ECONOMY

Listed insurance companies are concerned over steep profit fall

The downturn in the insurance industry continued in the first quarter of the year, as evidenced by the results of the six listed companies, which show a sharp drop in their total profits from 21 million euros in the same period last year to just 1.1 million. Two of the companies, Aspis Pronoia and Phoenix (about to be merged with Metrolife) have actually reported losses, while a third, European Reliance, has not yet announced first-quarter results, making use of a relevant right by law. The blame is largely laid on the continuing downturn in the stock market, which has caused new shortfalls in revenue from investments. Industry representatives are particularly concerned over the continuing strong pressure on sales and note that the unit-linked market continues to be affected by policy cancellations due to the general decline in the value of securities. As a whole, the life sector remains downbeat, while in general insurance the accumulated losses of the car branch pose the most ominous threat. Further concerns are being expressed due to the expected rise in the interest rates of long-term bonds – a favorite for the placement of reserves when rates are low, which will cause a drop in yields. DRY CARGO