ECONOMY

Insurers want to make it a year to remember

Greek insurance group International Life said it aims to boost its share of the life insurance market to 2.5 percent this year from 1.7 percent in 2001 on the strength of its reputation and countrywide network. President and Managing Director Fokion Bravos said a prime example of the group’s reliability and efficiency was its speed in resolving claims. «Last year, the life and general insurance companies received a total of 9,113 claims, 93 percent of which were paid up by December 31,» he told reporters. He said the group’s agency system, which has 65 sales outlets countrywide and 50 other collaborating agents, are expected to play an important role in helping International Life expand its business this year. Bravos said the sales network is very much sales-oriented, a characteristic which should help the company grab a bigger market share. The life subsidiary also plans to launch new products targeted at the social security and healthcare markets this year. The bulk of the company’s business is in unit-linked social security products which offer a minimum return. Life subsidiary International Life and general insurer International Hellas posted an 8-percent rise in premiums last year. Two thirds of these are life premiums and the remaining general insurance premiums. Despite this encouraging development, Bravos said consolidated results in 2001 are projected to rise only marginally due to the market downturn last year and the global recession. Set up in 1991, the International Life group consists of life subsidiary International Life and general insurer International Hellas, brokerage Praxis International, International AELDE (stock order receiver and forwarding company), mutual fund company International and IT company International Online. The group submitted an application for listing a year and a half ago. Separately, insurance group Aspis said it had lifted premiums by 14.3 percent to 114.2 billion drachmas (335.14 million euros) last year, of which 48.1 billion drachmas (141.16 million euros) came from general insurer Aspis Pronoia, up by 14.72 percent. The life subsidiary reported a 2-percent jump in unit-linked sales and a 52-percent rise in traditional products. Aspis said the period October-December was critical to last year’s premium increase, with 19,500 new contracts sold in December alone.