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Gunter GEYER, CEO, VIENNA Insurance Group


Romania is a fascinating country and has one of the fastest growing economies in the CEE-region. This fact also brings the need for modern insurance solutions for companies and of course private persons. The Vienna Insurance Group is one of the leading insurance groups in CEE and a top-player in markets like Romania.

XPRIMM: VIENNA Insurance Group is now the biggest investor on the Romanian insurance market. Taking this into consideration, are you still looking for other local acquisitions?
Dr. Gunter GEYER:
Romania is a fascinating country and has one of the fastest growing economies in the CEE-region. This fact also brings the need for modern insurance solutions for companies and of course private persons. The Vienna Insurance Group is one of the leading insurance groups in CEE and a top-player in markets like Romania. We have a clear strategy of partnership and are long term investors in the CEE countries. Our strategy is dual, so we look for suitable acquisitions and also develop a strong organic growth for our development on the local markets. Selective acquisitions in Poland, Hungary and the Ukraine are possible and we always aim to develop and our business in the whole region.

XPRIMM: What is VIG's strategy regarding BCR Asigurari and BCR Asigurari de Viata?
Dr. Gunter GEYER:
With the general distribution agreement with ERSTE Bank we can promote life-insurance much better on the Romanian market. This agreement has a duration of 15 years and - if both partners agree - can be extended for another 10 year-period. Our customers have the advantage of a combined product offering and can benefit from the close cooperation of Vienna Insurance Group and Erste Bank.

XPRIMM: Are you planning to merge all/some of the companies owned in Romania by VIG or will you continue developing your business according to the multi-brand-strategy applied until now?
Dr. Gunter GEYER:
We see our Group as a family, in which each Group company has its own brand as a given name and the Group brand Vienna Insurance Group as a family name. The given name stands for proximity to customers and local competence. The strong local brands are supported by the financial stability and security of one of the leading insurance groups in CEE. Within the group we act like partners, respecting each other. Furthermore we have a know-how transfer within the group, which allows us to tap the full potential on the markets. We also plan to utilize the synergy potentials within Vienna Insurance Group in Romania.
We strongly trust in the market-knowledge and leadership capabilities of the local management.

XPRIMM: ASIROM has become part of the Group earlier this year and there has just been launched a rebranding campaign. What are the Group's plans regarding ASIROM?
Dr. Gunter GEYER:
There will not be changes in the basic structure of the company. Within the natural and logic development of ASIROM a new software-solution will be implemented, some areas will be reorganised to optimize the workflow and we are planning to bring the regional casualty-centres of ASIROM and OMNIASIG together. To sum up, we do not intend to reorganize the companies we own in Romania, yet, in some areas like the back-office department I believe there are some synergies we could exploit.

XPRIMM: Which were the arguments for the acquisition of ASIROM?
Dr. Gunter GEYER:
ASIROM is a very successful company and had a significant positive development in the last years. With written premium of approx. 170 million EUR the company achieved a plus of 7.5 percent. We see this development continuing in the first quarter this year. The nationwide presence with nearly 200 offices and a strong sales force will foster this trend. In consideration of expansion activities in CEE the Vienna Insurance Group focuses on intensive market observation und early acquisition. We entered the Romanian market in 2001 and are now well positioned to meet the future competition.

XPRIMM: Will the current management teams (of insurance companies owned by VIG in Romania) remain with their respective companies in the following year?
Dr. Gunter GEYER:
At the moment no changes are planned. As I mentioned, we trust in the local management and their responsibility for sales and customer service. They have the best knowledge of the special needs of a specific local market. This allows them to adapt optimally to local market condition and ensures that customer relationships can be built up. All the strategic decisions of the local companies are made in close cooperation with the executive board of the Group.

XPRIMM: OMNIASIG is now one of the biggest and most well-known companies in the market. How would you rate this development and what expectation do you have for the future?
Dr. Gunter GEYER:
OMNIASIG has shown an excellent development and is a top-insurer in the businesses of life and non-life insurance. In the future I expect OMNIASIG to continue this success story by developing new distribution channels and continually optimizing every aspect of their business. Especially in a competitive market like Romania a clear strategy with the focus on the needs of our existing and potential future customers is needed, to be successful. I am convinced that within Vienna Insurance Group OMNIASIG could benefit from our knowledge transfer.

XPRIMM: Are you interested in listing another of the Romanian-owned companies to the Bucharest Stock Exchange? Please explain your decision.
Dr. Gunter GEYER:
We have no plans so far at the moment. The shares of Vienna Insurance Group are listed in addition to its listing on the Vienna stock exchange, on the Prague stock exchange since February this year to reflect the international orientation of our Group.

XPRIMM: How do you see the future of the Romanian insurance market?
Dr. Gunter GEYER:
Romania developed very successfully in recent years. The membership in the European Union was a very important decision for the future of the country and had a very positive impact. It brings new investors to Romania, provides new jobs and growth impulses for the whole economy, which then influences the demand in consumer goods and services. The increased competition will bring further advantages for the consumers. Especially the insurance market is expected to grow, because in Romania people want to insure their cars and homes. Later they will think about private pension plans, which offer good opportunities.

XPRIMM: What are VIG's objectives on the Romanian insurance market until 2010?
Dr. Gunter GEYER:
VIENNA Insurance Group aims to sustain its position as one of the leading insurance groups in the insurance market and provide insurance solutions for private persons as well as companies meeting international standards.

Editor: Mihaela CIRCU, Alexandru CIUNCAN | Published on 03.07.2008






















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