Skopje 3rd April 2014 (MIA) – By promoting its first earthquake insurance products, as of today, specialty property catastrophe reinsurance company "Europe Re" started operating in Macedonia.

Its main shareholders are the governments of Macedonia, Serbia and Albania, being established and supported by the World Bank, the Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs, the Global Environment Facility, the EU and the UN.

New innovative insurance products will be sold through existing local insurance companies, which will take part in the “Europe Re” Program.

In addition to earthquake insurance, new flood insurance product and agriculture yield index insurance coverage will soon be promoted.

According to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Zoran Stavreski, this regional project provided long-term benefits and secure financial protection of citizen’s property, business sector and farmers, also enabling for the funds set aside from the Budget for damages caused by natural disasters to be saved and re-allocated for construction of new infrastructural facilities.

– Analyses show that Southeast European countries are extremely vulnerable to floods, droughts and other phenomena caused by climate changes, as well as to risks from earthquakes, landslide and similar natural disasters. This is supported by the World Bank estimate that presumed economic damages Macedonia and its economy might suffer from similar natural disasters could be as high as 40% of GDP, which is more than two billion dollars,

Stavreski said at today’s official launch of “Europe Re."
According to him, Government’s direct participation in the company guarantees that this insurance will function on the long run and it will meet the obligations towards the citizens, the business sector and the farmers.

He mentioned that every year, around Denar 90 million is set aside from the state budget to cover damages from natural disasters, being far more than the necessary to cover the actual damages the citizens, the farmers, the business sector and the overall economy suffer as a result of the natural and weather disasters.
– Being a responsible Government, we have decided not to stand aside and wait, but to rather act on time and face the unwanted consequences. Despite constantly investing in strengthening the crisis management system, we have decided to invest precisely US$ 5 million – a loan from the World Bank, which will be used for creating new system for insurance and reinsurance of properties and businesses in Macedonia, Stavreski stated.

He announced that in addition to this, the Government will continue in future to cover 60% of the amount of the insurance policy for farmers against risks from natural disasters.

Europe Re CEO Heinz Vollenweider said that under this project, the citizens of Macedonia were provided with an excellent opportunity to insure their property against natural disasters with safe and accessible insurance.

– At the same time, the country gets better financial protection against unwanted natural disasters, as well as an opportunity for some of the funds set aside to tackle the consequences from these catastrophes, to be invested in other projects such as construction of schools, hospitals, roads, etc., Vollenweider said.

Katarina Stocker, Deputy Director of Cooperation of the Swiss Cooperation Office for Macedonia, pointed out that the company operates in accordance with the most severe Swiss standards in the field of insurance, this being additional security that damages from the natural disasters will be timely and efficiently covered.

“Europe Re” will offer an opportunity to the citizens and the business sector to get information on the exposure of the property to earthquake- or flood-related risk through the website CATmonitor.

Also available in: Macedonian

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