By Radomir Ralev
The gross written premiums (GWP) of the top insurers in Southeast Europe continued to expand, though at a slower pace than a year earlier amid high inflation, a slowdown in economic activity and geopolitical uncertainties. Profit growth too decelerated, following a robust double-digit increase a year earlier. Nevertheless, the sector remained stable and resilient.
The combined GWPs of the region’s 100 biggest insurers stood at 10.6 billion euro in 2022, as compared to 9.7 billion euro booked by the entrants in the ranking a year earlier. This translates into 9.3% growth in 2022 versus an increase by 11.65% a year earlier.
Five companies registered a decline in their GWP in 2022, as many as a year earlier.
The region’s top insurers reported a total net profit of 634.2 million euro in 2022, up by 5.8% as compared to the profit posted by the biggest insurers in the region a year earlier. In 2021, SEE’s biggest insurers saw their combined net profit jump by 26%.
Ljubljana-based Zavarovalnica Triglav generated close to onefifth of the total net profit of the region’s biggest insurers.
Triglav’s uncontested dominance
Zavarovalnica Triglav was the top insurer in Southeast Europe for yet another year, comfortably ahead of the pack and continuing to improve on its own financial performance. Its GWP amounted to 868.9 million euro, up from 794.4 million euro a year earlier.
Zavarovalnica Triglav was also the top performer in terms of net profit earned in 2022 with 120.5 million euro versus 73.4 million euro in 2021. Its net profit was more than double that of the runner-up by this indicator, Romania’s Allianz – Tiriac Asigurari.
Zavarovalnica Triglav reported premium growth in all three insurance segments and in all insurance markets where it is active. The company maintained its leading position among insurance groups in the highly-concentrated Slovenian market where its 38.9% overall market share is supported by a robust 46.4% share of the non-life insurance segment.
Romania’s Groupama Asigurari gained five spots to the second place with GWP of 601.1 million euro. It recorded the second largest increase in GWP, by 82.5 million euro, driven by strong growth in property and casualty insurance. The company booked a six-fold increase in net profit to 26.5 million euro. At the end of 2022, Groupama Asigurari held a share of 18.02% on the Romanian market. Its leading market position was backed by a solid 21.04% market share on the non-life insurance market.
Another Romanian insurer, Allianz – Tiriac Asigurari, came third in the ranking, replacing Euroins Romania Asigurare Reasigurare, against which bankruptcy proceedings have been launched. Allianz – Tiriac Asigurari booked a 41.5% rise in GWP to 581.9 million euro amid a robust growth in auto and health insurance subscriptions. The increase in GWP was also driven by the acquisition of local sector player Gothaer Asigurari, whose contribution was estimated at about 20 million euro. Allianz – Tiriac Asigurari recorded a 60% growth in car civil liability premium income in 2022, with policies in the property and health insurance segments expanding by 16% and 23%, respectively. Life insurance corresponded to 9.7% of total GWP at the end of 2022. The net profit of Allianz Tiriac Asigurari doubled to 48.8 million euro from 24.3 million euro. The company’s market share was 17.44%.
Grawe Romania Asigurare reported the steepest growth in GWP among the entrants in the ranking – by 83% to 108.4 million euro. However, in terms of places gained, the most impressive leap in the ranking was recorded by Romania’s Signal Iduna Asigurare Reasigurare which climbed up 18 positions to the 51th spot. It posted a 45% growth in GWP to 41.4 million euro in 2022.
On the opposite side of the table, another Romanian insurer, BRD Asigurari de Viata, recorded the steepest decline of GWP – by 35% to 46.9 million euro, dragged down by a decrease of over 50% in life insurance with an investment component.
Slovenian and Romanian insurers dominated the top ten positions of the ranking, but Bulgaria had the highest total number of representatives in the ranking, 17.
In terms of profit, Slovenian insurers were the top performers. They booked a combined profit of 185.4 million euro in 2022, followed by Romanian and Bulgarian insurance companies, with 162.5 million euro and 119.7 million euro, respectively.
Interestingly, the fifth place in the ranking in terms of profit was taken by Bulgaria’s DZI – Life Insurance, otherwise 47th in terms of GWP, with a net result of 28.9 million euro.
A total of 12 entrants in the ranking reported a loss in 2022, at a combined 37.7 million euro, versus a total loss of just above 13 million euro reported by six insurers in 2022.
Slovenian insurer Modra Zavarovalnica stands out in this department, as it recorded a loss of 15.9 million euro in 2022, nearly half of the total loss reported by the top hundred SEE insurers. Modra Zavarovalnica incurred a 15.5 million euro loss from investments, as the returns on all funds managed by the company were negative.
Croatia’s Uniqa Osiguranje booked the second largest loss among the ranking entrants, of 5.2 million euro, although its GWP rose 10.5% to 88.3 million euro.
Two other Uniqa subsidiaries in SEE, Bulgaria’s Uniqa AD and Uniqa Life Insurance, booked a loss of 3.8 million euro and 3.4 million euro, respectively, but their GWPs too increased. In March 2022, Uniqa started a transformation of its operations in SEE, aiming to strengthen its market position. However, its representatives in the ranking fell to eight from eleven a year earlier.
A total of six new entrants made it into the ranking, as three of them are headquartered in Moldova. Chisinau-based Moldasig booked a 55.5% growth in GWP to 19.4 million euro, the third-largest growth among the SEE TOP 100 insurers. Moldasig’s impressive GWP growth, however, did not compensate for a 1.2 million euro net investment loss which resulted in a 700,000 euro net loss for 2022.