ECONOMY

Insurers hope for growth

Seven in 10 Greeks do not intend to acquire a private pension policy in future, a study commissioned by the Association of Insurance Companies of Greece (EAEE) shows. The study, presented at a press briefing yesterday, also shows that 45 percent of non-holders of health policies view such programs as too expensive and that this, together with social insurance, is the main reason for the still-narrow spread of private insurance in the country. Nevertheless, EAEE considers the life and health insurance branches as offering a strong growth potential. According to the study, only 16 percent of the economically active population has a private insurance program, of which 78 percent are residents of the Attica region and 55 percent have a high level of education. To make private insurance more attractive, EAEE calls for the abolition of taxes totaling 12.5 percent on health cover programs and making social and private insurance complementary (a dialogue is under way with the Health Ministry). Twenty-two percent of non-holders of such policies say they intend to take out one in the future, while 95 percent of holders say they will maintain their policies, 20 percent intend to expand them and 86 percent believe they are worth their cost. EAEE officials told the briefing that the total number of people covered by individual or group hospital cover programs is estimated at 1.3 million and the average annual premium is about 343 euros; in comparison, an individual earning 1,500 euros a month pays an average of 1,607 euros in social insurance contributions annually. Insurance firms paid out an average of 522,000 euros daily to 963,690 people who were hospitalized last year.