Top insurers boast double-digit profit growth, City Insurance closes in on Slovenian giants

By Mario Tanev

The biggest insurers in Southeast Europe (SEE) enjoyed another year of strong premium and profit growth in 2019 before facing the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic. Amid healthy economic growth and improving labour conditions in the region in 2019, members of this year’s edition of the ranking achieved a combined profit of over 500 million euro, or a 28.4% rise compared with their results in 2018.

The biggest insurers in the region also crushed the 8.1 billion euro gross written premiums (GWP) record achieved by the top 100 of 2018. The members of this year’s edition of the ranking generated GWP of 8.8 billion euro, improving by 9.8% their own performance compared with 2018.

The top 10 include the same members as last year but a few of them traded places. Slovenian giant Zavarovalnica Triglav once again topped the chart with GWP of over 659 million euro, up 4.1% year-on-year. The company also achieved the largest profit among its peers, of 70.6 million euro. The other Slovenian heavyweight – Zavarovalnica Sava, followed in second place for a fourth consecutive year. The insurer increased its GWP by 9.3% to nearly 429 million euro.

The success Zavarovalnica Triglav and Zavarovalnica Sava was underpinned by a healthy growth of GWP of the overall market in Slovenia, as well as by the higher insurance penetration and insurance density when compared with other countries in the region. Despite that, both insurance penetration and insurance density in SEE still lag significantly behind the levels in Western Europe.

The dominance of the top three biggest insurers in the past three editions of the ranking was broken by City Insurance. Romania’s largest insurer claimed the third place from Croatia Osiguranje after another year of strong GWP growth. City Insurance grew its premiums by 28.8% to slightly over 400 million euro in 2019 and is now breathing in Zavarovalnica Sava’s neck. The Romanian insurer has shown remarkable GWP growth ever since it entered the ranking ten years ago and has outpaced the two Slovenian giants in each of those ten years.

Croatia Osiguranje and Serbia’s Dunav Osiguranje were the only insurers outside Slovenia and Romania to make it to the top 10 of the ranking. Dunav Osiguranje took the tenth spot with GWP of some 242 million euro.

Slovenian members of this year’s ranking generated the highest combined GWP, of 2.3 billion euro. Romania came in close second, with its members of the ranking posting GWP of 2.2 billion euro. Slovenia has 14 representatives in this year’s ranking, while Romania has one more.

Despite booking significantly lower combined GWP – of 1.4 billion euro, Bulgaria dominated the ranking in terms of the number of members, 19, in evidence of the relatively higher fragmentation of the local insurance market.

The highest- ranked Bulgarian insurer was Lev Ins, which gained one spot and ranked 17th in 2019. Bulstrad Vienna Insurance Group and DZI – General Insurance followed, retaining their 19th and 20th place, respectively.

In terms of GWP growth, two Bulgarian companies are worth a mention. DZI – Life Insurance boosted its GWP by 82.5% to some 39 million euro, while Dall Bogg Zhivot i Zdrave posted a 74.5% rise to 73.2 million euro. DZI – Life Insurance climbed 24 places to 48th position in the ranking, while Dall Bogg Zhivot i Zdrave gained seven places to 39th spot.

Three Romanian companies – Grawe Romania Asigurare, BRD Asigurari de Viata and Generali Romania, followed with GWP increases of over 50% each.

The top 10 insurers ranked by GWP growth all came from Bulgaria and Romania.

In terms of profit, Slovenia once again dominated the ranking with a combined result of over 168 million euro. More than half, some 109 million euro, was generated by Zavarovalnica Triglav and Zavarovalnica Sava.

Romanian members of the ranking lagged behind in terms of profit, with a combined result of some 43 million euro. The country’s overall performance was impacted by the fact that six of its entrants closed 2019 with a net loss. Groupama Asigurari posted the largest loss among all 100 members – of 12.6 million euro. Euroins Romania Asigurare Reasigurare and Asirom Vienna Insurance Group followed with losses of 9.1 million euro and 7.7 million euro, respectively.

The only members of the ranking outside Romania to post a loss in 2019 were Bulgaria’s Groupama Insurance and North Macedonia’s UNIQA AD. The two posted slim losses of 800,000 euro and 400,000 euro, respectively.

The Members of the ranking from Croatia, Serbia and Bulgaria all beat Romania in terms of profits. The Croatian entrants posted profits of 105.7 million euro, followed by Serbia with 95.3 million euro and Bulgaria with 66.4 million euro.

Slovenia and North Macedonia posted the highest number of new entrants –
two each. Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova and Montenegro followed with one each. The new entrant from Moldova – Grawe Carat Asigurari, was also the country’s only representative in the ranking. The company entered the ranking in 97th place.

No insurers from Kosovo managed to cross the participation threshold, which stood at 12.2 million euro in this year’s edition, of the ranking, slightly down from 12.5 million euro.

Slovenia’s Triglav Pokojninska Druzba was the highest-ranked new entrant, sitting in 60th place.

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SEE TOP 100 insurers is a ranking of the largest insurers (excluding re-insurers) in Southeast Europe in terms of gross written premium from non-consolidated income statements for 2019. To allow comparison, all local currencies have been converted into euro, using the central banks’ official exchange rates on the last working day of 2019 and 2018, respectively. Local currency figures have been used when calculating year-on-year changes. All data is sourced from central banks, national commercial registers, financial supervision commissions, insurance associations, government and corporate websites, and companies themselves. The initial pool of companies exceeds 200 insurers.

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