It is thanks to the broad diversity of the VIG Group and the strong start to 2020 that we were able to record an increase in premiums of 2.4% in the first half of 2020 and a profit before taxes of 200 million euro. Operationally, we currently see ourselves in a position to manage the effects of COVID-19 for the insurance group. [...] We are cautiously optimistic as the forecasts expect a strong recovery of economic activity between Austria and the CEE region in 2021.
It is up to the EU institutions to ensure an appropriate regulatory framework is in place that enables innovation and allows consumers, established companies and new market entrants, such as InsurTechs, to benefit from the opportunities that digitalisation can offer.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic situation, the financial performance of the insurance sector in Kosovo remained stable in the face of declining premium income and renewable contracts. (...) Nevertheless, during the first half of 2020, the insurance market registered a profit of EUR 5.7 million, a welcomed improvement from a loss of EUR 3.7 million recorded in the same period of last year.
I am glad to say that our insurers reacted quickly and continued their daily business despite new circumstances. Issuing of MTPL insurance policies and vehicle registrations were conducted smoothly during the whole period. These two facts are very important for keeping the market stability, considering the fact that compulsory insurance is still dominant in the premium structure of the whole market.
InsurTech and Digitalization are here to stay - however there is still room for improvement. Digital solutions must add real value to customers and need to be more than just replacing formerly analogue processes. The InsurTechs were certainly the trigger for more innovation in our industry.
This crisis showed that systems are now more crucial than ever in running the businesses and making sure they are adapting to the digital era we are witnessing. The Albanian market remained fully operational, working at reduced staff capacity, thanks to the remote style of working during the lockdown, and focused more on their online sales.
I think the lesson learned will be that there shouldn't exist a delay in following and adapting to new trends and changes, which means that market participants will have to change and adapt their business models, adopt new technologies, apply digital tools and encourage a culture of change in its operations (...)
Belarus Re is constantly working on portfolio diversification. In 2019, the portfolio geography was significantly expanded thanks to participation in risks from Latin America. Belarus Re has also strengthened its position on the markets of the Middle East and India.
For the first time in our history, we exceeded the 10 billion EUR premium limit and gained 10.4 billion EUR. We generated more than a half billion profit before taxes (522 million EUR), our net profit jumped by 23% to 331 million EUR and we improved our combined ratio strongly to 95.4 %. We are convinced that after the crisis, economic growth in the CEE region will again be stronger than in Western Europe.
We will continue to follow our growth strategy which is focused on turning EUROINS Insurance Group into one of the leading independent insurance groups in CEE and SEE as well as in the CIS countries. I believe that in future we will see more regionally-oriented insurance groups that will possess a better and more in-depth view over the concrete market they operate in. In this context, I think that EIG is well positioned in the current changing environment.
The Institutes are well-respected and widely known throughout the world. Although our content is aligned with the US insurance market — the largest p/c insurance market in the world — most of the content can be applied to any insurance market. We have established a proven track record for offering current, trending, and practical, cost-effective knowledge solutions in an easy to understand format.
We aim to be known as the first global brand emerging from the Istanbul International Financial Center. This requires Turk Reasurans to be a global actor competing in international reinsurance markets, moving beyond being an institution providing reinsurance capacity only within Turkey. Turk Reasurans has empowered Turkish reinsurance companies in terms of cost management and has enhanced their negotiating power with the strong reinsurance capacity it provides domestically and will provide in greater volumes in the upcoming years.
The insurance sector maintains its growth potential with its strong legislative infrastructure, qualified and well-educated human resources, and experience in the face of economic crises, technological infrastructure and knowledge.