Bulgaria deputy regulator chief resigns after insurer bankruptcy
Bulgaria’s top official in charge of regulatory oversight of the insurance sector resigned on August 21, a day after coming under fire from Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov.
Ralitsa Again, Financial Supervision Commission deputy chairperson in charge of the insurance market, submitted her resignation to Parliament, which interrupted its summer recess to hold a special sitting on August 21 to discuss the repercussions of Cyprus-registered insurer Olympic’s bankruptcy.
Olympic had an estimated nine per cent market share on the third-party liability insurance segment in Bulgaria, attracting customers with lower than the market average policy premium payments, reports in Bulgarian media said. Its bankruptcy left 200 000 car owners without the mandatory insurance.
In sharp remarks, Goranov accused Again of failing in her duty to provide proper oversight of Olympic, but also neglecting to notify the government and the finance ministry of the possible repercussions on the Bulgarian market.
After submitting her resignation, Again rebuffed the criticism, saying that her stepping down was an “emotional and moral act”, not an admission of failure.
She said that Olympic, which has been present on the Bulgarian market since 2009, has had a very small number of complaints levelled by customers, compared to its large market share.
The company had some fines, but the amount – a total of 30 000 leva, Again said, without specifying over what period of time – was only a small fraction of all fines imposed under her watch, which stood at 1.1 million leva last year alone, Bulgarian National Television reported.
Again also said she was confident that the company’s customers will get their money back for policies that were in effect at the time of Olympic’s bankruptcy.
The bulk of Olympic’s customers paid their insurance premiums in quarterly payments, which limited the impact of the insurer’s bankruptcy somewhat, unlike for those customers that paid their premiums for the full year.
Speaking in Parliament, Prime Minister Boiko Borissov suggested creating a task force with experts from all parliamentary-represented parties that would draft a solution to compensate Olympic’s customers, who now have to purchase new insurance policies for the rest of the year.
(Ralitsa Again screengrab from Bulgarian National Television.)