Bulgarian insurance market

The top 5 insurance groups generated around 57% of the premium volume in the country in the first three quarters of 2018. The two largest insurance groups generated around 26%.

Market growth in the 1ST TO 3RD Quarters of 2018 compared to the previous year

Bulgaria – Market growth in the 1st to 3rd quarters of 2018 compared to the previous year (bar chart)

Source: Bulgarian Financial Supervision Commission(FSC)

Bulgarian insurance companies recorded a 13.5% increase in premiums in the first nine months of 2018 based on the local currency.

The non-life sector grew 18.1%, driven by motor third party liability insurance, which saw premiums increase 38.1% compared to the same period in the previous year. Further price increases are expected based on the draft regulation prepared by the Bulgarian financial supervisory authority for introduction of a bonus-malus system. Compensation for personal injury is also expected to be increased and there are plans to raise the taxes on older and high-emission vehicles. Motor own damage also recorded a double-digit increase of 10.6%. The non-motor lines of business only recorded moderate growth of 0.5%.

Market shares of the major insurance groups

Bulgaria – Market shares of the major insurance groups (ring chart)

Source: Bulgarian Financial Supervision Commission (FSC); as of 9M 2018

The share of life insurance in the portfolio, which was already small, decreased further to 17.4% in the 1st to 3rd quarters of 2018. Premium volume fell 4.0% due a sharp drop in annuity and pension insurance (-53.6%) that was not fully offset by the other life lines of business.

The economy is being driven by high levels of investment and private consumption. Falling unemployment and rising income are providing support for private consumption. The average per capita expenditure for life insurance in Bulgaria was EUR 26 in 2017. Around five times as much, EUR 131, was spent on non-life insurance. According to Axco Global Statistics, this corresponds to a total per capita premium of EUR 157 per year for insurance services.

VIG companies in Bulgaria

VIG is represented by three Group companies in the Bulgarian insurance market, Bulstrad Life, Bulstrad Non-Life and Nova. Together they hold a market share of 13.9%, making VIG the leading insurance group in Bulgaria. It holds second place in the non-life sector and first place in the market for life insurance. The Doverie pension fund also belongs to the Group.

Financial performance indicators in the Bulgaria segment

Premium development

Premiums by line of business

Bulgaria – Premiums by line of business (ring chart)

Values for 2017 in parentheses

Premiums written in the Bulgaria segment increased to EUR 171.3 million in 2018 (2017: EUR 150.1 million). The major increase of 14.1% was primarily due to good performance in motor own damage and health insurance. Net earned premiums were EUR 122.8 million in 2018, 12.1% higher than the previous year.

Expenses for claims and insurance benefits

The Bulgarian Vienna Insurance Group companies had EUR 72.7 million in expenses for claims and insurance benefits (less reinsurance) in 2018 (2017: EUR 64.4 million). The year-on-year increase of 12.9% essentially equals the increase in business volume.

Acquisition and administrative expenses

Acquisition and administrative expenses were EUR 46.4 million in 2018 (2017: EUR 38.8 million). The year-on-year increase of 19.6% resulted from an increase in commissions due to significant growth in the volume of business and additional fees in the motor area.

Result before taxes

The Bulgarian VIG companies contributed EUR 11.4 million to the total Group result in 2018 (2017: EUR 6.9 million). A major reason for this large increase of 65.0% was the lack of a write-down of insurance portfolios previously performed for the Doverie pension fund.

Combined Ratio

The combined ratio rose to 99.1% in 2018, primarily due to an increase in reserves (2017: 97.1%).

Vienna Insurance Group in the Bulgaria segment

in EUR millions



∆ in %

∆ absolute

Premiums written





Motor own damage insurance (Casco)





Motor third party liability insurance





Other property and casualty insurance





Life insurance – regular premium





Life insurance – single premium





Health insurance





Result before taxes