BEIRUT: Lebanon’s insurance companies have succeeded in raising their premiums by 6 percent in the first nine months of 2012 to reach $967 million. These figures were reported by the Association of Insurance Companies in Lebanon (ACAL).
The insurance firms, which is still seen as underdeveloped compared to advanced countries, have nevertheless saw its size of business grow fast in the coming few years, signaling a shift in the attitude of Lebanese citizens who are now more keen to get proper insurance coverage.
But despite the reasonable growth of the industry, this sector remains far below the size of the Lebanese commercial banks which have a combined assets of more than $150 billion.
The insurance premiums reached $286.5 million in the third quarter of last year, down by 21 percent from the second quarter of 2012 and by 0.3 percent from the same quarter of 2011.The report was published by Byblos: Lebanon This Week bulletin.
Aggregate premiums reached $318.3m in the first quarter of 2012, up by 5.2 percent from the same quarter of 2011, while they stood at $362m in the second quarter and rose by 11.6 percent from the same period of the previous year.
The fire and life categories were the main drivers of premium growth in the first nine months of 2012 as they posted increases of 13 percent and 10 percent, respectively, compared to growth of 7 percent for workmen insurance premiums, 6 percent for medical premiums and 4 percent for cargo premiums; while motor premiums contracted by 2 percent in the covered period.
Further, motor insurance premiums reached $83.8m in the third quarter and accounted for 29.2 percent of the sector’s aggregate premiums. They were followed by life premiums with $78.8 million (27.5 percent), medical premiums with $71 million (24.8 percent), fire premiums with $21.3 million (7.4 percent), workmen compensation premiums with $8.5 million (3 percent) and cargo premiums with $7.8 million (2.7 percent). Motor premiums increased by 0.6 percent quarter-on-quarter in the third quarter of 2012, while medical premiums dropped by 38.3 percent, life premiums declined by 25.1 percent, workmen insurance premiums regressed by 17.8 percent, cargo premiums decreased by 13 percent and fire premiums dropped by 3.4 percent.
In parallel, ACAL indicated that total benefits and claims paid by insurance companies stood at $450m in the first nine months of 2012, constituting an increase of 13 percent from the same period in 2011.
Claims and benefits paid grew by 22.7 percent year-on-year to $164 million in the third quarter of 2012. Medical claims totaled $186.2 million in the first nine months and accounted for 41.4 percent of total claims, followed by motor claims with $130.8 million (29.1 percent), life claims with $84 million (18.7 percent), fire claims with $18.5m (4.1 percent), workmen’s claims with $14.1 million (3.1 percent), cargo claims with $4.6 million (1 percent), public liability claims $4.3 million (1 percent), and engineering claims with $2.6 million (0.6 percent). Benefits and claims from other categories reached $30.4m and accounted for 6.8 percent of the total.
Also, medical claims reached $63.4m in the third quarter of 2012 and accounted for 38.7 percent of total payments, followed by motor poli- cies payments with $42.4m (25.8 percent), life claims with $39.5m (24.1 percent), fire claims with $8.7m (5.3 percent), workmens claims with $4.6m (2.8 percent), and cargo with $2.1m (1.3 percent). Cargo claims rose by 123.5 percent quarter-on-quarter and fire claims increased by 110.6 percent, while life claims grew by 81.1 percent and engineering claims rose by 60.5 percent from the previous quarter.
In contrast, credit claims fell by 94 percent, civil liability claims dropped by 59.4 percent, motor claims decreased by 4.5 percent and workmen insurance claims regressed by 2.2 percent quarter on quarter.
Further, unit-linked policies accounted for 58.6 percent of total life premiums and for 22.3 percent of the total number of life contracts in the first nine months of the year; while life protection plans represented 41.4 percent of total life premiums and 77.7 percent of the total number of life con- tracts in the covered period.
ACAL noted that medical insurance premiums covering expatriates grew by 7 percent year-on-year to $8 million in the first nine months, while medical insurance premiums covering Lebanese citizens rose by 6 percent at $276.4m.