Sunday, 18 July 2021

Gross Premiums Written by Croatian Insurers Total HRK 6.4 Bn in June

ZAGREB, 18 July, 2021- Gross premiums written by Croatian insurance companies in the first six months of 2021 totalled HRK 6.4 billion, which is a 13.1% increase year-on-year, show data released by the Croatian Insurance Bureau (HUO).

Gross non-life insurance premiums increased by 13.1% to HRK 4.8 billion, and gross life insurance premiums went up by 13.3% to HRK 1.6 billion.

Motor vehicle liability insurance continues to be the most prevalent type of non-life insurance, with gross premiums written in the amount of HRK 1.5 billion, an increase of 17% on the year.

Traditional life insurance plans accounted for the largest portion of life insurance, with premiums in the amount of HRK 1.3 billion, 14.6% up from June 2020.

Croatia Osiguranje, Euroherz, Allianz cover a half of insurance market

Croatia Osiguranje (CO) still holds the biggest market share in terms of gross premiums, of 26.7%, with gross premiums written having increased by 7.9% on the year, to HRK 1.7 billion.

It is followed by Euroherc, with a market share of 11.5% and an increase in gross premiums written of 14.8% to HRK 736.7 million.

Allianz ranks third, and it registered an increase in gross premiums written of 11.8% to HRK 719.9 million, and a market share of 11.2%.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

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Friday, 11 June 2021

Number of Insured Persons in Croatia in May Up by 3.3% YOY

ZAGREB, 11 June 2021 - The number of insured persons registered with the Croatian Pension Insurance Institute (HZMO) increased to 1,573 949 in May 2021, or 3.3% more than in May 2020, thus rising for four months in a row, the HZMO reported on Friday.

Broken down by business activity, the highest number, 245,053, are in the processing industry, and 239,352 in the wholesale and retail trade sector.

In comparison to May 2020, the highest increase of 8,200 more insured persons was registered in the construction industry, and 7,730 more in the hospitality and catering industry.

For more news about Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 22 March 2021

VIDEO: Zagreb Earthquake 2020, One Year Later

March 22, 2021- On the Zagreb Earthquake 2020 first anniversary, TCN reporters Ivor Kruljac and Jose Alfonso Kusijanović took to Zagreb's streets to see how locals feel one year later. 

6:24 AM March 22, 2020. It was Sunday, but sleep was as light as it was a workday full of obligations. Zagreb's citizens were awakened by a horrible sound followed by walls shaking, the ground trembling and things falling all over the place. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, at the very end of the first week of the first lockdown where it was advised to stay indoors to prevent the spread of the virus, there was no choice but to rush out of the house, discombobulated and without a clue of what exactly is the damage that 5.5 magnitude earthquake did. Individuals, couples, and entire families were outside but at a distance from one another, and just after the first aftershock, it started to snow. If you didn't leave the very center of Zagreb, the first sign of damage was the cathedral, whose top of the left tower collapsed, and only later you started to see the images of the center, which many compared online to Beirut. The Covid-19 National Response Team expressed its condolences on TV but warning everyone to keep the distance due to corona. Emergency services rushed to the city, later followed by the army. People who lost their homes were taken to student dorms and other locations with free space in the following days. Sadly, a 15-year-old-girl was fatally injured during the earthquake and passed away at Klaićeva's Children Hospital.

One year later, citizens of Zagreb still have mixed feelings about the event. Here are their answers in our short interview.

 

Shaking the memory

Senior citizen Ljerka was walking around European Square. Her home survived the quake, and the aftermath was books that fell from a shelf and broken bottles and jars in her pantry.  She learned about that damage after a few days when she returned home from her sister's because she was too scared to be alone. The memory of last year still gives her the chills. „I jumped out of bed and lost my head; you have no idea where to go. You don't know what to do. I quickly grabbed something, half-dressed, rushed to the street. People were standing outside confused who didn't know where to go or what to do, nothing“, she said. Describing herself as an optimistic person, the scary experience is still stuck with her even one year later. „You remember it from time to time, but you can't forget it," said Ljerka.

A young guy named Dejan Jakovljević was casually walking around a crowded Dolac market, carefully with a mask to respect the measures in the crowds. He handled the earthquake pretty well as he lives in a new building with lots of concrete and reinforcement. 

„It woke me up, but I knew it was an earthquake. It didn't scare me. I just waited for it to be over“, said Dejan. Responding to how he feels about it one year later, he briefly acknowledged that he „honestly forgot about it. “

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Borna Filic / PIXSELL

The same can't be said for American-born Stefanie Mikac from New York. We met her while she was walking her dog in Zrinjevac park. Her home was badly damaged. „I was in the bathroom dancing left and right. I didn't think it was an earthquake, I thought 'what is it, the devil had come!’ and there was smoke“, remembered Stefanie. When she realized it was an earthquake, she hid under the door, and when it passed, she searched for her dog that hid in the apartment before finally escaping her flat. On her trip to Hawaii, where earthquakes are quite frequent, she accepted that there is not much you can do against mother nature. Despite her bad experience, a year later, she feels safe in Zagreb. „Very secure, safe. You know, you have to take things as they come, “ said Stephanie sharing her positive attitude.

We spotted Mira Francem walking on Jelačić square. Her house was built following all the construction demands and proved to be earthquake-proof. Still, the rocky feeling isn't something that she liked. „I personally felt terrible. I had a feeling the whole world was collapsing, and in the end, that feeling of losing the ground under my feet is an instinct, you know?”, said Mira adding that even though her house is fine, the trembling ground was awful. When asked if there is still anxiety over the last year's event, she resoundingly repeated, “yes.”

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Borna Filic / PIXSELL

Mladen Habuš was standing on Vlaška street that connects European Square with Kaptol, where the City's cathedral is located.

“My home was okay. The earthquake surprised everyone at first, but fortunately, they don't last, so you stabilize psychologically”, said Mladen calmly, as if it didn’t really leave an impression on him.

“I already forgot about it because it's not as frequent as in Glina or Petrinja, whereas they say, it shakes every five minutes,” he emphasized, and that the key is to remain relaxed. 

December – another round, another rumble

The second earthquake with a 6.4 magnitude that hit Petrinja and ravaged Banovina / Banija didn't damage Zagreb as it did to the southern part of central Croatia. Still, it was certainly felt, and many agreed it was stronger than the one in March.

„Jesus Christ! That one was even worse!“said Ljerka the second I mentioned the Petrinja earthquake. She learned that Zagreb is situated in a seismic active area, and earthquakes are something people in Zagreb need to learn to live with, but March didn't make her welcome the December tremble with more ease. She ran out of the house, not knowing what when her niece, who also lives in Zagreb, called her.

„I asked her if there was another earthquake in Zagreb. I didn't get anything. She said, 'no, that's the aftermath of Petrinja.' We are really close to Petrinja“, said Ljerka.

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Nikola Cutuk / PIXSELL

Stephanie was walking her dog during the Petrinja earthquake. She witnessed bricks falling and was relieved nobody was passing underneath at the time. However, when she returned home, she entered the mess, and the damages that were still not fixed from March intensified. „All the cracks are wider now, and everything will need to be taken down to get to the healthy wall,” said Stephanie.

When asked if the December quake was easier or the same to handle for her, she laughed, acknowledging that it was actually worse.  “We repeated the reactions from the first earthquake, you know? It's a very unpleasant feeling even today when a tram passes or something buzzes. I think something is trembling, and we are quite tense”, shared Mira. She said that no matter how rational you are, consequences as emotions are different from rationale.  “I'm really sorry for those people. My house isn't damaged, but I was scared and lost, and I can only imagine how those people felt. It's a huge catastrophe on which we cannot influence,” said Mira with empathy.

Dejan felt the December quake was stronger but feeling safe in his building; he wasn't too worried. “I instinctively rushed to save the TV. Everything else was irrelevant”, recalled Dejan with gentle laughter underneath his mask.

Despite Mladen being relaxed after Petrinja, anxiety crept up on him too. “You start listening; someone starts a car, you raise your head to see what's going on. You are expecting another earthquake”, said Mladen. Still, he added that “you get used to it.”  

 

Insurance vs. safe building

As revealed earlier this year, 85% of Croatian households don't have earthquake insurance.

Dejan doesn't know if the building had insurance but given his building proved safe, he didn't seem too concerned with that question.

Mira also didn't have insurance, but her investment in the safe building certainly paid off.

Stephanie's home was badly damaged, but she pays 1200 kuna annually for insurance and says it isn't too expensive in Croatia. However, regarding the walls in her home that need to be fixed, there was a bit of an issue. „The insurance company actually secured only the furniture, but then through a lawyer, we made a deal to cover half of it. Something is better than nothing“, said Stephanie.

Ljerka complemented her landlord and how she manages things. Her building received a green sticker but chimneys needed to be removed. Insurance helped there a lot. „We took down the chimney ourselves, and we got the money back, I think 3000 kuna, “ said Ljerka. The roof was renewed a year or two ago, but the same couldn't be said about the terrace residents have in the back of the building. Insurance didn't want to cover it, and a loan was needed to be taken for the fixture.

City officials to the rescue! Or not?

Both the country and international community, not to mention companies and individuals, rushed to help Zagreb, and the now-deceased mayor Milan Bandić found himself challenged to return Zagreb to its old glory and shine as fast as possible. The situation even called for a Zagreb reconstruction bill on the parliament level as the government took the lead in rebuilding the city. In the meantime, Bandić passed away, and with local elections coming up, the city's repair remains a topic for all the candidates that hope to take the lead chair of city politics in May.

Regarding the response of the city officials, Ljerka isn't happy.

„What did the city do? Nothing. It was all ruins. Look at what Zagreb looks like now after the earthquake. How long has passed, and nothing is done. Nothing. Only the houses that people renovated themselves, but the city gave nothing”, commented Ljerka. She did, however, add that the city doesn’t have money and that she understands that.

Mira shares Ljerka's opinion that the situation is better for those who organized repairs privately. Still, when it comes to the city authority response, she says, „it should have gone faster, better, and more organized. “

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Borna Filic / PIXSELL

„I see a lot of my friends who live in the center. It's all at a standstill. For those who engaged themselves privately, it is better, but otherwise, it is prolonged. It needs to be better, more active, more engaged to ease the people and make them stronger."

Dejan also thinks that the authorities' response was not good and that “they should help people.“

When asked to comment on the city's response to the earthquake damage, Stephanie was hesitant at first. She feared many people would disagree with her opinion and her different way of thinking because she lived in the US.

“Over there, we have asbestos insurance and insurance for everything. If you have a bank loan and the bank has input on the house, you have to have insurance”, explained Stephanie asking me if it is fair for her to pay the insurance while others don’t and later demand the city to pay for everything. “Imagine if the city would fix apartments for everyone and secure the buildings. Nobody would ever do that anywhere. They may give you a percentage, but that's it,” concludes Stephanie.  

Mladen is happy with the city's response.

“I think the city, to my knowledge and how much I followed, was the only one that jumped to help those who lost their homes and put them in free spaces,” Mladen pointed out. He also reminds us that the government took over the rebuild and the city is involved with 20%. When asked if it’s good for Zagreb that the government took the lead over the city, a resounding yes was the final answer. “The city doesn't have enough money, so the government needs to jump in," concluded Mladen.  

Steady ground wishes above all

Being the biggest and the capital city of Croatia, which attracts people from everywhere in the country and beyond, Zagreb streets offered truly diverse answers to Jose and me. There was more or less fright on March 22, 2020, and different levels of anxiety today. Different views on insurance and the city’s response. We can only guess how differently they will vote in May. But one wish is the constant for the Purger's hearth - the wish to see Zagreb as a safe city where you only get awakened by an alarm clock.   

 For more about the earthquake in Zagreb, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 4 January 2021

Earthquake Insurance Premium Rises 28%

ZAGREB, 4 January, 2021 - It is estimated that the earthquake insurance premium at the end of 2020 will total around HRK 110 million, up 28% on the year, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) said on Monday.

The devastating earthquakes which hit Croatia last year have caused over HRK 100 billion worth of damage and many people have lost their properties, so it is not surprising that after the tremor which struck Zagreb and its environs in March there was an increase in earthquake insurance, the HGK said, adding that the tremors which struck Sisak-Moslavina County last week will certainly further raise people's awareness of the need for earthquake insurance.

It is estimated that the number of insurance policies by the end of last year will have risen to 140,000, up 30% from 2019, the HGK said, adding that the average earthquake insurance premium was HRK 800.

The HGK said that although the property insurance premium was rising, it amounted to €48 per capita, far below the EU average of €168.

The big disproportion of investing in property insurance in Croatia is especially worrying considering that besides Greece, Turkey, North Macedonia and Italy, Croatia is in tectonically the riskiest part of Europe, the HGK said.

After the March 2020 earthquake, insurance companies paid HRK 237.5 million and processed 7,269 damages claims by the end of November, the HGK said, adding that the Zagreb quake showed that an extremely low percentage of apartment buildings had earthquake insurance.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Allianz: Croatian Insurance Market Expected to Contract by 5.5% in 2020

ZAGREB, July 2, 2020 - This year will be challenging for the Croatian insurance market due to the coronavirus as premiums are projected to fall by 5.5%, but the market is expected to rebound in 2021 with an increase of 5.6%, according to a global report by the Allianz insurance group published on Thursday.

Allianz estimates that in Croatia life insurance premiums could fall by 3.4% and property and accident insurance by 6.5%.

However, after stagnating, a quick recovery is expected in 2021 and the market should grow by 5.6%. It is expected that Croatia will reach an overall annual growth of 3.6% by 2030, Alliance said and added that that is far better than the growth rate of 0.4% recorded in the previous decade.

The Eastern Europe market, which includes Croatia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Turkey and Ukraine, last year recorded a growth rate of 8.6% with premiums amounting to a total of €64 billion, half of which can be attributed to Russia and Poland.

However, 2020 will be challenging for Eastern Europe, with Allianz estimating that revenue from premiums will stagnate and life insurance will decrease by 1% while the non-life insurance segment might increase by 0.6%.

Things look a little brighter in the long run and the region should recover in 2021 with a growth of about 9%. By 2030 it is estimated that the growth could reach 6.1%.

Co-author of the report Patricia Pelayo Romero said that after a challenging decade and large financial crises, Europe's insurance industry has shown to be quite resilient during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Huge Number of People in Croatia Work Without Any Social Security or Rights

Around 170,000 freelancers in Croatia are working under such conditions, resulting in yet another alarming statistic for the country.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Insurance Industry Shows Further Growth

ZAGREB, February 19, 2018 - Twenty-three Croatian insurance companies posted a total gross premium of 929.98 million kuna at the end of January 2018, an increase of 3.4% compared with January 2017, according to data from the Croatian Insurance Bureau (HUO).

Sunday, 11 February 2018

High Impact of Economic Loss from Natural Disasters in Croatia

ZAGREB, February 11, 2018 - In terms of the impact of economic loss from natural disasters on GDP, Croatia tops a list of 33 European countries, however, it is at the bottom when it comes to property insurance, which makes natural disaster-related damage more expensive.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Car Insurance Market Becoming More Competitive

There will be fewer vehicles with Daruvar licence plates on Croatia’s streets.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Croatia’s Olderst Insurance Company Enters Slovenian Market

The total gross premium of Adris Group in the first half of 2016 was 1.81 billion kuna, which is 0.7 percent more than during the same period last year.

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