The catch-up process as concerns the living standards of the population of Central and Eastern Europe is basically driven by a desire for mobility. Many give top priority to the purchase of a car of their own. Due to the fact that, in accordance with European standards, motor vehicle liability insurance is mandatory in the CEE region as well, and due to the vehicle own-damage insurance required by the lease financing frequently employed, motor vehicle insurance is one of the first and most important insurance segments in these markets. Fortunately, the motor vehicle business, which is highly significant for the Vienna Insurance Group, also proves to be extremely stable in difficult economic times, as the personal car and the mobility that it brings have become indispensable to many.
The demand for household and homeowner insurance is also increasing in significance. What is important here is that these insurance segments are not only attractive for newly purchased homes. The greatest potential lies instead in the large percentage of apartments and houses that are already occupied, but currently still do not have the insurance protection that has long become the standard in Western Europe. As a result, the non-life segment of markets that are already further developed, such as the Czech Republic and Slovakia, still offer quite considerable growth opportunities that the Vienna Insurance Group is developing with targeted sales initiatives.
The subject of providing for old age is a concern to people in Central and Eastern Europe even before their primary consumption needs have been satisfied. In view of the low level of coverage provided by the government pension system compared to Western Europe and the resulting increase in the need for personal old-age provision products, the potential for life insurance is many times higher in the CEE region than in Western markets. The awareness that individuals must make appropriate private provisions for their own old-age is causing demand to rise in the individual markets for savings and life insurance products. This trend is strengthened as income rises, causing the life insurance business to increase in importance as markets become more developed. People want to ensure that the standard of living attained and the risen level of expectations will continue in the future.
These demands can also be seen in the expectations made of medical care in the event of illness. In 2009, the Vienna Insurance Group is therefore offering private health insurance in the CEE region as a new business initiative. The Vienna Insurance Group is beginning to market private health insurance in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Romania and Hungary in particular, in order to position itself early on in this business as a capable partner actively addressing customer needs.