Greece - Insurance



The Greek insurance market is small, with 1994 premium income at just D384 billion, equivalent to 1.4% of the GDP. This figure is compared to a European average of 5%. However, there has been some strong expansion in the life sector. There is a concentration of activity among a few companies, and in 1993 the top ten general insurance companies had 51% of the market and the top ten life companies, 84%. Around one-third of the companies operating in the market are foreign-owned, and most of the larger domestic firms have foreign connections. Most large insurance companies are partly or wholly owned by banks. Insurers are required to join several unions, trade groups, and insurance pools. Brokers in Greece also must be accepted by the Ministry of Trade. In Greece, the social security scheme and third-party automobile liability insurance are compulsory.

Insurance companies have begun to develop private pension schemes and corporate pension schemes. However, most occupational pension funds remain under state control because they are part financed by state-enacted levies. Insurance companies have also been responsible for the recent explosion in unit trusts (mutual funds), from two in 1989 to 152 in December 1995, when there were more than D2 trillion (7.8% of GDP) under management.

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