BULSTRAD - THE LEADER ON THE GENERAL INSURANCE MARKET IN 2001
The insurance company Bulstrad was the leader on the local general insurance market last year, data of the Association of Bulgarian Insurers showed. The company established its leadership position back in September 2001 by reporting premium proceeds, equal to those for the entire 2000. Currently, Bulstrad holds more than 21% of the local gemeral insurance market by premium incomes exceeding BGN85MN. The Green Card insurance had a decisive influence for Bulstrad's fair performance. Bulstrad began its upward movement in the end of 2000 when the company followed closely the leader DZI (the State Insurance Institute). (Bulstrad's premium proceeds totaled BGN67.8MN then, against DZI's BGN68MN). In the ifrst nine months of 2001 Bulstrad managed to make up for this difference and ultimately topped the list of the best operating local insurers. Each quarter Bulstrad's premium proceeds rose by more than 25%, reaching USD85.1MN in the year-end, up from BGN30.1MN in end-March 2001.DZI is second after Bulstrad, with premium proceeds of BGN69.6MN for 2001. In 2000 the state insurance company was the leader on the local market, but aftrewards yielded the top position to Bulstrad. Insiders commented that this was due to the tension within DZI, caused by the 2-year-long waiting for the state insurer's privatisation.Allianz Bulgaria ranks third, with premumm proceeds of BGN69.4MN. Next comes BulIns with premium proceeds of BGN46MN, followed by the insurance company Vitosha (BGN21MN) and the insurer Energy (BGN18MN).As a whole the growth in general insurance is due to the new products, launched on the market, Luka Dokov, one of the old hands in the branch, commented for the BANKER weekly. The companies offered to consumers European insurances, such as Liability for the Product, which will be required from Bulgarian manufacturers for the country's admission into the European Union. Another novelty are the mandatory professional insurances for doctors, notaries, and managers. The new nuclear risk insurance, which Bulgaria was obliged to close as a member of the Vienna Convention, also influenced the growth in the sector. An additional factor for the rise in the branch was that a consideable part of the insured tangible long-term assets were re-evaluated, leading to an increase in their worth and hence - in premuim proceeds. Moreover, new assets are constantly enetering business, experts comment. The hiked tariffs for mandatory insurances are another important factor.Life insurance companies reported an almost 100% growth (at least according to documents). Their gross premium revenues for 2001 totalled BGN87.2MN, or double the amount for 2000 (BGN44.1MN). DZI-Life rates first among the life insurers, with premium proceeds of almost BGN28MN. It is followed by Orel-Life (BGN26.3MN) and Vitosha-Life (BGN10.3MN).However, there were also skeptic assessments about these results on the part of life insurers' managers. In an interview for the BANKER weekly a week ago Mario Kostov, CEO of Bulstrad DSK-Life, said that the growth in the sector was unrealistic and was mainly due to the rental insurances and the transference of proceeds through them. The charging of taxes on insurances when they are closed and a repeated taxation of premiums after that, remain a problem in life insurance, Luka Dokov commented.