year. Despite economic decline, GWP in Serbia rose by 3.89% in the first quarter of 2012, led by growth in life insurance policies, according to financial figures recently published by the National Bank of Serbia (NBS).

In absolute values, in January-March 2012, the premiums totaled RSD 14.9 billion (EUR 128 million), with life insurance grew 11.2% to RSD 2.6 billion (EUR 22 million), and non-life insurance expanding 2.5% to RSD 12.3 billion (EUR 106 million).

In an interview, Vladimir MEDAN, Chief Executive Officer of BASLER Osiguranja (member of BALOISE Holding, Switzerland's third-largest insurer), said growth of premiums may outpace Serbia's economic growth after 2014 and probably reach EUR 1 billion in 2018.

Gross written premiums rose 1.4% in 2011, compared with a 1.6% economic growth rate. At the same time, GWP had an average 2.3% annual increase over the past three years and reached RSD 57.3 billion (EUR 548 million) in 2011.

"Premium growth may remain weak this year and next, before picking up on an estimated economic expansion of at least four percent by the end of 2014", Vladimir MEDAN, quoted by www.bloomberg.com.

"Even such modest growth of economic activity will have a multiplying effect on the growth of premiums" as it will create more disposable income for life insurances and greater demand by business that will want to insure their assets, MEDAN said in the interview.

"Considering the low base and the generally underdeveloped market, there is good potential", added Mr. MEDAN.

With 28 insurance companies operating in 2012, the Serbian insurance market added two more companies from the last year (AXA Nezivot and Russian company SOGAZ Osiguranje - licensed in December 2011). Of the 28 companies, 24 engaged in insurance and four in reinsurance only. Of the insurance companies, seven are exclusive life-insurers, eleven exclusive non-life insurers, while six provide both life and non-life insurance.

Serbia's insurance market is dominated by three insurers including DUNAV Osiguranje (31.4% market share), DELTA GENERALI Osiguranje (18.9%) and DDOR Novi Sad (15.8%), which control more than two thirds of the market.

Access www.xprimm.com and download the 1Q2012 Serbian insurance market statistics.

Market portfolio (in EUR and RSD):
  • Gross written premiums
  • Paid claims
  • Growth rates
Market rankings (GWP/Claims/Market shares - in EUR and RSD):
  • Total market ranking
  • Life insurance ranking
  • Non-life insurance ranking

Follow XPRIMM Publications on LinkedIn, for more data on the insurance and financial industry.

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