Costa Rica

As reported previously in this space (see here), Costa Rica’s Instituto Nacional de Seguros’ international expansion plans were put on hold in May 2009 when the nation’s Comptroller General took the position that the INS was empowered only to partner with, not acquire or establish, foreign companies. The decision effectively blocked the INS’s plan to acquire a Nicaraguan insurer. After several months of negotiations, however, the Comptroller General recently reversed its position and the INS has now reportedly taken back up consideration of possibilities for international expansion, primarily in the other Central American countries.


Although the IRB has managed to maintain over 80% of the Brazilian reinsurance business since the market’s opening in April 2008, such efforts are having a clear impact on the IRB’s earnings. Indeed, the IRB recently reported that it earned only US$ 25.6 million in the first half of 2009, down 55.7% from the first half of 2008. This decline occurred despite the IRB’s earned premiums increasing 6.24% for the same period. The decline was largely attributable to the company’s increased loss ratio, which reached 89.1% for the period, nearly 20 points higher than its loss ratio for the first half of 2008. The IRB attributed the increased loss ratio to several large claims related to factory fires and industrial engineering.


Total premiums for the twelve months ended July 31, 2009 reached US$ 937 million, a 17% increase over the twelve months ended July 31, 2008 (US$ 800.9 million). Retained premiums for the twelve month period increased by nearly 19%. The largest insurers in Ecuador by total premiums for the twelve months ended July 31, 2009 are Colonial, Equinoc, AIG, ACE, Sucre, Latina, Rio Guayas, Panam, Pichincha and Unidos. No insurer holds more than 11% of the market.


Total premiums for the twelve months ended July 31, 2008 crossed the US$ 1 billion mark, reaching US$ 1.014 billion. This represents a nearly 15% increase in total premiums over the twelve month period ended July 31, 2008 (US$ 883.6 million). The lines with the greatest growth in total premiums were auto (38.33%), obligatory auto (21.38%), non-auto casualty (16.38%) and life (14%) and accident and health (13.34%). Meanwhile, total premiums for credit and surety increased only 1.4% for the same period. The largest insurers in Peru by total premiums for the twelve months ended July 31, 2009 are RIMAC, Pacifico, Mapfre, Positiva and Invita.