Prospects for continuing growth in the insurance sector are driven by various factors, including economic growth, demographics, urbanisation (Istanbul and Ankara are among the biggest cities in the world in terms of GDP), political environment and an expanding middle class. The short-term development of the insurance market will depend on the strength or weakness of the economy and its impact on motor insurance, the market's most important class.
In 2018, non-life premium (including personal accident and health) totalled TRY 40.76bn (USD 8.44bn), up 16.6% on 2017. While the increase in premium looks impressive, in real terms, after the effects of inflation and declining exchange rates, there was no growth and, in fact, in US dollar terms the market shrank by 11.9%. The slowdown in the economy is a major factor affecting car sales and stagnation in housing projects. In the first six months of 2019 non-life premiums totalled TRY 27.15bn (USD 4.76bn).
In a potentially significant development, in 2019 the Turkish government has established a new, state-backed reinsurer, the Turkish Reinsurance Corporation (Turks Reasurans - Turk Re). The company will provide capacity for so-called "risky enterprises" for which the market generally cannot obtain capacity or obtains capacity with great difficulty. Turk Re will start operating from 2020.
Although there are no stated plans to introduce compulsory cessions to Turk Re, some insurers fear that they might be introduced in due course or expect moral pressure to place business with the company. The company will also be involved in the development and provision of capacity to the market for new insurance risks. Turk Re will also manage the earthquake pool, Turkish Catastrophe Insurance Pool (TCIP).
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