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Over the past decades, the CEE insurance markets have developed very dynamically, with double-digit annual premium growth rates in many cases. These growth rates were well above those of the insurance markets in Western Europe. “The integration of the former AXA subsidiaries – the biggest corporate acquisition in UNIQA’s history and the biggest acquisition by an Austrian insurance group in CEE at around € 1 billion – is progressing extremely satisfactorily. Our Group-wide premium growth of 17 per cent in the first half of 2021 is driven primarily by the markets in CEE, while the contribution to earnings is in line with our expectations overall and shows the major potential for our market position. The whole team has done excellent work over the past months, and we are looking ahead very positively to a shared UNIQA future in CEE,” says Wolfgang Kindl, Management Board member for Customer & Market International at UNIQA Insurance Group AG.
From an Austrian company to an international group
Up until 2001, UNIQA operated as a relatively small player in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Croatia, with a CEE premium share of around 2 per cent and a CEE customer share of around 4 pro cent. “UNIQA’s involvement in CEE over the past decades has definitely been a success story! By 2010, we had gradually expanded this market presence and grown into one of the top 10 CEE insurers. With the acquisition of the ex-AXA companies in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, we are now one of the top 5 CEE insurers in 2021 with premium income of more than € 2.3 billion. 75 per cent of UNIQA’s current customers come from the international insurance markets. In addition to the revenue and earnings potential mentioned before, the region’s innovativeness is another strategic success factor for the UNIQA Group. We have transformed ourselves from an Austrian group with international activities into an international group with its headquarters in Vienna,” adds Wolfgang Kindl.
International companies contribute 37.1 per cent to total Group premiums
In the UNIQA International segment, premiums written – including the savings portion of unit- and index-linked life insurance – increased by 57.8 per cent to € 1,228.8 million in the first six months of 2021 (January to June 2020: € 778.9 million), chiefly due to the first-time consolidation of the AXA CEE companies. The international companies thus contributed 37.1 per cent of total Group premiums in the first half of 2021 (January to June 2020: 27.5 per cent).
CEE region offers considerable potential
The economic upturn after COVID-19 should also lead to increased demand for insurance. The pandemic has brought about a significant rise in risk awareness and demand, for example in healthcare. Demand for life insurance in Eastern Europe is also likely to recover again in general, as there is a continuing need for independent provisions aside from the state pension systems. In all insurance markets in CEE, UNIQA still sees considerable development potential and high convergence potential as the region moves closer to Western Europe due to higher GDP growth.
Overview of UNIQA’s involvement in CEE:
UNIQA GroupThe UNIQA Group is one of the leading insurance groups for its core markets of Austria and Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Around 23,500 employees and exclusive sales partners serve around 15.5 million customers in 18 countries. UNIQA is the second-largest insurance group in Austria with a market share of more than 21 per cent. UNIQA operates in 15 markets in the CEE growth region: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Hungary, Kosovo, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine. The UNIQA Group also includes insurance companies in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
© UNIQA Group 2021