Austrian composite insurer Vienna Insurance Group (VIG)
continued to pursue its goal of building a significant presence in
Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), adding a presence in three
additional countries – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – in the
closing weeks of 2007. The additions came via the acquisition of
100 percent of Seesam Life Insurance from Finnish insurer Finnish
Suomi Mutual Life and brought VIG’s presence in CEE to 18

Seesam Life was established in 1993 and subsequently expanded
into Latvia in 1999 and Lithuania in 2001. According to VIG, Seesam
Life has 45, 000 customers in the three countries and generated
total premium income of €13.6 million ($20 million) in 2006.

VIG sees what it terms “enormous potential for growth” in the three
countries served by Seesam Life, given the low penetration of life
insurance: Estonia 0.8 percent, Lithuania 0.6 percent and Latvia
0.2 percent in 2006. Per capita 2006 annual premiums are also low:
Estonia $94, Lithuania $48, Latvia $12. However, growth in the
three markets is rapid, added VIG. In 2006, this was 22 percent in
Estonia, 58 percent in Latvia and 68 percent in Lithuania. The
total population of the three countries is about 7 million.

In addition to the acquisition of Seesam Life, VIG’s transaction
with Suomi Mutual Life included acquisition of 100 percent of the
latter’s life insurance unit in Poland, FinLife TunZ. According to
VIG, FinLife was founded in 1996 and in 2006 generated premium
income of approximately €20 million. FinLife has “a well-developed
independent sales network and has concluded a number of
co-operation agreements in the banking sector”, said VIG. FinLife
will join VIG’s seven existing life and non-life insurance units in

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