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July 8, 2009updated 13 Apr 2017 8:56am

Vienna Insurance gains further ground in CEE

Already a major player in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), Vienna Insurance Group (VIG) consolidated its position further in the region by shifting into overall top position in Slovakias general and life insurance sectors in the first quarter of 2009, from second position in 2008 This advance came on the back of gross written premium income of 186.23 million ($260 million) which gave the Austrian insurer an overall market share of 33.3 percent

By LII editorial

(FREE) Already a major player in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), Vienna Insurance Group (VIG) consolidated its position further in the region by shifting into overall top position in Slovakia’s general and life insurance sectors in the first quarter of 2009, from second position in 2008.

This advance came on the back of gross written premium income of €186.23 million ($260 million) which gave the Austrian insurer an overall market share of 33.3 percent.

“Assumption of market leadership in Slovakia, one of our core markets, represents the achievement of a further milestone in the realisation of our group strategy in CEE,” said VIG CEO Günter Geyer.

General insurance was the biggest contributor to VIG’s Slovakian premium income, increasing by 8.7 percent compared with the first quarter of 2008 to €114.3 million. However, strongest first quarter growth was registered in the life sector where VIG recorded a 28.2 percent increase in premium income to €71.93 million.

VIG has three life insurance units in Slovakia: Poist’ovna Slovenskej and the soon to be merged Komunálna poist’ovna and Kontinuita poist’ovna. A fourth unit Kooperativa poist’ovna is active in general and life insurance.

In attaining top position in Slovakia’s life market, VIG made special note of the key role played by a 15-year preferred mutual distribution partnership entered into with Austrian bank Erste Bank in 2008.

The agreement formed part of VIG’s acquisition of Erste Bank’s life and general insurance units in Austria and the CEE countries Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia and Romania (see LII 222).

Based on 2007 figures, the €1.4 billion cash deal added some €325 million in annual life premium income and €160 million in general insurance income in CEE. VIG’s acquisition of the Erste Bank units was finalised on 16 September 2008.

Other life and general insurance operations in Bulgaria, Poland, Serbia and Ukraine give VIG complete coverage of CEE, which plays a key and increasing role in the insurer’s fortunes.

Indicatively, in the first quarter of 2009, VIG generated total premium income of €1.06 billion in CEE, up 3.7 percent compared with the first quarter of 2008 and equal to 45.1 percent of VIG’s total premium income (€2.35 billion), compared with 44.1 percent in the first quarter of 2008 and 25.4 percent as recently as 2004.

The main growth driver was life premium income generated in CEE which surged by 24 percent in the first quarter of 2009 to €321.1 million or 36.1 percent of VIG’s total life premium income (€889.3 million), compared with 30.6 percent in the first quarter of 2008 and 18.5 percent in 2004.

Of VIG’s general insurance premium income of €1.37 billion in the first quarter of 2009, CEE contributed €737.72 million or 53.7 percent, down slightly from 55.1 percent in the first quarter of 2008.

In the CEE life sector, the Czech Republic was VIG’s biggest contributor in the first quarter of 2009, generating premium income of €131 million. Slovakia was the second largest contributor, followed by Poland at €58.9 million.

Vienna

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