Back to

XPRIMM News No. 110 - June 19th, 2008

No. 110, June 19th, 2008
Click here to subscribe!
Click here to unsubscribe!
Powered by Media XPRIMM

Profit and Loss

A client is less interested weather his insurance company records loss or profit. An insurance customer has two wishes: a good price for his insurance and a promptly claim service. The mentioned two aspects are exactly the one that could be affected once the strategic orientation of the Romanian companies through profitability.

It's obviously that each insurance company is responsible for its market policy. But the strategies applied till now for each company conducted to a loss of EUR 75 million during the past year for the market aggregate.

In those terms what is to be done for the insurance companies to avoid the losses? The first measure and the simplest and obvious one: increasing the prices. But we are wondering how high the insurance companies can raise premium prices? Taking into consideration that Romanian customer does not understand too much the insurance phenomenon and the price is the main criteria that prevails in his decision to choose the insurer.

A second measure would be cutting costs and a careful examination of the claim service. A difficult way, if we take into consideration that the motor repair shops are inflexible when talking about reducing their tariffs. Also, an attentive examination of the claims might increase the resolving time of each case which might conduct to customer dissatisfaction.

Yes, indeed, profit or loss strategy belongs to each company decision but, when the minus goes down with EUR 55 million in one year there is a sign that the companies are supposed to do something about it.

by Alex ROSCA

sus up

BCR Asigurari de Viata




Interview with Mr. Emmanuel CLARKE
Head of Property & Casualty

XPRIMM: Do you think the reinsurance market is going to turn soft as estimations for 2008 indicate a drop in reinsurance rates?
Emmanuel CLARKE:
It is no secret that reinsurance prices follow cycles created mainly by supply and demand forces. While demand for reinsurance remains strong at present, reinsurance capacity continues to grow, shifting further towards stronger supply. That being said, the reinsurance cycle depends heavily on what happens with the primary insurance cycle. On the direct side, and especially in the commercial and industrial lines, we currently see a further reduction in original rates (while policy forms and deductibles are still holding at reasonable levels). This means margins are getting slimmer for both insurers and reinsurers. Every market and every line of business is at a different point in time in the cycle curve. Every professional player - insurer and reinsurer alike - must assess whether risk appetite is commensurate with return. At PartnerRe, we analyze every case on its own, looking at exposure growth, loss trends and primary rates movements in order to assess a fair return for each reinsurance solution.

XPRIMM: How was the renewal season for PartnerRe in this region? How do you see the major development of the re/-insurance markets in CEE and CIS region?
E. C.:
The insurance markets in Central European and CIS regions are extremely dynamic. In terms of our January 2008 renewals, we were pleased to be able to expand our footprint in these regions which are very important for us. Looking forward, we see the compounding effect of economic growth and increasing insurance penetration. Risk awareness is developing, values keep growing and concentrating and people and organizations are keener to protect themselves against natural and man-made perils. One concern is that this is a market with very significant peak risks, from industrial and energy sectors, that trigger high volatility for insurers and reinsurers. Yet, the premium base from the market at large is not yet sufficient to bring the right balance to these peaks; this makes it challenging to develop non-proportional reinsurance solutions with a mutual interest to both reinsurance buyers and sellers. Lastly, this is a market which will probably undergo significant concentration in order to bring scale, balance and diversification to the key players.

XPRIMM: Taking into consideration the opportunities, what plans has PartnerRe made for this region in 2008?
E. C.:
PartnerRe is already very active in this region. We have dedicated regional teams that know the markets and players very well. Our approach to the market is to develop solid and partnering relationships with selected companies that are willing to work with us to share data and information in order to form a mutually transparent and beneficial relationship. PartnerRe can then offer substantial capacity at excellent security as well as expertise in all lines of business.

XPRIMM: What are the major opportunities and threats of the Romanian insurance market one year after joining EU?
E. C.:
The opportunities are plenty: penetration growth compounded with economic dynamism, product development and sophistication, EU accession and its related implications. In this period of dynamic development, one of the key challenges for market participants is to stay on the right track with respect to risk management and return expectations. Risk management policies and approaches will have to be developed to accompany and support this dynamic growth.

XPRIMM: What is the PartnerRe strategy in Romania in 2008?
E. C.:
Our strategy in Romania is consistent with our approach to all markets: provide adequate risk solutions to our clients through solid relationships based on mutual transparency and interest. We have high quality relationships in Romania and want to foster them to further enhance our partnerships through close cooperation on technical issues.

XPRIMM: What are your expectations regarding the reinsurance demand in Romania for this year and for which lines of business do you think this demand would increase?
E. C.:
Romania is a Cat-prone market. With the expected growth in insurance penetration and values, we can expect further concentration of Cat exposures in certain peak zones. This will of course continue to stimulate demand for reinsurance. Additionally, the development of motor insurance, for instance, makes many companies think twice about how much exposure to potential variations in loss frequency they wish to retain. This is a sound risk management question to address and an area where we see further demand.

by Andreea IONETE

sus up

Emmanuel CLARKE
Mr. Emmanuel CLARKE
Head of Property & Casualty


Romanian insurance market had the fasted growth in Europe
Insurance market in Romania recorded the fastest growth in the entire Europe in 2007, exceeding other significant markets in the region, such as Poland. With a growth rate of 33% in euro, the local insurance market had the fastest dynamic of the 33 member states of CEA - Comite Europeen des Assurances, according to a report published recently by the institution.
Click here to read more!
by, 17.06.2008

EU clears insurance transaction between VIENNA Insurance and ERSTE with conditions
VIENNA Insurance Group (VIG) won permission from the European Commission to buy all the insurance operations of ERSTE Bank in Central and Eastern Europe, subject to divestment of insurance company UNITA, in Romania, and of the minority stake held at Bank Austria Creditanstalt (BA-CA) in Austria.
Click here to read more!
by, 17.06.2008

Mandatory households insurance law, to be voted this year
The draft law on mandatory insurance of households will be voted by the Chamber of Deputies this year.
"We have both the amending of the Law no. 32/2000 with refer to harmonization with the European Directives and the enacting of the law on households mandatory insurance on this legislature agenda", Aurel GUBANDRU, President of the Commission for Budget, Finance and Banks from the Chamber of Deputies at the regional seminar organized by ISC - Insurance Supervisory Commission in Romania.
Click here to read more!
by, 13.06.2008

Solvency II - strategic project for ISC
As the implementation of Solvency II, during 2007-2011, represents a strategic objective for the Insurance Supervisory Commission, the Romanian authority hosted last week the first regional seminar dedicated to the application of this important European project.
Click here to read more!
by, 13.06.2008

ING fined with RON 1.4 million for outsourcing investments of pension funds
Companies ING Asigurari de Viata and ING Fond de Pensii have been fined yesterday by the supervisory body, CSSPP, with RON 1.385 million (EUR 380,000), namely 0.5% of the cumulated share capital of the two companies, for outsourcing the asset management operations for their three pension funds (two voluntary and one mandatory). It is the first time ever given by CSSPP, making it the most severe sanction on private pensions market so far.
Click here to read more!
by, 18.06.2008

Top returns by voluntary pension funds in the first year of operation
Romania's voluntary pension funds (3rd pillar) have had quite different returns during their first year of operation, according to some research by, based on data by the depository bank (BRD) and the supervisory body (CSSPP). The four 3rd pillar funds launched in May/June last year returned between 1.4% and 11.5%, depending on their investment and cost (fees) strategy.
Click here to read more!
by, 06.06.2008

SIGNAL Iduna officially enters the Romanian market
The SIGNAL Iduna Life Insurance Company has received during the past week the final functioning authorization from The Insurance Supervisory Commission. "Romania offers interesting development opportunities, taking into consideration the Romanian insurance market's potential, especially in our specialization field, the private health insurance sector found in incipient advancement in our country", Mrs. Sinziana MAIOREANU, SIGNAL Iduna Asigurari de Viata Business Development Director, has stated.
Click here to read more!
by, 16.06.2008

Is CARPATICA Asig for sale?
The CARPATICA Asig shareholders have received various acquisition offers from some foreign investors, but they haven't reached a decision yet in respect of selling the company.
Click here to read more!
by, 16.06.2008

AEGON, closer to the Romanian market
AEGON Asigurari de Viata has received the registration certificate from the National Office of Commerce at the end of May. Also, the insurer won the initial constitution notice by the Insurance Supervisory Commission, thus remaining to submit, soon, according to market sources, the final file for the final authorization.
Click here to read more!
by, 10.06.2008

AVIVA Asigurari de Viata: growing 10% above market average
AVIVA Asigurari de Viata, ranking seventh among the Romanian life insurance companies, aims to overcome with 10% the growth pace of this market in 2008, according to Shah ROUF, CEO of AVIVA Group in Romania. As the average growth of the life insurance market is estimated at 25% in 2008, AVIVA has a growth target of 35% (up to about EUR 34 million), identical to that of last year.
Click here to read more!
by, 12.06.2008

Top debtor companies at public pensions budget at the end of March
A number of 82,448 small and medium sized companies and 186 large companies are registered with arrears to the public pensions' budget of Romania, according to data recently published by the Ministry of Finance. Their arrears spread from a few hundred euros to several hundred million euros, with the biggest debtors being large state-owned companies, black holes of the economy.
Click here to read more!
by, 09.06.2008

CSSPP: Another 2-3 mandatory pension funds will exit the market by the end of this year
Another 2-3 mandatory pension funds (2nd pillar) will exit the market by the end of this year, through mergers and acquisitions, said Mircea OANCEA, president of CSSPP (Romania's private pensions market supervisory authority), to
Click here to read more!
by, 11.06.2008

Prototype of voluntary pension client in Romania
Woman, aged 35-39, working on the financial market and living in Bucharest: this is the typical customer of voluntary pension products (3rd pillar) in Romania, according to data published by CSSPP.
Click here to read more!
by, 06.06.2008

BT AEGON: EUR 4 million share capital increase, replacing CEO
Mandatory private pension company BT AEGON, ranking seventh on the 2nd pillar market by the number of participants attracted to its fund, will increase its current share capital with EUR 4 million, thus reaching about EUR 17 million, in order to sustain its operational activity.
Click here to read more!
by, 17.06.2008

AXA PPP Health Care comes in Romania
AXA PPP Health Care, one of the most important private health insurance providers in Great Britain is going to operate on the Romanian market starting the second half of this year. The company has already notified The Insurance Supervisory Commission in our country about their intention of entering Romania's profile market in the virtue of the right to free services circulation.
Click here to read more!
by, 11.06.2008

sus up


The World Bank suggests Bulgaria be part of a regional catastrophe insurance pool
The World Bank experts believe that Bulgaria has already matured and is now ready to introduce the program management of catastrophic risk insurance. Also, the World Bank suggests Bulgaria be part of a regional catastrophe insurance pool, together with Romania, Macedonia, Serbia and Albania. This announcement was made recently, during a workshop in Borovets by the World Bank's top expert in catastrophic insurance risks - Eugene GURENKO.
According to the expert, the establishment of tailored catastrophe insurance pools proves to be an ineffective practice for small countries such as Bulgaria. It is better and more effective to establish a regional catastrophe insurance pool covering some 10-15 countries and several risks such as earthquake, floods and landslides. Under this approach, insurance is provided not only to homes of individuals, but also to small and medium-sized enterprises and their property. The approach applied in this case can be described as "semi-compulsory" insurance, as the government undertakes the task to encourage people to get insured. The program is managed by local insurance companies, selected in tender by the World Bank, and its seat of headquarters is in Switzerland.
Bulgaria and the Balkans peninsula is the second strongest earthquake zone on the earth (after Japan and the Kamchatka Peninsula). The economic losses following up earthquake in Sofia only would amount to EUR 5 billion. At the same time only 6-7 houses out of 100 are insured in Bulgaria, which reveals an extremely low penetration rate.
According to Florian FICHTL, Country Manager of the World Bank for Bulgaria, a strong earthquake would cost Bulgaria 18% of its GDP or half of the annual state budget.
At the same time, scientific evidence indicates that the occurrence of medium to strong earthquake is inevitable in the next few decades.
This regional catastrophe insurance pool proposed by World Bank's expert is already under construction "it is for the Bulgarian government to decide whether it will join the regional facility or will create a national pool", GURENKO said.
If it decides to join the regional program, the government must commit to participate as a shareholder and to regulate this by law. The price of such insurance policy cannot be specified exactly at this stage of the regional catastrophe insurance pool, but according to gross estimates the compensation would be approximately EUR 50,000, the annual insurance contribution would be between EUR 20 and EUR 30, depending on each building's profile and characteristics - old, new, brick, wood, etc.
by, 10.06.2008

ERGO enters the Belarussian market
International insurance ERGO has purchased a 60% stake in the Belarussian insurer BASO. ERGO Lietuva (Lithuania) and ERGO Kindlustuse (Estonia), members of ERGO Group, acquired a 20% interest each, and ERGO International bought the rest 20%, according to RP Newsline.
ERGO Group became the shareholder of BASO in 2007, after purchasing a 1% stake in it, and raised its share to 60% in January, 2008, the company explained.
The company's top-management did not change, and Augustas SERNIUS, former advisor to the CEO of ERGO Lietuva, joined its board, a source at BASO said.
BASO specializes in non-life insurance. In January-March 2008 it ranked 14th among 18 insurers operating in the Belarussian non-life market. In the reporting period the insurer wrote EUR 10,000 in premiums and paid EUR 102,000 in claims. BASO's equity totaled EUR 1.3 million, including nearly EUR 0.7 million in money terms.
MUNICH Re is its majority shareholder of ERGO, with a 94.7% share. ERGO Group is present in 22 European markets and has 33 million customers in Europe. In 2007 premium of ERGO came to EUR 17.4 billion. The international operations premium amounted to EUR 3.8 billion, accounting for 22% of the group's total premium., 10.06.2008

Russian life market - a priority for AVIVA
The Russian life insurance market is among key for AVIVA, due to high GDP per capita and low penetration of life products, the British insurer reported in May. AVIVA estimates the potential of the Russian market at US 6-7 billion.
In Russia, AVIVA is represented by its subsidiary AVIVA, which started operations in 2006. In Q1 2008, AVIVA generated EUR 10.1 million in premiums, over a tenfold increase compared with the same period of the previous year, and paid out EUR 0.36 million in claims, eight times up from January-March 2007. In Q1 2007, AVIVA's gross written premiums totaled EUR 0.99 million and losses settled amounted to 43 thousands.
"In less than two years, AVIVA became third largest foreign player of the Russian market and ranked fifth among Russian life insurers. The company's market share rose from 0.82% in 2007 to 5.1% in Q1 2008 and the number of clients exceeded 700,000", Andrew MOSS, CEO, AVIVA Group, noted.
MOSS pointed out that the development of the international business is one of AVIVA's priority goals. Presently, operations outside Great Britain account for 60% of AVIVA's business. Notable, the group shows the keenest interest in the BRIC countries (especially Russia, India and China).
On the Russian market, the company focuses on corporate insurance services, including voluntary pension programs, corporate workers' compensation insurance, life bancassurance, as well as private endowment life and accident insurance.
AVIVA specializes in long-term life, non-life insurance and asset management. In 2007, its total written premiums and investments reached EUR 54.3 billion. As of March 31, 2008, assets under AVIVA's management came to EUR 491 billion.
by RP newsline, 2.06.2007

New players on the Ukrainian medical insurance market
Israel-based insurer PHOENIX, the second company on the medical insurance market, has purchased 50% plus one share of the Ukrainian insurer INTERTRANSPOLIS from MIDLAND. The initial investment comes to USD 12 million, according to RP Newsline.
The rest 50% of the shares will control MIDLAND. The companies will jointly make future investments in equal shares in the venture as needed for its development. A joint board of directors will take strategic decisions.
This will be the first acquisition for the PHOENIX outside the country, after the initiative for purchasing the Romanian company ABC in 2007 has failed.
PHOENIX considers that the medical insurance market in Ukraine is developing and has a great potential for growth. The company tried in the previous year to establish a company specializing in this class, but the negotiations conducted with local company ORANTA gave no results.
Established in 2001, InterTransPolis writes non-life insurance to individuals and companies, providing motor, property, mortgage, health and traveler's insurance. In January-September 2007 the company generated EUR 2.8 million and paid out EUR 1 million.
PHOENIX Insurance Company is controlled by DELEK Investments & Properties, DELEK Capital, Mayer's Cars & Trucks in proportion of 79.76% of the shares and the rest 24% is owned by several minority shareholders.
In 2007, the company wrote premiums of USD 813 million, with a profit of USD 123.2 million.
by, 10.06.2008

UNIQA eyes top of Bulgarian insurance market
The Bulgarian unit of Austrian insurance group UNIQA is targeting the first place on the local life insurance market by the end of 2008, and the third spot on the general insurance segment, the company said during a presentation of its performance in 2007 and the first quarter of this year, according to
The Bulgarian unit of the company ranked as the nation's 7th biggest general insurer and 3rd biggest life insurer at the end of 2007.
The general and life insurance arms of the company combined for a premium income of EUR 60.3 million last year, up 44% over 2006. The life insurance premiums added up to EUR 15.3 million, up 94% year-on-year, while the general insurance premiums gained 32% to EUR 45 million. Net profit came to EUR 347.5 thousands, rising 43% year-on-year.
Austrian-based UNIQA reported total premiums of EUR 1.6 billion in Q1/2008, up to 13,4% compared to similar period a year ago.
The biggest increase was recorded in Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, where the insurer collected gross premiums of EUR 288 million, a raise by 53.2% and holds a share of 17.6% in total premiums.
UNIQA operates on the markets of Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Serbia, Ukraine, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Bulgaria and is present in Romania since 2005, when he bought a stake in ASTRA Insurance. Recently, the Austrian group announced its intention to buy from VIENNA Insurance Group 100% of the shares of Romanian insurance company UNITA.
by, 18.06.2008

VIG to invest EUR 50 million in Serbia
Insurance company WIENER Stadtische Serbia, part of leading VIENNA Insurance Group (VIG), plans to invest EUR 50 million in Serbia for development of operations by the year 2011, said company's representatives, according to
Some EUR 42 million will be used for achieving new headquarters in Novi Beograd, member of the Managing Board of WIENER Stadtische Christoph RAT said. The insurer also plans to invest another EUR 5 million in setting up a reinsurance company in Serbia.
WIENER Stadtische has entered the Serbian market in 2003, by founding a daughter company Wiener Stadtische Osiguranje Beograd. The company achieved the 4th place on the local insurance market, and is the No. 1 insurance company in life insurance. Growth rate of the gross written insurance premium amounted to 48.54% in 2007 and the number of signed insurance contracts were also increased by 86.6%.
WIENER Stadtische Serbia expects a 40% growth in premiums this year, to EUR 58 million, Managing Board President Branko KRSTONOSIC said.
VIENNA Insurance Group reported a total amount of written premiums for the CEE region at EUR 1.020 billion (44.1% of the group's premium), a 35.7% increase in comparison with Q1/2007. Life premium totaled EUR 259 million, up 43.8% while non-life premium amounted to EUR 761 million, a 33.2% increase. The group's profits (before taxes) came to EUR 44 million, a growth of 25.9%.
by, 19.06.2008

sus up


IMF to improve estimates on Romania's growth
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) plans to revise estimates regarding Romania's economic growth for 2008. The decision is based on an 8.2 percent advance of gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter.
The new forecast will include strong growth for 2008, but the IMF estimates slower growth for 2009.
The 8.2 percent growth, exceeding specialist estimates, caused concerns of economic overheating, given the country's wide current account deficit and higher inflation.
In April, the international institution was estimating 5.4 percent economic growth for 2008, lower than the 6 percent GDP advance in 2007. For 2009, the growth estimate was 4.7 percent.
by Business Standard, 11.06.2008

Romania ranks first in CEE in attracting foreign investments in 2007
Romania attracted the largest amount of foreign investments in all Central and Eastern Europe in 2007, a report issued by Ernst & Young indicates. The 150 projects opened last year led to the creation of 12,464 new jobs. The number of projects represents a 7%, compared to 2006 and adds up to 4% of all projects implemented in Europe.
The countries with the largest number of new projects were the United Kingdom (713), followed by France (541), Germany (305), Spain (256) and Belgium (175).
In new job opening, Romania ranks third in Central and Eastern Europe, after Poland (18,399) and the Czech Republic (15,102), and sixth in Europe, where UK leads once again, with 24,186 new jobs. The second and third places are taken by Russia (14,934) and France (14,488).
Most new jobs in Romania were created in industry (91%), over half of it being in the car building industry.
Romania also ranks fifth in Europe in the top of foreign investors' preference for expanding operations. 10% of the main foreign companies intend to invest in Romania. The first places in the top are Poland (18%), Germany (16%), Russia (12%) and France (11%).
by, 16.06.2008

ARIS investments to focus on northeastern region
The Romanian Agency for Foreign Investments (ARIS) will focus future investments in Romania on the northeastern region (Satu Mare and Maramures Counties), said ARIS Vice President, Monica BARBULETIU.
"This area has a great potential from the workforce point of view, available land and infrastructure development. Likewise, it is very attractive for foreign investors due to its proximity to the border [Ed. n.: Ukraine]", said Monica BARBULETIU.
Monica BARBULETIU added that the most attractive areas for foreign investors are near highways. The Moldavian region is least favored, because local authorities have not cooperated to find possible investment spots. According to ARIS Vice President, some eight Ford suppliers will invest a total EUR 200 million in Romania this year, following Ford's takeover of Automobile Craiova.
by Business Standard, 12.06.2008

World Bank: Romania and Hungary to witness economic growth this year
World Bank experts estimate that Romania and Hungary will register a significant economic growth this year, unlike other European Union states that joined the EU in 2004 and 2007. The increase will not be felt in Bulgaria and Poland, the EU 10 report set up by World Bank experts' shows, quoted by MEDIAFAX.
The report reads that Romania registered an economic growth of 6% in 2007 and for 2008 experts argues that a 7.5% increase will be felt. Moreover, Reuters considers that Romania will have a good estimate of agricultural products.
by, 10.06.2008

Finance minister announces 20 billion EUR investments in infrastructure
The Government will allocate during the next five years a total of 20 billion EUR for roads and railroads infrastructure development, said Economy and Finance Minister Varujan VOSGANIAN on Thursday, arguing that the infrastructure should become a priority for the economy. Varujan VOSGANIAN denied that the announcement may have anything to do with 2008 being an electoral year and says he can not explain why similar investments were not made in the past years.
The 20 billion EUR announced as potential investment represent the "minimum offer" of the Finance Ministry for the central and the local administration. The Government will soon demand County Councils to present their running or planned infrastructure projects.
by, 12.06.2008

sus up




8th Yalta International Forum
September 15th-19th, 2008
Yalta, Ukraine
Organizer: The League of Insurance Organizations of Ukraine
Media Partner: PRIMM Magazine - Insurance&Pensions

Life Insurance Securitisation Conference
September 17th-18th, 2008
London, Great Britain
Organizer: JACOB FLEMING Conferences
Media Partner: PRIMM Magazine - Insurance&Pensions

Achieving Excellence in Insurance Sector in Russia and CIS
September 18th-19th, 2008
Moscow, Russia
Organizer: Jacob FLEMING Conferences
Media Partner: PRIMM Magazine - Insurance&Pensions

"Joining Forces to Raise Your Game" - The Future of Bancassurance, Assurbanking & the Affinity Business
September 25th-26th, 2008
Prague, Czech Republic
Organizer: UNIGLOBAL Research
Media Partner: PRIMM Magazine - Insurance&Pensions

sus up

XPRIMM Newsletters


President: Sergiu COSTACHE CEO: Adriana PANCIU
Business Development Director: Alexandru D. CIUNCAN

Editor in Chief: Mihaela CIRCU
Scientific Advisor: Daniela GHETU
International Column Coordinator: Andreea IONETE
Private Pensions Coordinator: Mihai BOBOCEA
Senior Editors: Vlad PANCIU, Oleg DORONCEANU
Editors: Vlad BOLDIJAR, Oana NECULA
Web Responsible: Costi BORODA

General Secretary: Lidia POP

Accounts Manager: Georgiana OPREA
IT Department: Octavian GRIGOR, Dorin PALADE

Edition Responsible: Costi BORODA


Reproduction or use without permission of editorial or graphic content, in any manner, is prohibited. The Editorial Staff is not responsible for the truthfulness or the accuracy of the presented data. The Editorial Staff has the right to present the data in it's own manner. In what concerns the use, in any manner, of the information contained in this e-mail, Romanian laws apply.

Copyright©2008 MEDIA XPRIMM

XPRIMM News - The Romanian Insurance Market Newsletter is best viewed with an active Internet connection.
Click here to subscribe!

Click here to unsubscribe!