UNIQA enters Albanian, Kosovar market

Tirana, 23 March 2007 – UNIQA Group Austria has agreed on an extensive co-operation with Sigal, the largest Albanian insurance company. With a market share of 28% Sigal is by far Albania’s largest insurance provider and also possesses subsidiaries and representations and, accordingly, a market presence in Kosovo and Macedonia. The agreement with Sigal is an excellent basis for extending the preferred partnership distribution cooperation of UNIQA with the Raiffeisen Banking Group in this dynamic region.

Simultaneously with the start of the co-operation UNIQA has secured the possibility of a majority acquisition in Sigal in 2010 by means of a fixed option in the contract. This agreement is in line with UNIQA’s strategic orientation towards a well thought-trough, step-by-step internationalisation of the group into South and Southeastern Europe. UNIQA also supports Sigal with its international experience in the areas of product development, in particular in life and health insurances, and in training and marketing. This taken together with Sigal’s excellent knowledge of local markets further improves the preconditions of joint future successes.

Sigal was founded in 1999 as one of Albania’s first private insurance companies and has operationally active subsidiaries in Albania, Kosovo, and Macedonia. In the year 2006 the Sigal group achieved a premium volume of approximately 19.2 mio. euros (+20%) with its 228 salaried employees and more than 190,000 insurance contracts. Overall, In the region, Sigal companies possess a comprehensive sales network offering the entire range of insurance products and services. Sigal has repeatedly been awarded as Albania’s prime insurance company.

Albanian, Kosovar, and Macedonian insurance markets
Earning 36.6 mio. euros in the year 2006, the ten insurance companies operating in the Albanian market have increased their premium volume by 11.4% over the previous year. Approximately 7% of the premium income are deriving from the fast-paced life insurance market. The insurance concentration (premiums per capita) and penetration (share of premiums in GDP) amounting to approximately 10 euros and 0.4% are naturally far below the values seen in Western European countries.

In Kosovo, which came into existence as an independent insurance market in the year 2000, there are currently nine insurance companies active in the non-life sectors exclusively. The total premium volume of the market amounts to approximately 40 mio. euros, 90% of which pertain to the automobile sector.

The ten insurances operating in Macedonia are achieving a premium volume total of 85 mio. euros. The automobile sector again dominates the market taking up a share of 57%. Currently only one single company offers life insurances.