New Market Report: Estonia Insurance Report 2014

From: Fast Market Research, Inc.
Published: Wed Nov 27 2013

In theory, Estonia should be one of the most dynamic markets for insurance in Central and Eastern Europe. The reality is rather more prosaic

The business environment is sound. The regulator is highly regarded. In the recent past, the economy has been resilient, if not exactly booming. Most importantly, the local subsidiaries of very substantial multi-nationals dominate the non-life segment and comprise the life segment. These are companies that are able to gain economies of scale through operating in much larger markets nearby (e.g. Scandinavia or Austria) as well as across all three of the Baltic states. Even if the economic, political and business environments of Estonia were very challenging, foreign majors such as VIG (which operates as Compensa), RSA, Gjensidige Baltic, ERGO, SEB Life & Pensions, Swedbank, Seesam and the local offshoots of Finland's Sampo (If P&C and Mandatum Life) could cope easily.

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TIn spite of an ageing demographic profile and limited social security, life premiums remain at around US $70 per capita in a country where annual incomes are around EUR12,000. Notwithstanding a surge in popularity of unit-linked products, which has produced double digit growth in overall life premiums in 2013, the vast majority of the population appears not to use life insurance. In short, too many Estonians are too poor, and/or not (yet) sufficiently well informed about its benefits to use life insurance as a part of their savings plans.

Over the last few years, non-life penetration appears to have stabilised at around 1.6% of GDP. The segment is dominated by motor-related lines. This is positive, in that there is a significant element of compulsion (or perceived) need. The segment has resilience. However, intense competition appears to be driving prices and margins downwards.

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