No. 86, June 21st, 2007

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Let's educate ourselves!

The start for private pensions will take place in August...
the countdown already began... the companies get authorised and recruit thousands of agents promising them commissions according to the century business potential...

These are several ideas picked out from articles concerning this subject recently published by mass-media... and this is not due only to some journalists' mettle having no other more attractive subjects, but it is due to the importance of the problem and its impact on long term...

Besides, according to the survey initiated by Partnership for Equality Centre, only 4% of Romanians are considered to be informed with regard to the system of private administrated pensions, over a half of the interviewed have light contextual knowledge, and 32% have no information regarding this field.

Researches performed recently in our country show that Romanians have extremely poor financial knowledge. This way, after 17 years of market economy, there are still some citizens who pay each December month "the ADAS (name of the former State owned company)", considering that the banking system and CEC (Romanian Savings Bank) are synonyms and they are still followed by the shadow of pseudo-investing funds like SAFI and FNI...

Who should be responsible for Romanians' financial education? If your answer is "the state" you're wrong...
Because we live in capitalism..., and everybody is concerned about his personal interest - this being the essence of the regime...
Besides, after a period of almost half a century during which Romanians were used to have because it was giving to them, this reflex is still visible on a good part of our people.

The solution in this case would be the financial education, mass-media offering plenty of options concerning the problem.
Even it seems to be difficult, it is the moment when a big part of Romanians should realize by their selves what an investment portfolio means, why we need life insurance, what private pensions are, and over all, that we should stop waiting for the Government compassion...

by mihaela.circu@mxp.ro

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BCR Asigurari de Viata


OMNIASIG Asigurari de Viata

FIAR 2007 - International Insurance - Reinsurance Forum ASIBAN


Interview with Mrs. Angela TONCESCU,
Insurance Supervisory Commission

XPRIMM: You have been appointed president of the Insurance Supervisory Commission almost a year ago. What did this year mean for the institution you manage?
This year meant sustained work and a period where we had to focus both on streamlining the internal organization and working procedures and on solving, within time constraints, all problems in the motor insurance field, knowing at the same time that before the accession, this chapter was marked with a yellow flag by the European Commission. Through the actions and measures we have taken, we managed to successfully overcome those moments.
In parallel, we started a series of actions intended to contribute to the development of the insurance market and to raising the general public's confidence in it, actions aimed at various levels, together with improving and completing the regulatory framework, strengthening the prudential supervision that we conduct for the insurance and brokerage companies, drafting the legislation that allows for the registration and verification of insurance agents, increasing the professional qualification level of the market and the ISC personnel.
Romania's accession to the European Union brought about new responsibilities for the Insurance Supervisory Commission, related both to the drafting of the legislation at European standards, which will have to be transposed in the national legislation subsequently, as well as to the representation of our country, on insurance issues, in all European bodies. Given this context, we would like for our supervisory body to become an institution with a high level of professionalism, a trustworthy partner in the European space, this representing actually the foreseen ISC Strategy for 2007 - 2011, that we have adopted recently.
We are convinced that, in order to reach this level, we need a collaboration between the representatives of the Insurance Supervisory Commission and the representatives of the insurance industry that functions under the best possible conditions, therefore a higher quality and frequency of our consultations was and shall continue to be an important aspect for us. We hope that the market sees this as a deeper transparency and a better dialogue and that they already appreciate the efforts the management of the Insurance Supervisory Commission undertakes in this respect.

XPRIMM: How do you assess the evolution of the Romanian insurance market over the past decade, both in terms of business volume and from the perspective of the market maturity and quality of products and services?
I believe we can distinguish at least three stages of market development, the first two being clearly identified through the entry into force of Law no. 32/2000 and by the creation of the Insurance Supervisory Commission. In a first stage we had the creation and development of the competitive market, by having numerous companies on the Romanian market, many of them being quite reputable at European level. A second stage represented a consolidation of the market and the improvement of the primary and secondary legislative framework, especially in a situation where, since 2002, the preparations in insurance for Romania's accession to the European Union have started. A third stage has a recent starting date, and we are convinced we need to prove that we are truly Europeans. During all this time, the insurance market increased in terms of business volume, and quite often at a higher rate compared to the growth of other sectors of the national economy, which proves that the general public's confidence also followed the same trend.

XPRIMM: What do you consider was the most difficult moment that the Romanian insurance market went through over the past ten years?
I believe that we had somewhat difficult moments when we started the re-authorization of insurance companies, namely in 2001, and then, when going through the stages of increasing the registered capital according to the minimum requirements. However, all these measures were part of the preparation process for the accession to the European Union and were meant to mitigate the impact of this moment. Actually, today's reality proves that the measures we've taken were opportune and, moreover, a necessity.

XPRIMM: How would you describe the Romanian insurance market at this moment, from the point of view of its maturity, potential, quality of operators and products...?
We can talk about an established market, strongly competitive, with functioning rules that, though improvable, still cover the most relevant aspects to allow us for an efficient prudential supervision. But if I think of the insurable potential, which is quite high, I believe we cannot talk yet about a mature market. Regarding the quality of products and operators, we can say that there is always room for improvement and here we can mention the measures to be taken by the Insurance Supervisory Commission in order to increase the level of professional qualification and provide a protection for the insurers' interests.

XPRIMM: Talking about the near future perspective, what do you think are the main trends to be seen on the insurance market in the next several years? Changes in the insurers' way of operating, new entries on the market, interaction with other financial markets etc.
We must be aware of the fact that, after the 1st of January 2007, Romania is competing directly with the insurance market from the other EU member states, from the perspective of the economic and institutional performances. The insurable potential in Romania will lead to an increase in the activity of the already existing insurers, but also the attraction of new investors. One must also consider that, just like in any sector of the financial market, the activity must be well managed and supported with considerable financial resources, so as to be able and cover the undertaken risks, which are obviously growing.
Therefore, we shall probably witness take-over actions, new infusions of capital and changes in the ranking of insurance companies and brokers as well.
The interaction with other sectors of the financial market shall increase, naturally, to the extent to which the demand for more sophisticated products shall increase as well.

XPRIMM: How would you assess the development level in the insurance brokerage activity? What trends will we see in the future in this field?
I believe the role of brokers will be strengthened more and more, especially given the freedom of movement for services. In only four months that have passed since the accession, when we had this opening of the borders, the Insurance Supervisory Commission received 66 notifications on the intent to conduct insurance activities on the Romanian territory, issued by insurers from 12 EU member states. Most notifications were received from companies in countries with a long tradition in insurance, but with relatively saturated markets, I might add, such as Great Britain, France, Austria and Germany. All of them will need representation on the territory of Romania, otherwise they won't succeed, if they really want to enter on the Romanian market.

XPRIMM: The adoption of European practices and legislation in all aspects of the economic life in Romania shall have an impact on the development of the insurance market as well. Do you think that in the next several years we are going to witness a drop in the weight of motor insurance to the advantage of other insurance classes (for instance, property insurance, general and/or third party liability insurance, health insurance etc.)?
A.T.: The data we have confirm that vehicles remain the most "valuable" asset for the Romanians, so unfortunately, at least on medium term, I don't believe we are going to witness a consistent drop in the weight of motor insurance.
Of course, we expect a development in other business lines, such as health insurance, traditional life insurance and investment fund insurance, such as insurance for financial losses and general third party liability insurance, but it is highly unlikely that their weight becomes so high that it outnumbers the motor insurance.

XPRIMM: What are the priorities of ISC for the future, both in terms of supervision and in terms of institutional development?
A.T.: As shown in the ISC Strategy for 2007 - 2011, that we adopted recently, the general objective is to strengthen and develop the Romanian insurance market, as well as to increase the role of the Insurance Supervisory Commission at national and European level, by capitalizing as best we can on Romania's membership to the European Union.
In order to meet this goal, we have set a series of strategic objectives, among which I would like to mention the priority for changing the philosophy of the supervisory activity, as a necessary prerequisite for the implementation of the future solvency regime, Solvency II.
This objective appears as a priority in a context where, on the 10th of July this year, the European Commission shall adopt the text of the Framework Directive Solvency II and, according to the planned calendar, the actual implementation of its provisions shall start with the year 2012.
Considering the magnitude of changes that the new solvency regime will impose at legislative, organization and professional level, it will be applicable only under a very good cooperation with the ISC and insurers, by setting up a calendar of actions intended for the accurate and unified understanding and integration of all necessary changes. ISC has already started a series of actions and programs for professional training and we have planned to maintain them in the following years.
As a EU member state, we shall also have the obligation to continue and transpose and implement the European legislation. Other objectives are aimed at:
- developing a systematic dialogue with the authorities and institutions in Romania whose actions might have an impact on the insurance market, in order to transfer the best practices in the implementation of community policies;
- developing the prudential supervision and control tools for the Insurance Supervisory Commission;
- developing and maintaining an active dialogue between the supervisor and the representatives of the insurance market, in order to have a unitary approach of common problems, including the new Solvency II concept;
- active and efficient participation in the drafting and implementation of the European Union legislation;
- intensifying the cooperation with the similar supervision authorities from the EU member states, as well as with other institutions, well-established at international level, in terms of relevant expertise and, last but not least, more actions and, implicitly more visibility of ISC, both internally and internationally.

XPRIMM: Thank you!

by daniela.ghetu@mxp.ro

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Mrs. Angela TONCESCU,
Insurance Supervisory Commission


Romania to reach 6.5% economic growth
Romania's economic growth will limit this year, to 6.5% and 6.3% in 2008, levels similar to that foreseen by Romanian authorities, compared to 7.7% last year, according to predictions made by ERSTE Bank, according to the a study made by ERSTE Bank, the main stockholder of the Romanian Commercial Bank (BCR).
"Romania will register in 2007 an economic growth of 6.5 per cent, and the demand will remain high, although it enters a downward slope, boosted by the swift rise in investments. The main instrument for reducing excessive demand in 2007 will be a restrictive monetary policy," the ERSTE Bank report shows. Direct foreign investments are estimated to reach EUR 7.5 billion this year. The average inflation projected for this year stands at 3.8%, and 4.2% in 2008.
by costi.boroda@mxp.ro, 18.06.2007

Romanian leasing doubles compared to regional market
The Romanian leasing market will continue to have one of the highest growth rates in the region due to soaring real estate and equipment leasing.
General Secretary of the Leasing and Non-Banking Financial Services Association (ALB), Adriana AHCIARLIU, told Business Standard exclusively, that unlike most developed countries in the EU, where the leasing market is experiencing a downward trend, Romania's market is enjoying significant growth. "We estimate a 32 percent increase in 2007, which means the total value of leasing contracts will exceed EUR 4.3 billion," added Adriana AHCIARLIU.
The National Bank of Romania's (BNR) Stability Report for 2007 confirms that the Romanian leasing market is growing twice as fast as countries in the region due to increasing maturation of that market.
"The share of new leasing contracts of GDP doubled in 2006 year-on-year, thus exceeding performances in other countries in the region. As far as the leasing-financed goods are concerned, the vehicle category lost ground to equipment and real estate financing, which proves a certain degree of saturation on the auto segment and a maturation of the market overall," the BNR study indicated.
Vehicle, equipment and real estate leasing totaled 26 percent of total leasing financing, as the Stability Report shows, and a 36 percent share on the bank leasing market.
According to the Stability Report, the most important component of the financial market in 2006 was the banking sector, with 83.8 percent of total financial assets, keeping risks associated with leasing companies within reasonable limits.
"The degree of financial depth of the equity and insurance markets remains low while integration with international markets is increasing," BNR points out.
by Business Standard, 19.06.2007

Good absorption of Phare funds for Romania
Romania ranks on the Second position, following Slovakia, in a classification regarding the countries applying for Phare funds. This is the main argument which proves that Romania deals with a good absorption of the European funds, according to the Director of the Authority for Structural Instruments from the Ministry of Finances and Economy, Razvan COTOVELEA. Additionally, 94-96% of the payments have been carried out.
The information refers to the programs concluded or under way at this moment and was provided by a study of the European Commission. Until November, contracts can be signed for Phare 2005.
However, a problem still needs to be tackled as far as the infrastructure projects are concerned. There are delays in the implementation of these projects because of the properties' register.
The Sectorial Programs are to be endorsed in July-August, and the solicitor's guide will be issued in the coming three weeks following the endorsement, most probably it will be delivered by the beginning of September.
by hotnews.ro, 18.06.2007

Romania leads in new cars registration
The number of new cars registered during the first five months of the year in Romania increased 23%, compared to the similar period in 2006, reaching 110,762 units, according to the data at the European Car Producers Association.
28,061 cars were registered in May, 29.8% more compared to the 21,617 units in May 2006.
In 28 European states analyzed by the association, 6,962,335 cars were registered since the beginning of the year, 0.5% less than January - May 2006.
The main growing markets were Latvia (+55.8%), Estonia (+36.5%), Lithuania (+28.7%), Norway (+25.9). The fastest decreasing markets were Hungary (-10.1%), Germany (-9.6%), Finland (-7.8%) and Belgium (-7.5%).
by hotnews.ro, 15.06.2007

The national currency reaches new historic heights
The appreciation of the RON increases the value of stock portfolios on the Bucharest Stock Exchange. Market capitalization reached early this week a new peak of EUR 25.66 billion, up nearly 20 per cent from the level late last year. The RON market capitalization was up 12.6 per cent during the same interval. The higher trading is boosted by RON appreciation against the two major foreign currencies, EUR and the USD, which means that investors that own hard currency portfolios get a higher yield than their native counterparts. Compared to the end of 2006, the market capitalization is up 12.6%, yet the national currency appreciation against the euro and the dollar led to a 19.8% increase and 22% increase, against EUR and USD respectively. This development is drawing several foreign investors to the capital market. Actually, the inflow of foreign capital has been noted since early in the year, as the proportion of foreign investments came to 40%, compared to last year's average of 30%.
by costi.boroda@mxp.ro, 18.06.2007

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NBR: The insurance market strengthens

The Romanian insurance market has continued to develop, encouraged by the increasing demand for insurance products and by the great advance of the financial mediation in the whole economy and the capital's structure in relation to the activity types and growth of the competition on the market have led to a strengthen of the profile industry, National Bank of Romania (NBR) reveals in its "report over the financial stability".
Thus, the development of the insurance segment and the increase of the connection degree with banking market played a great role in the maintenance of financial stability.
The increase of the capitals according to the insurance solvency norms, the fixed assets' reevaluation, the new insurance companies' authorization and also the growth of the written premiums volume led to an enhance of the insurance companies' total assets with more than 34% last year. In the same time 2006 meant the ending of the harmonization of the technical regulations with the European ones.
According to the report of National Bank of Romania, the insurance market undergoes a period of straighten and capital's growths, the efficiency of the profile companies from Romania continuing to decrease while the solvency margin has maintained above the minimum limit imposed by the Insurance Supervisory Commission. The technical losses registered by some companies on the general insurance segment has determined the imposition of supplementary capital requests and the establishment of the premiums in connection with the assumed risks and the improvement of the administration systems of the risks for the financial strengthen
The gross written premiums had a different evolution on sub insurances' subsections, the most important policies underwritten being life insurances, the annuities and the investment products for life insurances and motor insurances for the general insurance segment. In 2006, the growth rhythm of the life insurance market decrease because of the evolution of motor segment and of enhance of the premiums. Also the penetration degree was up to 1.685 of GDP, being among the lowest in the European Union, National Bank of Romania mentions in its annual publication.
by andreea.ionete@mxp.ro 19.06.2007

The trust in the private pension system, strategic objective
There is less than one month and half until over 3 million of Romanians will have to choose one of the private pension funds authorized by the Supervisory Commission of Private Pension System.
However, according to a survey of the Partnership Centre for Equal Rights, only 4% of Romanians considers themselves very well informed over the private pension system, while more than half declares they know a little and 32% doesn't know anything about this field.
In this context, The PRIMM Magazine - Insurance and Pensions organizes on 28th of June, in Cluj-Napoca the first Regional Forum of Private Pensions.
The event has the official support of the Supervisory Commission of Private Pension System, which will be represented to a high level.
Moreover, the national conferences are one of promotion channels of the message and pieces of information used during the private pension system's promotion campaign.
"The promotion of the population trust in the private pension system is the most important strategic objective of the Supervisory Commission of Private Pension System", Mircea OANCEA has recently stated.
This forum will be honored by the presence of the representatives of local and central authorities, political personalities, the main operators of the private pension field, leaders and specialists in human resources of the most important local companies and press.
by mihaela.circu@mxp.ro, 18.06.2007

ALLIANZ-TIRIAC has a new product on the III-rd Pillar
On March the 19th, the Council of the Supervisory Commission of the Private Pensions System (CSSPP) has authorized the prospect of the voluntary pensions scheme: "AZT VIVACE" of ALLIANZ-TIRIAC Private Pensions. The decision was taken with respect to the Law nr.204/2006 regarding the private pensions and to the law nr.5/2006 regarding the information contained in the media issues related to the private pension funds and to their administrators (the III-rd Pillar).
Also, on the 4th of June, ALLIANZ has launched the first private pensions fund, AZT Moderato.
ALLIANZ-TIRIAC Pensions supports as an Official Partner, the First Regional Private Pensions Forum, which will take place on Thursday, 28th of June at Cluj-Napoca.
The most important themes that are to be analyzed and debated with the occasion of this event are the impact of the pensions reform and the opportunities offered to employers and employees.
This Forum will have as participants, representatives of central and local authorities, political personalities, the main operators from the private pensions field, leaders and specialists in human resources from the most important local companies and the media.
by oleg.doronceanu@mxp.ro, 21.06.2007

The new CEO of INTERAMERICAN is Frans van der ENT
This decision was made by EUREKO, the main shareholder of INTERAMERICAN, taking into account that the mandate of Timo van VOORDEN comes to an end. Timo van VOORDEN has accepted the challenge in the company operational in Holland as Director, Board's member of the Brokers Division.
Frans van der ENT will use all his experience gained in the insurance field as to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the pension's reform from Romania. Not only he brings along his knowledge regarding pensions, but also his knowledge as concern the Central and East Europe, before being General Director of ING Life Insurances and Pensions from Slovakia.
The responsibilities held by Timo van VOORDEN as Country Manager will be assumed by Frans van der ENT, while the non - executive functions as President of the Board Council of INTERAMERICAN Romania, MEDISYSTEM Romania and EUROCLINIC Hospital will be assumed by Eduardo Consiglieri PEDROSO, CEO of IMPERIO France, the operational company Of EUREKO France.
Timo van VOORDEN remains member of the company's Council Board
Frans van der ENT is going to assume his responsibilities starting with 18th of June 2007, until the end of month being assisted by Timo van VOORDEN.
by mihaela.circu@mxp.ro, 18.06.2007

Guarantee Fund for private pension, at the end of the year
A Guarantee Fund for the contributions made to the private pension system is going to be established by the end of this year.
"This will consist in the administrators' contributions, contributions of the private pensions providers and the income from their investment, in order to protect the rights of participants and beneficiaries", Mircea OANCEA, President of the Supervisory Commission of Private Pension System stated.
The contributions to this fund will be made from the administrators' assets
"The Guarantee Fund is going to be administrated and used by a committee formed by one representative of administrators and pensions providers", Mircea OANCEA added.
According to the estimations of the Supervisory Commission of Private Pension System, the normative act regarding the Fund's establishment will be adopted in one month.
At present, the Supervisory Commission of Private Pension System has authorized 4 private pensions' administrators for Pillar III, ALLIANZ-TIRIAC Private Pensions, AVIVA, BCR Life and ING Life, each one with a fund. In the same time, 2 depositories, 3 auditors and 7 mediators - legal persons were authorized. Also, 6,498 marketing agents - natural persons are registered.
"The Supervisory Commission of Private Pension System has received other requests for authorization as administrator of facultative pensions funds, as depository or marketing agents", the President of the authority concluded.
by mihaela.circu@mxp.ro, 15.06.2007

ASITRANS: RON 40 million written premiums in 5 months
In the first 5 months of 2007, ASITRANS underwrote an amount of RON 39.78 million premiums, up with 29.07% in comparison to the similar period of last year.
A spectacular evolution had Motor hull insurances, which grew 271.95%. Moreover, in APRIL ASITRANS launched a Motor Hull, unique at the moment for the Romanian insurance market. Daily Casco offers for 1 EUR/day a coverage both for the hit insured car in an accident and for events that occur independent of the driver's will.
Among the causes that has influenced these evolutions they can mention the quantitative and qualitative development of the sale network and the strategic partnership with insurance brokers", Bogdan Stan, CEO of ASITRANS stated for XPRIMM News.
The main objective of ASITRANS for 2007 is a 50% increase which means EUR 30 million gross written premiums. In the same time, the insurer wants to develop its territorial network up to 100 units.
"We will start to become also a regional company, extending our activity in Bulgaria and Hungary", Bogdan STAN concluded.
by mihaela.circu@mxp.ro, 19.06.2007

Above average growth for property insurance
Romanian insurance companies underwritings for property insurance rose up to EUR 74.64 million in Q1/2007, according to Insurance PROFILE Review. In the first quarter of 2006 gross written premiums valued EUR 45.37 million.
Thus, the real growth in national currency for this insurance segment was 50.78%.
AIG Romania is market leader on property insurance in the analyzed period with a 23.22% market share. The publication notes that AIG Romania posted a 500% real growth for this line of business. ALLIANZ-TIRIAC holds the second position with a 19.95% market share, while UNITA is the third company in top, with 9.2%.
The audited insurance market results for 2006 and Q1/2007 preliminary results are now available for download at the official site of Insurance PROFILE Review: www.insuranceprofile.ro
by mihaela.circu@mxp.ro, 8.06.2007

ALLIANZ-TIRIAC, health insurance market leader
Private health insurance underwritings for the first quarter of 2007 headed up for EUR 2.15 million, according to the Insurance PROFILE Review, a nominal growth in European currency of 33.42% from the last years' same period.
With a 27.14% market share and gross written premiums of EUR 0.58 million, ALLIANZ-TIRIAC is the private health insurance market leader, followed by INTERAMERICAN, with a market share of 20.41% and ING Life, on the third place.
With an assessed potential for 2010 of EUR 150 million, private health insurance still meets a low development, especially due to gaps in the legal framework.
"Defining the base package and implementing the deductibility will certainly set up strong basis for the private health system and will also encourage massive investment in this business segment", Mircea OPRESCU, Health Department Manager within INTERAMERICAN declared.
The audited insurance market results for 2006 and Q1/2007 preliminary results are now available for download at the official site of Insurance PROFILE Review: www.insuranceprofile.ro o
by mihaela.circu@mxp.ro, 5.06.2007

OMNIASIG has green light for pensions
On Tuesday, 12th of June, the Pension society OMNIASIG Pensii received approval from The Supervisory Commission of Private Pension System (CSSPP) to set up a company for administrating compulsory private pensions (2nd Pillar).
This is the first stage of the authorization process for an administrator on the 2nd Pillar.
OMNIASIG Pensii, which has a EUR 5.5 million share capital, belongs to TBI Holding in proportion of 90%, the rest 10% being owned by OMNIASIG.
"Our purpose is to bring on the 2nd Pillar about 350,000 clients, an equivalent of a 10% market share", Cristina NITESCU, the new entity manager, declared.
Among the general conditions a pension society has to meet in order to receive the authorization is the establishment of a corporation which must perform pension funds administration as a unique activity object and to optionally provide private pensions.
Also, the entity name must mandatory contain the collocation "pension fund" and the share capital needs to be represented by nominative shares issued by the society.
"On the 2nd Pillar we have until now nine companies in different authorization stages and we estimate the segment will hold between ten and twelve entities", Mircea OANCEA, Chairman of CSSPP recently declared.
by mihaela.circu@mxp.ro, 13.06.2007

Almost 14% of ASIROM sold on RASDAQ
Twelve special share transactions of the ASIROM Insurance Company have taken place on Thursday 14 june on the RASDAQ market. This way, about 13.82% of the company shares were sold for the amount of 75.42 million lei.
The transactions were closed at the price of 0.85 lei per share. At the end of may, the investment fund BROADHURST has sold, thru 2 special transactions a package of over 95 million of the shares held at ASIROM.
The value of the transaction rises to more than 60.96 million lei, the nominal price of the share being of 0.64 lei, BROADHURST renouncing at 14.5% of the participation of ASIROM.
by mihaela.circu@mxp.ro, 18.06.2007

The Brokers - on the III pillar
7 insurance brokers have been authorized by the Supervisory Commission of the Private Pensions System (CSSPP) to proceed with Intermediation activities on the private pensions segment (III-rd Pillar).
Therefore brokers like AON, QVB, ALLFINANZ, AMSTERDAM Broker a part of the ING Group and ASTOP Broker will be a part of the private pensions intermediation market.
Also, at the time being, 86 markets agents have already been approved. The most persons were authorized by AMSTERDAM Broker.
At CSSPP there are in full authorizing process other 4 demands of brokers present on the insurance market.
At present time, 4 fund administrators are authorized on the third Pillar (ALLIANZ-TIRIAC Private Pensions, AVIVA, BCR Asigurari de Viata and ING Asigurari)
by mihaela.circu@mxp.ro; 15.06.2007

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New rating for ALLIANZ Russia

International rating agency STANDARD&POOR'S has assigned to insurance company ALLIANZ Russia a financial strength rating at a level "BBB-" and affirmed Russia national scale rating at 'ruAA+' (stable outlook), rating agency's press release reads.
"Ratings consider a good level of capitalization and strong operational parameters of the company ", has noted David LEXTON, Credit analyst, STANDARD&POOR'S
Positive influence on assigned ratings renders that fact, that ALLIANZ Russia is a strategically important division of German insurance group ALLIANZ SE. However, the high branch risks connected with activity in the Russian Federation, and modest, though and amplifying position of the ALLIANZ Russia on the Russian market of insurance of commercial risks, constrain level of the ratings.
Besides the expectations, ALLIANZ Russia remains strategically important division for ALLIANZ SE.
The forecast can be reconsidered in the near future as "positive" if business development of the ALLIANZ Russia will reach a level at which stronger competitive advantages of the company will be shown. Also, on the contrary, the ratings forecast can be changed on "negative" if in short term prospect will not be justified any of expectations mentioned above.
by oleg.doronceanu@mxp.ro; 20.06.2007

AXA and BNP PARIBAS together in the Ukraine
France-based insurer AXA and BNP Paribas reached an agreement for the establishment of a partnership on the Ukrainian non-life insurance market.
AXA will acquire from BNP Paribas' subsidiary UKRSIBBANK a 50% stake in its insurance subsidiary: Ukrainian Insurance Alliance (UIA).
Completion of the transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals and is expected to take place before year-end 2007.
AXA will take the management control of the joint-company which will benefit from an exclusive bancassurance distribution agreement with UKRSIBBANK for an initial period of 10 years.
"UIA sells mostly individual motor and property insurance through UKRSIBBANK's 1000 branches. In 2006, it more than doubled its revenues compared to the previous year to USD 35 million. Following this operation, UIA will be well positioned to seize the growth prospects of the Ukrainian market, by combining the strength of UKRSIBBANK's network and AXA's experience in insurance product development, client service and claims management", noted AXA representatives.
"The Ukrainian insurance industry is still very fragmented with top 10 players, including UIA, controlling just above 40% of the market. It enjoys very strong growth potential, with 47 million inhabitants and a very low penetration rate", concluded AXA's officials.
UKRSIBBANK, the Ukrainian retail subsidiary of BNP Paribas, which controls 51% of the bank, is the third largest bank in Ukraine by assets. The bank employs 10,500 people in Ukraine. Its regional network currently amounts to 1,000 branches throughout Ukraine.
BNP Paribas is one of the leading European companies providing banking and financial services, and ranks among the world's top 15 banks by market capitalization. It has 150,000 employees. The group occupies strong positions in three significant fields of activity: Corporate and Investment Banking, Asset Management & Services and Retail Banking. It is present in 85 countries.
by andreea.ionete@mxp.ro; 12.06.2007

ING receives license to start life insurance activities in Russia
The Russian regulatory authorities had approved ING to start life insurance activities in Russia. The license enables ING to implement its strategy of expanding the scope of its operations in Russia with life insurance.
Regarding this fact, Jacques de VAUCLEROY, Executive Board member of ING Group and responsible for Insurance Europe has declared: "Our aim is to build a leading position in Russia. On the back of economic growth and political stability we are convinced that we can make a positive contribution to the development of the Russian life insurance market. ING has a broad experience in setting up new life insurance operations around the world. "
ING expects to launch its operations in the third quarter of 2007. The President of ING Life Insurance Russia, Dr. Olga RUF-FIEDLER, said: "Our goal is to quickly expand our regional footprint by offering competitive life insurance products and providing a high level of client service through a network of professional financial consultants".
The Russian life insurance activities will complement ING's existing banking and pension offering in Russia. ING has been present in Russia since 1994 and is active in corporate banking, Non-State pension funds and leasing.
by irina.galasanu@mxp.ro; 14.06.2007

R&SA signs New Eastern Europe Deal
The UK's ROYAL&SUN ALLIANCE Insurance Group (R&SA) has signed an agreement, to acquire 50 percent of GD II - Global Direct Insurance Investments (GDI), a joint venture with Direct Insurance Financial Investments Ltd. (DIFI), aiming to access the fast growing Eastern European and Russian insurance markets.
R&SA described the move as being the Group's emerging markets' strategy, accelerating delivery of a direct personal lines proposition in the region.
As previously announced, R&SA will pay USD 87.6 million in cash for a 50 percent shareholding together with a further growth, USD 31.8 million of which will be directed at completion for working capital requirements.
The deal is subject to a number of conditions including obtaining DIFI shareholder approval and regulatory consents.
"GDI's main operation is Link4, the leading direct motor insurer in Poland", according to R&SA's newsletter. In 2006, Link4's net written premiums increased by 42 percent to USD 59.7 million.
The joint venture intends to replicate this successful Polish direct model in other attractive markets in the region. GDI recently launched DIRECT Pojistovna, a direct insurance operation in the Czech Republic and expects to start writing direct business in Russia in next year.
"Across Emerging Markets there are exciting opportunities for profitable growth and we have already established strong positions in Asia and Middle East, Latin America and the Baltics. This joint venture gives us a strong platform to lead the development of the Eastern European direct market", Paul WHITTAKER, Emerging Markets CEO had stated.
The group has an experience of almost 300 years, the crucial moment regarding its structure being in 1996, when the biggest companies from UK, ROYAL Insurance and SUN Alliance had associated, creating ROYAL&SUN Alliance. Now, R&SA operates in over 130 countries with more than 20 million of clients.
by irina.galasanu@mxp.ro; 12.06.2007

Life Insurance in Russia: T1/2007 Results
In January-March 2007 Russian companies wrote EUR 132.1 billion in life insurance premiums, up by 11.6% compared with the same period of the previous year, and paid out EUR 53.1 billion in claims, down by 0.5%.
Claims paid to premiums ratio was 40% in Q1 2007, while it stood at 45.1% in January-March 2006. According to the Federal Service for Insurance Supervision (FSIS), claims paid ratio of a third of life insurance companies was 0-10%.
The life insurance market remains concentrated, FSIS experts believe. Top-10 life insurers accounted for over 81% of the market in T1/2007. For all that, only one company - AIG Life (previous name - AIG Russia), a subsidiary of US-based AIG, managed to keep its position in the top-3 list as increased its market share to 14.2% from 10.5%.
by RP Newsline; 18.06.2007

TRIGLAV enters on the pension market of Serbia
National Bank of Serbia (NBS) granted operating license to Slovenian insurance company TRIGLAV, which plans to establish a voluntary pension fund, according to reporter.gr.
New voluntary pension fund - TRIGLAV Penzijski Fondovi - based in Belgrade will become operational as soon as the company is officially registered.
Insurance company TRIGLAV will control 70% of the fund, TRIGLAV DZU 25%, while insurance company TRIGLAV Kopaonik from Belgrade will hold a 5% stake.
Insurance Group TRIGLAV controls 43% of the insurance market of Slovenia, operating in Check Republic, Bosnia Herzegovina and Montenegro.
by oleg.doronceanu@mxp.ro; 19.06.2007

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