STATISTICS: BALTICS, 2008-2017 timeline: evolution of the regional consolidated results is in line with the CEE average

14 February 2019 — Daniela GHETU
The Baltic countries - Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania -, have recorded between 2008-2017 a trend similar to the other CEE markets. The same main pattern can be distinguished, splitting the evolution of the market in three periods: decline (2008-2010), recovery (2010-2013) and growth (2013-2017).

The weight of each country in the whole region was constant over years. The biggest contribution to the gross written premiums (GWP) belongs to Lithuania (39-44% share), followed by Latvia (24-35%) and Estonia (23-37%). Their different share in the region's business volume is in most part in line with the differences in size of the countries.

While Lithuania maintained a rather constant contribution to the regional GWP, Estonia and Latvia saw a more "eventful" evolution, mostly determined by the companies' reorganization process in search of increased financial efficiency. Thus, many companies operating on all three markets through local subsidiaries have decided to merge them into one company domiciled in one of three markets and operate in the other two by local branches. In most cases, Estonia was chosen as home market. Thus, although in fact the said companies have continued their regular operations, their results were consolidated and statistically registered in the company's new home market.

The Baltics recorded overall a positive evolution on each business line, judging by the final year results (2017) compared to the first one (2008). The whole market increased in gross written premiums by EUR 438 million (+30.7%). The life insurance premiums added a value of EUR 138 million (+41.9%) while non-life premiums EUR 300 million (+27.3%). Year 2013 was the year when all countries started to take off and kept a continuous growing trend up until the end year, 2017.

The claims' level has also raised in volume, following a similar trend to the GWP one, but at a lower value, around half of the GWP' volume. The only main insurance line where the claims level in 2017 remained under the 2008 one was motor hull insurance, which recorded EUR 6 million less (-2.8%) by the end of the period.

The structure of the market is mostly composed from non-life insurance. Non-life insurance keeps around 66-77% from the whole market while life insurance goes for about 23-34% share.

The highest popularity of life insurance can be found in Lithuania (27-37% from the whole Lithuanian market) while the lowest share of life insurance in market can be seen in Latvia (10-23%). It is worth mentioning that, Estonia recorded during 2010 the highest share of life insurance in overall market by 42,9%.

Year 2010 was generally the peak of life insurance in all Baltic countries, when life business flourished after year-by-year increases. The years that followed allowed the Baltic market to calibrate itself and keep a steady structure of the overall market portfolio.

The non-life sector in Baltics can be plainly described as 25% MTPL, 25% motor hull, 20% property insurance and 30% other non-life lines. The sector hardly recovered after the 2008 drop, non-life being the sector which dragged down the whole market during 2008-2010, when the motor classes downsized by EUR 338 million (-30.8%) in 2010 compared to 2008. Fortunately, the life insurance expansion counterbalanced this negative evolution.

Non-life sector started to really establish its portfolio structure beginning with 2011. Latvia has one of the most diversified non-life portfolios, with an average composition of 13% MTPL, 21% motor hull and 19% property, leaving the rest of almost a half to be assigned to other non-life branches.

MTPL in the overall Baltic market keeps itself quietly under 20%. This business line recorded the highest market share in year 2008 (representing 21.6% of the whole Baltic market), slowly decreasing afterwards year by year, recording then a small increase in market weight in the final two years (2016 and 2017).