ECONOMY

ELPA in insurance debut

The Automobile and Touring Club of Greece (ELPA) said yesterday that it has set up an insurance company to provide a full range of insurance cover to its members. ELPA Insurance will provide a comprehensive range of insurance policies, among them car and motorbike insurance, office and shop insurance, and life and health insurance as well. The club said policies will be targeted exclusively at its members and will be priced at special rates. It is working in cooperation with a number of domestic and international insurance companies. It did not name the companies involved nor the premiums to be paid by policyholders. «ELPA’s venture into insurance is in line with its strategy of expanding its services to its members,» ELPA President Vassilis Despotopoulos said in a statement. Set up in 1924 to provide road assistance services, information to tourists and Greeks alike, and to inform the public on motor sports, ELPA’s expansion into insurance services underlines its gradual transformation into an organization intent on fulfilling all the needs of motorists. The club, however, will be competing with traditional insurance companies in a fiercely competitive field. In addition, motor insurance has proved to be a lossmaking activity for insurance companies, which have complained incessantly about low premiums and rising claims. Greece’s high accident rate has also compounded the sector’s woes. According to statistics of the Association of Insurance Companies-Greece, claims in 2000 amounted to 15.6 percent of premiums. In absolute numbers, this came close to 100 million euros. Stock-building suspected