No. 80, March 22nd, 2007

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FIAR 2007 - International Insurance - Reinsurance Forum


NEW! Romanian Insurance Market Figures from 2006 available on-line!

The quarterly industry review Insurance PROFILE has enclosed its first edition from the current year. Thus, in about one week its readers will be able to analyze, for the first time, the complete PRELIMINARY ROMANIAN INSURANCE MARKET RESULTS.

The well-known publication OFFERS now the INSTANT ON-LINE ACCESS to its electronic edition and to the Romanian Insurance Market 2006 figures before issuing the printed edition.

Thus, till the 31st of March 2007, everyone who will choose to download the 1st issue from the current year of Insurance PROFILE from the publication web-address: www.insuranceprofile.ro will benefit of EUR 50 discount.

Everyone who will choose to benefit from the current offer will pay just EUR 49 instead of EUR 99 and will get, in a few minutes, instant access to the complete Romanian insurance market figures from 2006.

The first current issue of Insurance PROFILE grants access to the following information:

- ROMANIAN INSURANCE AND INSURANCE MEDIATION financial figures ranked by GWP and Market Share.

The 52 pages of the magazine are including charts, analysis and tables 12 pages being dedicated entirely to the Romanian Insurance Mediation market.

Also, the online payments service provided by www.insuranceprofile.ro in partnership with DotCommerce Romania, the leader of online payments from Romania, are offering in a secure environment, the highest guarantee of your online payments.

by alexandra.sandulescu@mxp.ro

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2006 – The year of smooth changes

We are facing the first global evaluations of the year 2006, on the preliminary insurers' and brokers' results. Though the figures have not been audited yet and though here and there the lack of information has obliged us to try a series of estimations, the overview highlighted in the magazine's pages is relevant enough for drawing conclusions.

2006 was at least an apparently calm year for Romanian insurances. The market kept its growing rhythm from the last few years; the insurance brokers' role is also increasing. If life insurances have confirmed the limited tendency visible even from the beginning of the year, the motor insurance lines, especially motor hull, have continued to be the determined engine of the market's ascension. The new, unified structure's implementation of the motor third party liability insurances and Green Card policy was smooth, while for health insurances 2006 hasn't brought the necessary methodological clarifications. The entering in force of a national dwelling insurance program against catastrophic phenomena, announced for the end of 2006, was also postponed.

Although the above lines might create the impression that 2006 was a year without events, the financial data of the insurance market will reveal that the reality is slightly different. 2006 brought substantial modifications in the markets' hierarchy and a subtle change of strategies and portfolios' politic for some companies. The new signs of the new underwriting motor insurances' approach appeared under the pressure generated by the concern of the continuous increase of the volume of damages. New names entered the market, either through acquisitions or Greenfield operations which started in 2006. Inside the groups, portfolios' reorganization took place. Insurers are more and more interested in collaborating with banks, bancassurance operations gaining an important weight.

Along the entire year we tried to offer a plus of information, available now also on-line at www.insuranceprofile.ro beside the whole magazine's archives.
The first number is not an exception, revealing, as a premiere, the number of sold policies by the insurance companies and individually the private health insurances' results.

So, we invite you to be the first to draw conclusions...
Untill the 31st of March 2007, everyone who will choose to download the 1st issue from the current year of Insurance PROFILE from the publication web-address: www.insuranceprofile.ro will benefit of EUR 50 discount.

by daniela.ghetu@mxp.ro

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BCR Asigurari de Viata
Club ARO
The Money Channel


Interview with Mr. Stefan PRIGOREANU,
Member of the Council,
The Private Pension System Supervisory Commission

XPRIMM: What is the latest news regarding the authorization process for the 3rd Pillar? Which do you consider to be the reason for the operators' shown indolence?
Indeed, the authorization process does not have the estimated effervescence, but I am convinced that this is due to the requirements' complexity in the legal framework. From our information there are a lot of requests addressed to the Insurance Supervisory Commission in regard of administrating a private pension fund. I consider this dispassion is just an external matter, as we can imagine the quiet surface of the sea, though deep under its waking life. Most of the companies are preparing their authorization files, which are really thick. As a matter of fact, the elaboration of these files involves a lot of work before they are sent to the Commission.
Law no. 23/2007 regarding the 3rd Pillar has changed many data in the operators' business plans for the private pensions market. Many of them thought they will set up a company which will manage both compulsory private pension funds from the 2nd Pillar and the voluntary schemes from the 3rd Pillar, but the Law no. 23/2007 does not accept this situation, even though there are some provisions which might be considered as interpretable. Even more, the Law contains other changes over some financial matters, like the management expenses which are now the administrators' responsibility, as well as the alteration of commissions' quantum.
This is where the coordination between all entities involved interferes. For example, when asking for the authorization request companies must have a depository contract project but, at this moment, we only have one depositary bank. Therefore, the administrators can not be authorized if their partners for this business, the depositary bank and the auditor, haven't been authorized at their turn.
I would conclude saying this process is not by far as simple as it can seem at first sight and it's natural to take a long period of time. It is likely that this period when all those involved analyze their plans over, negotiate partnerships, prepare the documentation will be followed by a big amount of authorization requests.

XPRIMM: If the final decision will provide that the operators must set up different companies for the two pillars, can't this situation call forth to give up the 3rd Pillar?
I am convinced this will not happen. Until this moment, there are six to eight insurance companies that have applied for changing their activity description. Consequently, their interest in voluntary private pensions still maintains. This is emphasized, in my opinion, by the UE accession which highlights a favorable growth perspective for this segment. Accordingly, I must say that after discussions I had with different employers I came to the conclusion that a great part of them took into consideration a wage growth of 10-30 per cent for 2007. I know this trend will maintain so that it will be a lot easier for employees to redirect an amount of 15 per cent of the gross income to a voluntary private pension product.
Another aspect worth mentioned is the rise of the education level among consumers regarding this matter. Many clients who have a pure endowment insurance policy think they have a private pension, because their consultant said so when they bought the product. The difference is big only if we take into consideration the fiscal aspects such as deductibility or the fact that, as a client, you can not change your life insurer without bringing on high financial penalization. In the private pensions' case, one can turn very easy to a much better and efficient pension fund.

XPRIMM: There are discussion about the selling force professionalism and how this aspect influences the private pensions' activity and the healthy development of the market. What has been done until now in this matter?
From this point of view, I suppose CSSPP (The Private Pension System Supervisory Commission) managed to go ahead the other supervisory institutions, as the set up of a special data base for the marketing agents. Thus, we will know who is selling pensions and, more important for supervision, we can always find who sell a certain pension. The Commission drafted a project for a training program designed in order to support the marketing agents' trainers. There already exist institutions which could settle down these programs, as The Insurance College, The Economic Studies Academy and others, but the lecture base must be initially authorized by the CSSPP. We consider that basic conceptions of the legislation in the private pension system have to be included in the training program for the agents to know to explain correctly how the system functions and what are the advantages of buying a pension. It is, however, in every pension administrators' interest to have a capable and professional selling force.

XPRIMM: In this moment, the basic legislation needed for the private pensions' activity is completed. Now it only has to embrace the secondary legislation for the second Pillar and we can say that this system is ready for work. What are the last steps left to be made and what is the most likely calendar for these actions, according to the CSSPP?
We work very hard. We have already posted three norms on our website and until May we will set up the other norms. Between June and September it will take place the authorization process, the next four months, from October to January 2008, the participants will choose the pension funds and the following two months are dedicated to redistribution of the individuals who did not choose by that moment a second Pillar fund.
I personally estimate that, by 1st of March 2008 we would have the first contributions, more or less three months, as elections or other political pressures might cumber the implementation of the private pension system. I am optimistic, as people as well as the operators are waiting for this system, the political or social events being the only interference which might affect the implementation process.

XPRIMM: How can the services liberalization in the European Union influence the settlement of the private pension market in Romania?
I would say it will have a positive effect. It is just a matter of time until the European companies will notify the Commission for starting operations on the Romanian market. I think the diversity and the presence of some very good players can only be benefic, making national operators to build modern and competitive pension products

XPRIMM: Thank you!

by liviu.huluta@mxp.ro

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Member of the Council,
The Private Pension System Supervisory Commission


Inflation rate decreases to 3.81%
Romania's year-round inflation rate dropped to 3.81% from 4.01% by end of January, according to the latest National Statistics Institute (INS) data. In February, inflation stood at 0.04%, up from 0.02% in January. According to the INS, there was no sensible rise of prices in February, compared to the previous months.
Food products that reported the highest price rises (over 1%) are vegetables and sugar, with prices going down most for eggs, meat and canned meat.
Non-food products that grew more expensive are tobacco and cigarettes (+1.2%), other non-food goods and chemical products, while prices decreased for fuel (-1.2%), pharmaceuticals (-0.6%), sports and cultural products (-0.2%).
Services prices reported a 0.4% growth based mainly on higher water, sewage, cleaning and car services tariffs.
The inflation target set by the National Bank in 2007 stands at 4% +/-1% with a forecast inflation of 4.7%.
by www.hotnews.ro, 13.03.2007

5 billion EUR in foreign investments
Foreign direct investments (FDI) in Romania will reach EUR 5 billion per year during 2007-2009, according to a study conducted by UNICREDIT Romania and the HVB Tiriac Bank, members of the Italian group UNICREDIT. Geographical positioning and the low-cost labour force are the chief reasons for this increase of foreign investments in Romania. "A growing number of foreign companies are turned to Romania, in order to focus on products with a higher added value, as they put lower pressure on costs," Fabio MUCCI, UNICREDIT CEE Economic Research, said. Last year, foreign direct investments in Romania reached EUR 9.1 billion, amid the privatization of Romanian Commercial Bank, and, official predictions speak of circa EUR 7 billion this year, given the absence of major privatizations. Growing competition from Asian states will make Romania orient its exports towards manufactured products, Fabio MUCCI said, adding that the structure of Romania's exports show a high proportion of traditional products, such as textiles and leather goods, yet declining in favour of products with a higher added value, as well as means of transport, machinery and equipment. Constructions, trade and communications, too, have a very promising outlook. However, red tape still gives headaches to the entrepreneurs interviewed by the authors of this study. Leasing companies are unhappy about their co-operation with authorities over public procurements auctions. "The contracting authorities have often refused to make available to us the documents showing their financial state or they did it late, although this is public information," Gabriel DOBRESCU, UNICREDIT Leasing director, said. The UNICREDIT Leasing Corporation contract portfolio regarding the funding of public projects exceeded EUR 60 million at the end of last year, with the company servicing over 80 contracting authorities.
by mihaela.circu@mxp.ro, 21.03.2007

EUR 2.5 billion in M&A
The value of the mergers and acquisitions (M&A) market from Romania is estimated in 2007, in the absence of major transactions, at over EUR 2.5 billion, much below the level of EUR 6 billion from 2006, when BCR privatization (EUR 3.75 billion) was finalized, according to a RAIFFEISEN Investment survey.
For this year, RAIFFEISEN Investment estimates over 150 private transactions and the growth of the average value per transaction to EUR 15 million.
As a cumulated value of the acquisitions and mergers, RAIFFEISEN Investment estimates to exceed EUR 2.5 billion, without the finalization of any "mega transaction."
"Our analysis has shown that the effective M&A market cannot be limited at the level of the big transactions, it must include also the medium and small transactions, with a value of around EUR 8 million, but it cumulates EUR 1 billion per year, with the obvious trend to grow," declared the General Manager of RAIFFEISEN Investment Romania, Ioana FILIPESCU.
RAIFFEISEN Investment estimates that the merger and acquisitions market from Romania had a good performance last year, totaling EUR 6 billion, but was at a lower level than in 2005, when the transactions amounted to EUR 6.8 billion.
"Both years were however influenced by the mega transactions - the acquisition of MOBIFON by Vodafone in March 2005, and the privatization of BCR by ERSTE Bank finalized in October 2006 - which represented over half of the value of the market from the respective year," reads the survey.
In 2005, the growth of the merger and acquisitions market was determined especially by the growth of the number of acquisitions of Romanian companies by foreign firms (an advance of 60 per cent of the number of private transactions).
"In 2006, however, the growth was supported, somehow surprisingly, by the internal transactions, between a buyer and a Romanian seller of a much smaller value, but with a much most marked dynamics (growth of 70 per cent of the number of private transactions)," also reads the survey.
Last year, half of the private transactions were internal, the percentage reaching 60 per cent through the inclusion of the privatisations. In this way, Romania has aligned to the visible trend of the countries from the region, estimate RAIFFEISEN specialists.
As for the transactions for the international expansion of the Romanian companies, the quotas are much smaller, only three transactions in 2006, the same as in 2005.
by nineoclock.ro, 12.03.2007

Public loans ceiling raised by MFP
The Ministry of Public Finances (MFP) has increased by RON 4 billion the maximum amount of contracted public loans for 2007.
The Ministry has issued state bonds at RON 12 billion. The value does not include the amount contracted by the issue of treasury certificates with one month payment term completed in January, that has already been reimbursed to MFP and that has not been included in the initial annual calendar.
By the end of 2006, the Ministry announced that the total volume of the loans could be launched by state bond issue on the internal market in 2007 accounts for RON 8 billion, by treasury certificates and benchmark state bonds.
MFP considers the possibility to enter the international capital markets with bond issues of minimum EUR 500 million. MFP will increase the number and the frequency of the tenders for state bond issue. The Ministry of Public Finances will announce every trimester the maturities and the indicative values of the loans for every month of the current trimester. The prospect of monthly issue will announce the effective volume as well as other specific elements.
by costi.boroda@mxp.ro, 22.03.2007

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Pay attention to motor insurances

The amount of gross written premiums on the motor insurances' segment was over 70% in 2006, the motor third party liability representing more than 32%. This was one of the debated subject during the National Conference of Motor Insurances.
In the previous year, the indemnities paid by the Romanian insurers grew with 47% and the damage reserves increased with 34%.
"The Insurance Supervisory Commission will carefully oversee the damages on the motor insurances' segment and its impact over the insurance companies' financial situation in order to keep them within the solvency indices' limits", Angela TONCESCU, the President of the institution, declared during this event.
"The insurance market must be analyzed more carefully and seriously", the quoted official concluded.
by costi.boroda@mxp.ro, 19.03.2007

Motor insurances, profitable on some conditions
In 2006, the amount of gross written premiums on motor insurances' segment represented more than 70% of the general insurances' market, the motor third party liability being over 32%, while the indemnities paid by Romanian insurers grew with around 47%, and the damage reserves with 34%.
The damage rate on the segment is over 60%, according to the provisional data, made public on the 19th of March 2007, during the National Conference of Motor Insurances by Angela TONCESCU, President of the Insurance Supervisory Commission (ISC).
"Taking into consideration the evolution of this indicator, the profile companies should give up the fight for market share on the motor third party liability through the discount politic and promotional campaigns", Angela TONCESCU declared.
"Though the ISC can't interfere in determining the tariffs of premiums on the motor insurances' segment, where there are significant differences between the profile companies, the supervisory authority will oversee carefully the damages and its impact on the financial situations of the insurance companies in order to maintain within the solvency indices' limits", the quoted official explained.
Taking account of the fact that over 80% of indemnities paid annual by insurers on non-life segment represents the undertaken obligations in motor insurance contracts, they can draw the conclusion that this class's portfolio is the most expensive in the administrators' point of view.
"The motor insurances can be profitable on the condition of respecting one precondition necessary for the efficiency", Cristian CONSTANTINESCU, President of the National Association of Insurance and Reinsurance Companies from Romania (UNSAR) and General Manager of ALLIANZ-TIRIAC emphasized.
Thus, it is necessary the revision of the policies' tariff system in order to correlate the risks. Also, the insurers have to concentrate their effort as to create a powerful community, through an active contribution to the finalization of a common data base capable of making efficient the risks' evaluation and through the introduction of elements that make responsible the clients too. The resolution of this problem is necessary, as the premises of the increase of the future damages exist.
According to Bogdan ANDRIESCU, the President of the National Union of Insurance Brokerage and Consultancy Societies from Romania (UNSICAR), Romania is on the 30th position in the European top of motor vehicles' density. In the same time, the average rate of damage, over 60%, is inferior to the European average, which was 74.5% in 2004, after it was over 90% at the beginning of 2000.
Among the possible solutions, there are the elaboration of a mechanism of communicating the damages, which can materialize in bonus - malus system, the control of the reparation's costs and the deductibility's introduction as to reduce the frequency and the quantum of damages", Michael NEEB, Motor Consultant of MUNICH Re, stated.
"In the same time, it's needed an independent calculation system using the pieces of information given by producers", Ion MOISE, the Chief of Motor Claims Division, GENERALI Asigurari stated.
by mihaela.circu@mxp.ro, 20.03.2007

30 million EUR availabilities by the end of 2007
"The Fund of the Protection of the Streets' Victims (FPSV) had RON 16.25 million (EUR 4.65 million) availabilities on the 13th of December 2006", Ovidiu CIOBANU, the President of FPSV, declared at the National Conference of Motor Insurances.
"For the end of 2007, we estimate an amount of over EUR 30 million", the quoted official added.
63 files were solved by 5th of March 2007, for which approximate RON 373,000 was paid, and 42 files were pending. The fund has been operating since November 2005 and its purpose is to compensate the victims involved in car accidents with unknown authors or without motor third party liability insurances, under the administration of Romanian Motor Insurers' Bureau.
The premises of FPSV are the increase and the accentuated development of the car fleet and of the road infrastructure, but also the development of the road trans-frontier traffic as a result to the creation of a common market and elimination of the bureaucratic-legislative markets which stop the free movement of vehicles, persons, goods and services.
"The consequences of the expanding of FPSV's attributions, of the situations"expanding when it pays claims and the increase of the motor third party liability's limits have contributed to the diminish of the premium effective cashed by insurers for the policy through the enhancement of the motor third party liability insurers' contribution to FPSV to 2,5% of volume of cashed gross premiums", Ovidiu CIOBANU stated.
As a result the growth of acquisition and administration costs of MTPL insurers influence the combined rate", the quoted official concluded.
In the same time, in the following weeks, the CEDAM base is going to be transferred from the administration of Insurance Supervisory Commission to FPSV's administration as Information Centre", Marius BULUGEA, General Manager of the Compulsory Insurances Department of Insurance Supervisory Commission, stated.
by irina.galasanu@mxp.ro, 20.03.2007

VIP Treatment from BCR Asigurari
For 2007, the company BCR Asigurari estimates 300 policies sold, which means a volume of gross written premiums of 500,000 EUR on the health insurance market.
On February 2007, the insurer launched a special product on the profile Romanian market in collaboration with TPSH Insurance Brokers and AXA Krankenversicherung from Germany, as reinsurer and know-how provider.
The new product, called VIP, is for persons with over average wages that pay a special attention to the superior quality of the medical treatments from hospitals or specialized medical centers.
"BCR Asigurari intends to consolidate its position on the private health insurance market, with offers according to the clients' needs and also improving their relation with the medical services providers, thus trying to meet the desires and concerns for health and offering the possibility of benefiting from superior quality medical services", Mihai TECAU, President and General Manager of the insurer, stated.
More details of the development stage of private health insurances will be debated during the National Health Insurance Conference, event organized by Media XPRIMM with the support of the Insurance Supervisory Commission, the National Association of Insurance and Reinsurance Companies from Romania and President of the National Union of Insurance Brokerage and Consultancy Societies from Romania. The conference takes place on 19th of April 2007, at the Parliament Palace.
by mihaela.circu@mxp.ro, 22.03.2007

Great Britain has signed!
The Romania has got the last signature out of the 32 needed to adhere to the Multilateral Agreement. This will allow Romanian people to travel within the European Economic Area, Andorra and Croatia, without showing each time the insurance documents.
The last signature belongs to Great Britain. "The Insurance Supervisory Commission made all the effort to the European Commission and to all Agreement's signatories as to accelerate the ratification process. The Agreement will enter in force as soon as all formalities will be finished. We hope to announce as quickly as possible the date from which Romanian drivers can travel on the territory of the signatory states without being obliged to present the insurance document", Angela TONCESCU, the President of the Insurance Supervisory Commission, stated.
Thus, there will be a unique insurance document of motor third party liability valid on the entire mentioned territory and the Romanian drivers will travel abroad without being asked the insurance documents.
For others states within Green Card's system and other third states, Green Card insurance is necessary according to Law no.136/1995, article 56 (for example Moldavia or Ukraine).
by mihaela.circu@mxp.ro, 16.03.2007

SIGNAL Iduna, a new player on the health insurance market
The Trade Union National Block (TNB) and the insurance German Group, SIGNAL Iduna decided on 17th of March 2007, at Dortmund to collaborate in the future and to develop together new offers for the Romanian health insurance market.
Thus, SIGNAL Iduna GROUP will establish in Romania a company, which will offer private health insurances and integrated attendance services of it. The affiliated
members to TNB will beneficiate from special offers adapted to their needs with services from the ambulatory field and stationary.
The insurance and financial group, Signal Iduna, established 100 years ago by the German craftsmen's organization, is among the first on the German insurance market and is, as size, the fourth health insurer in Germany.
"Romania is one of the most promising new European Union's members and the partnership with TNB represents the foundation for a successful position of the company on a dynamic insurance market", Reinhold SCHULTE, the group's President, stated.
Also, Dumitru COSTIN, TNB's President, believes that this collaboration will lead to high quality services, on advantageous conditions for affiliated members to TNB and for people, in general.
"Because of its long experience on the health insurance market, which is a very developed one, we considered SIGNAL Iduna the ideal partner for elaborating solutions for our members", Dumitru COSTIN added
In the East of Europe, SIGNAL Iduna operates in Hungary (from 1993) and Poland (from 2002).
by alexandru.ciuncan@mxp.ro, 20.03.2007

ASTRA-UNIQA estimates a growth of 63% in 2007
The total GWP volume of ASTRA-UNIQA grew in 2006, with 81.1% in comparison to the previous year, as a result of the rising of the policy sales on motor insurances and property insurances.
ASTRA-UNIQA registered in the previous year, a total volume of underwritings of RON 305.5 million (about EUR 86.6 million), with 81.1% more than in 2005, according to the company's preliminary results.
The MTPL and Green Card segments represented the largest part in the total volume of underwritings, with a value of RON 150.8 million, growing by 61.9%, while the CASCO policies registered an increase of 97.5% which means RON 65.3 million.
The property's segment drew incomes of RON 16.9 million, while the underwritings on the life insurance's segment remained at the same level.
The company received RON 6.78 million from the aviation insurance's segment, including third party liability policies, which represented a 100% growth comparing to the previous year, while the ship insurance's segment grew by 67% to RON 19.2 million.
The total claims value in the previous year supported by ASTRA-UNIQA grew by 41% to about RON 123 million, from RON 87.5 million in 2005.
ASTRA-UNIQA intends for 2007 to underwrite about EUR 140 million, with 63% in comparison to the level recorded in the previous year as well as the profitability growth, the diversification of the portfolio and the territorial expansion. Also, the company has set as objectives a partnership development with the RAIFFEISEN Group and with other banks and including the customers in a servicing program that begins at the moment when the contract is signed till the claims settlement.
The company's network is formed by 215 units, after opening in the previous year 25 branches and local offices. Also, the insurance company strengthened its sales force in the previous year by 25%.
by mihaela.circu@mxp.ro, 14.03.2007

Is motor insurance profitable?
"As a good manager can produce profit from anything, the motor insurances can generate profits, if the companies make a rigorous analyses of their expenses", Dumitru Mugurel CERACEANU, President of ASIBAN has declared.
According to the official's statement, the motor insurance market, especially the MTPL segment is confronting, at the moment, an atypical situation, because of the difference in prices going sometimes even from simple to double.
"In every line of work, everywhere in Romania if we talk about the vegetables sold in the market or about the banks' interest rates, there are only small differences. But as far as the motor insurance market is concerned, we are dealing with big differences between prices", Dumitru Mugurel CERACEANU has stated.
At the same time, when agreeing to a pricing strategy, the insurers must be careful with the fact that "the Romanian's pocket isn't as large as the European's", the President of ASIBAN has stated.
Therefore it is necessary that all those involved in providing insurance services to the population, to make analysis of costs and profits, in order to keep the final price of the product at an average level of supportability.
"The management of motor insurance risks in insurance can be translated into a price growth, but not as high as 100% as the rumors said" Dumitru Mugurel CERACEANU has concluded.
ASIBAN placed itself at the end of 2006 on the 4th position in the motor insurance top, with a market share of 8.59%. The company underwrote, on this segment, a total volume of premiums of over EUR 75.43 million, which means a growth of 81%.
by mihaela.circu@mxp.ro, 12.03.2007

OMNIASIG takes 2nd place
2006 represented for OMNIASIG a nominal growth, in EUR, of almost 31%, taking the second place on the general insurance's segment and 1.8 million policies. Furthermore, the company registered growths over the market average on the motor insurance's and the property's segments, but also a reducing of the credit insurance's segment.
OMNIASIG, a member of the VIENNA Insurance Group underwrote in the previous year a total volume of over EUR 152 million (RON 536 million). OMNIASIG grew in 2006 with about 31% (in EUR) in comparison to the previous year. The real growth, expressed in national currency, exceeded in the analyzed period 21.25%.
The company has a 9,4% market share and occupies the 3rd place in the top of gross written premiums.
OMNIASIG has almost 12% of the general insurance market and according to the last year's results got up one place in the chart of written premiums from non life insurances, placing itself on the 2nd position.
In absolute value, the company underwrote with EUR 36 million more than in 2005. Most of the part, almost EUR 30 million, meaning 74% of the increase registered by OMNIASIG, was obtained from motor insurances. The company underwrote on the mentioned segment over EUR 100 million, meaning 66.4% of the total gross premiums realized in 2006 and 11.5% of the motor insurances' market. Motor hull insurances represented 35% of the company's portfolio, while the motor third party liability insurances were closed to 32%.
The fire and allied perils insurances brought to company a surplus of EUR 6.6 million premiums. So, OMNIASIG underwrote on this segment EUR 22 million representing almost 14.7% of the company's business in the previous year and 15% of the mentioned market.
On the credits and warrants insurances' segment, the company had a business's volume diminish. Thus, this class registered a EUR 5 million decrease, OMNIASIG underwrote EUR 12 million, which means 8% of the total gross written premiums.
The completed data of the insurance market afferent to the previous year will be available in the Insurance Profile Review No. 1/2007, which will come out at the end of this month. Click here to order!
by alex.rosca@mxp.ro, 13.03.2007

GENERALI launches a product for Small and Medium Sized Entrepreneurs
GENERALI Asigurari has launched the complex product for Small and Medium Sized Entrepreneurs called "the insurance for material damages for Small and Medium Sized Entrepreneurs".
"We've already been practicing the coverage of the risks of Small and Medium Sized Entrepreneurs", but we wanted to bring all together under the umbrella of a complex policy for Small and Medium Sized Entrepreneurs. We thought that such a policy should be a priority for those running a small or medium sized business" the company's General Manager, Tudor MOLDOVAN, declared.
The insurance for material damages for Small and Medium Sized Entrepreneurs is for those that activate in the material goods production field, commerce and services. The product covers the material damages of the SME's patrimony like: building or the ensemble of buildings and annexes, a quote of immobile and fixed installations, but also their content like equipment, furniture, inventory objects, merchandise stock and so on. In addition, in order to avoid the diminish of the activity in case of an insured risk, the policy covers even the necessary supplementary expenses for functioning, according to limits stipulated in contract.
The insurance premium varies in accordance with the risks which want to be covered, with the activity, with the constructive typology of the building and the existence of the protecting means in case of undertaking a robbery risk.
The insurance policy offers supplementary protection through special clauses for accidental damages to heating systems, for accidental breaks of stained-glass surfaces, money deposited in safe and during the transport and so on.
by costi.boroda@mxp.ro, 20.03.2007

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"Insurance Business in Russia: Integration Challenges", at the 2nd Edition
As the beginning of the 2nd edition of the International Conference on Insurance Business in Russia is approaching more and more leaders an specialists from all over the Europe and CIS are registering to this important Conference, that will be held between the 16th and 17th of April 2007, at the Ararat Park Hyatt, Moscow, Russia.
The PRIMM Magazine - Insurance&Pensions is a Media Partner of the Conference.
The event will offer a unique opportunity to meet senior managers and experts from many Russian insurance companies, including regional players based in numerous provinces, where insurance industry is growing very rapidly.
The conference is meant to serve a platform for discussions on modern technologies of insurance business management, as well as on investment opportunities of local and international financial institutions in the national insurance market. Participants will include top-managers and senior representatives of Major Russian and international insurance, banking, investment, financial and consulting companies.
by oleg.doronceanu@mxp.ro, 22.03.2007

New forecasts about life insurers in Ukraine
"There have been registered significant rates of growth in the sector of life insurances in Ukraine. Although the volume of these growths can't be compared to the one registered in the sector of general insurances, we can estimate that life insurance will represent the locomotive of the insurance industry", Marina NAUMOVA, Vice-President of FORTIS Life, Ukraine, has declared.
The experience at the world level (including that of the countries from Eastern Europe) shows that this type of insurance will undergo considerable dynamics once the population's life standards will increase. According to forecasts, under the conditions of a stable economic growth, a considerable growth of life insurances in the next 3-4 years is expected.
This sector is very attractive for investors from outside (Europe, Russia), under the conditions that important players on the Ukrainian insurance market (more than 50%) are controlled by foreign financial groups.
"The number of companies with foreign capital will grow from one year to another. This long-term investment activity is appealing for any financial corporation. According to the practice at the international level, life insurers are, besides private pensions funds and banks, the biggest institutional investors, with a relevant experience in the field", NAUMOVA also mentioned.
In the first half of 2006, the life insurances' quota in the total underwritings made up 3%, growing from 2% in 2005. In the same way, the volume of compensations paid for this sector is annually evolving with 2% - 2.5%.
In Ukraine, there are 400 insurance companies, including 350 of insurers specialized in general insurances and 55 in the sector of life insurances. These companies have underwrote, according to the preliminary data for 2006, gross premiums worth EUR 1.9 billion, with approximately EUR 30.3 million more than in 2005.
by irina.galasanu@mxp.ro, 21.03.2007

Mergers and acquisitions in CSI
Former chairman of the National Bank of Ukraine, Sergey TIGIPKO has sold 100% of shares of the insurance company RUTAS (Russia) to IC METROPOLIS, owned by Vladimir ROMANOV, Chairman of board of ELECTRONIKA Bank and Maxim LAVRENTEV, member of the board at the same bank.
In exchange, they have sold 25% of METROPOLIS to the Ukrainian insurance group TAS, belonging to Mr. TIGIPKO.
According to opinions of the market participants, this transaction can open access on the Russian market to the largest Polish insurer - Insurance Group PZU, which negotiates at the moment for purchasing of insurance company TAS.
Sergey TIGIPKO is the majority shareholder of financial group TAS; in which insurance company TAS and its Russian subsidiary RUTAS are members.
Alla AHTARSKAYA, Press-secretary of TAS has declared recently to RBC daily, that IC TAS has exchanged 100% of actions of the Russian insurer RUTAS for 10 % of actions of "Metropolis", and acquired the rest of 15%.
Vladimir ROMANOV, has explained, that they have redeemed 100 % shares of RUTAS from TAS, then the Ukrainian company has acquired from them 25 % of actions of "Metropolis". "We shall develop our own retail project in Russia, using technologies of the Ukrainian insurer, with an important experience in retail business", declared ROMANOV.
A source in the Ukrainian market has declared to RBC daily, that now between Sergey TIGIPKO and the leading Polish insurance company PZU is preparing a transaction for acquiring TAS. Thus, if this transaction successfully comes to an end, PZU will enter the Russian market through group TAS and its 25 percent package in METROPOLIS, and also, the shareholders ELECTRONIKA Bank will receive new prospects for development of the insurance business due to technologies and estimation systems of risks from the Polish insurer.
by oleg.doronceanu, 22.03.2007

Specialization of the insurance activity in Russia - a necessity
Galina ERSHOVA, Vice-President of the Federal Service of Insurance Surveillance (FSSN), declared that FSIS "directs" the insurance companies toward the finalization of the separation proceedings of the activity (life and general insurance) before 1st of June of the current year, according to the requirements of the law regarding insurances.
Before this date, the companies have to conclude the process of raising the social capital. In this way, the social capital for the companies specialized on the general insurance segment will make up EUR 870 thousand, for life insurers - EUR 1.7 million, and for the reinsurance companies - EUR 3.4 million.
At the deadline established by the controlling authority, it is expected to receive from the insurers the reports regarding the process of transfer to the new, specialized company, of the portfolio for the life and, reserves insurance contracts.
"We will receive all the companies' written explanations and the reports regarding the proceedings of transfer of portfolio. The examination of these will be made on the basis of the accounting reports that will additionally be presented. If these reports won't be in accordance with the previous declarations, the license will evidently be canceled. Insurers had enough time to prepare the specialization, starting with 2004, when these adjustments were made to the insurers' law", ERSHOVA also declared.
Regarding this, the INTERFAX expert, Angela DOLGOPOLOVA, has mentioned that in these two years, no normative document has been issued in order to regulate the process of portfolio transfer, therefore, now insurers have to obtain the consent of each insured, in order to be able to transfer the contract to a different insurer, even though this transfer is mandatory.
As a consequence, FSSN intends to elaborate the principles of transfer of these contracts from one company to another, although these principles won't have any juridical force.
We remind the fact that the President of the sub-commission for insurances within the state Duma, Alexandr KOVALI, has recently proposed certain changes to the law regarding the reorganization of the insurance activity, which stipulates the delay with five years of the deadline for transferring the portfolio within the process of specialization. "During this period, the majority of the life insurance contracts concluded by the insurance companies will cease and this way the problem will be settled by itself", also declared the official.
The merged companies which will own life insurance policies on the 1st of July 2007 will have the interdiction of concluding other contracts of this kind or of introducing modifications to the already existing policies.
by irina.galasanu@mxp.ro, 16.03.2007

VIG is strengthening its business in Russia
The investment group RUSSIAN FUNDS has finalized the transaction through which VIENNA Insurance Group (VIG) undertook 15% of the shares package from the insurance company STANDART Rezerv and SOVITA, member of the group STOLICHINAYA Strahovaya Grupa (SSG).
This acquisition is considered by the experts as being a new strategic step towards the creation of the new holding SSG, and the bringing on among its shareholders of important investors, such as VIG.
SSG is the new insurance holding, formed of the administrative structures from Moscow, with the participation of the investment group RUSSIAN FUNDS and the Bank of Moscow. Currently, related companies STANDART Rezerv, SOVITA, MSK, and MOSCOW Re are parts of this.
The Austrian group has an important presence in ECE, being in charge of companies from Romania (OMNIASIG, OMNIASIG Asigurari de viata, AGRAS and UNITA), Georgia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, and Hungary, as well as operational offices in Italy and Slovenia.
Although until now VIG owned in Russia only a small membership in the insurance company MSK Life, its involvement in the new project as a minority shareholder will bring important image advantages to the new group.
by irina.galasanu@mxp.ro, 21.03.2007

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