Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 04/15/2014 -- Poland remains the key market in Central and Eastern Europe. Both of the major segments are substantial by most yardsticks. The market is open to major foreign companies, whose interest in the opportunities has been growing over the last year or so. In the short term, premiums will track sideways in both major segments.
As of early 2014, it remains obvious that Poland is, with the possible exception of the Czech Republic, the largest market in Central and Eastern Europe and one which is too large to ignore. The latest data and comments from the leading insurance companies suggest that the boom in sales of single-premium insurance products to individuals through the bancassurance channel has gone into reverse. Nevertheless, demand for other products remains resilient. There is every chance that life insurance's role as a conduit for organised savings will continue to grow through the forecast period.
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In contrast to other countries in Central and Eastern Europe, premiums had been growing at respectable rates - and for most companies - in the non-life segment. A number of positive factors, such as higher prices and the introduction of new products, were at work. The implication is that difficult economic conditions have not had the impact that might have been expected. Many companies benefited from lower claims in 2012 relative to 2011. However, as has been well documented, flooding and natural catastrophes took their toll in H113. Mainly because of competitive pressures within the segment, we see no catalyst for non-life penetration to rise meaningfully from what is a fairly low level.
The consolidation of the sector paused in 2013. In early 2012, Talanx emerged as a new and significant force through its acquisition of Warta and Europa, from KBC and Getin Holding respectively. In mid-2012, VIG completed its acquisition of the specialist life insurer Polisa. VIG has also completed the integration of two of its non-life businesses, Interrisk and PZM. Taking the longer term view, we note that the competitive landscape remains fragmented: consolidation will likely resume in the coming years.
Key BMI Forecasts:
- Total premiums written should slip by 2.1% to US$19.4bn in 2014.
- Life premiums will fall by 3.3% to US$11.1bn.
- Non-life premiums will contract by 0.3% to US$8.3bn.
- Within this total, motor insurance premiums will drop by 1.2% to US$4.6bn.
- Property insurance premiums will rise by 3.0% to US$1.7bn.
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