Extending its reach further
in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), composite insurer Vienna
Insurance Group (VIG) has been granted a licence to establish a
life insurance unit in Macedonia.

The life licence also builds
on VIG’s presence in Macedonia where it has operated a general
insurance unit since 2007.

The new life insurance unit’s
distribution is to be undertaken by Sparkasse Bank Makedonija, a
unit of Austrian bank Erste Group. The alliance in Macedonia
extends the number of countries in which VIG and Erste have
distribution ties to 10.

According to VIG, although
Macedonia has a population of only 2m, it has “considerable
potential for growth in the insurance sector”.

Average annual insurance
premiums stand at only €50 ($65) per capita while penetration is a
mere 1.5% of GDP.

In CEE, VIG also has units in
Albania, Belarus, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia,
Croatia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Poland, Romania,
Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Turkey and Ukraine.

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VIG first entered CEE in
October 1990 when it established Slovakian general insurer
Kooperativa poist’ovña. VIG’s Slovakian unit also represented the
first private insurance company in the former Eastern European
reform countries.