Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 10/12/2012 -- Key Insights And Key Risks
The Greece Insurance Report considers the prospects for both life and non-life insurers in the country. The latest statistics from the Hellenic Association of Insurance Companies (EAEE) point to a single-digit contraction in premiums in both of the main segments during 2011. However, given the economic turmoil through much of last year, which has persisted in 2012, this is a respectable outcome. Overall profitability has suffered as the result of the general volatility in financial markets and the need for most insurers to make substantial write-downs in relation to their holdings of Greek government bonds.
BMI remains impressed by the resilience of premiums in the non-life segment, which appears to have persisted into Q212. This suggests that in spite of all the challenges there are still large numbers of households that can afford to pay for non-life insurance. The limited data published by insurers over the first six months of 2012 indicates that many companies have raised their profitability levels, thanks to lower claims or reduced operating costs.
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The small size of the decrease in premiums in the life segment that was reported for 2011 and Q112 seems even more remarkable. In particular, it appears that premiums have held up much better in Greece than in Portugal, where the current economic and financial situation is broadly similar. Taking the very long view, it is possible that structural reforms adopted by, or forced on, the Greek government will result in far greater use of life insurance as a conduit for retirement savings and/or provision for other eventualities. However, the economic and social turmoil will have to continue for quite a while before that stage is reached.
Over the last quarter, BMI has made the following changes:
- There is a discussion of the results for last year that were released by insurers during H112.
- In particular, we look at comments from Ethniki Insurance, the insurance affiliate of National Bank of Greece.
- The analysis takes into account BMI's latest assessment of the unfolding financial, economic and political crises in Greece.
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