Business jets on the upswing

It remains to be seen how long the current “tailwind” for private aviation will last, but an increase in customers is also expected for the summer months of 2022.

Corona reduced global aircraft movements by more than 75% in 2020 compared to the previous year. Private jet traffic recovered more quickly from the corona low blow than scheduled air traffic.

But what led to the upswing?

Governments provided the first part of the private-flight upswing, bringing double-digit numbers of flights per day to retrieve nationals back from affected regions, especially around the Chinese city of Wuhan. In addition, orders also came in from larger companies to fly out their employees. “It was a reflex, especially after the SARS-virus experience,” says Jeffrey Lowe, chief executive of Hong Kong-based Asian Sky Group. The experience of the travel restrictions or quarantine imposed in the winter of 2002/3 led to this boom.

The second impetus came from the airlines, which had to dramatically reduce or discontinue their services. Flights to China, for example, were suspended until April. Those who still flew at all, such as the Chinese state-owned airlines, for example Air China, under pressure from their government, had limited service. They ramped up security measures in contact between travellers and also to the flying staff: no blankets or pillows and limited in-flight service, served in sealed packets and protective clothing. “Not an experience after which you arrive rested,” reports one business traveller.

Ongoing production and projects, however, made international air travel in business necessary even in corona times. Companies have started to let professionals and top managers travel in private planes. The naturally higher costs also have an advantage: smaller planes can land at provincial airports away from the major airports, travellers are picked up and dropped off directly at the plane, and travel times are based on the passengers’ plans and not on a schedule of scheduled flights.

Not to be neglected are also, as a third trigger of the boom, wealthy private travellers with families who do not want to have their travel plans dictated by a virus. This applies to trips to crisis regions but also to holiday destinations currently not affected, in order to avoid large transfer airports. The costs for this are up to 4,000 EUR for an hour’s flight in smaller jets in normal times, and up to 10,000 EUR with the larger long-haul jets; due to the demand and higher requirements, this can currently be 20% to 50% more.

These surcharges are not only the result of supply and demand, but also due to the increased demands of customers. The requirement that no member of the crew has been in one of the crisis regions for weeks is not uncommon, or the additional disinfection of the jet plus a week’s rest. However, these demands could soon lead to a situation where, even with a surcharge, there may soon no longer be enough aircraft to fulfil all travel wishes.
It remains to be seen how long the current “tailwind” for private aviation will last, but an increase in customers is also expected for the summer months of 2022 . Business flights for high-ranking business travellers are also expected to remain at a high level; the advantages of flexibility already described above are a key factor for this clientele in particular. All in all, new opportunities for the private jet provider.

Image by Kim Hunter from Pixabay

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Patrick Kremer

Account Manager

T +43 5 04 04 – 399

GrECo and MAI combine forces in Central and Eastern Europe

Specialist insurance broker GrECo acquires 100% of MAI CEE Ltd., a major risk, insurance and employee benefits consultant in CEE

The combined company, to be named GrECo, will be the leading professional services firm focused on the areas of risk and insurance management and employee benefits consultancy in CEE. GrECo has been active in Eastern Europe since 1989 and established a market-leading position with more than 1,000 employees in 16 countries.
MAI was founded in 1991 in Hungary and is active in 13 CEE countries with more than 240 employees, generating a revenue of 16 million EUR. MAI services over 15,000 corporate clients and places insurance premiums of 150 million EUR. With 20+ years in the company, the MAI executive board members are staying on board as part of GrECo’s leadership team.

“We followed MAI’s successful progress over the last decades, and made no secret of our long-standing respect for MAI and belief in the cultural compatibility of the two groups. I am confident that, as we bring the strengths of MAI into GrECo, we will have a significant influx of talent and create a combined group with deep expert skills and an unmatched CEE network in 18 countries. The acquisition of MAI adds a decisive momentum to the growth strategy of our entire group and significantly enhances our value proposition for clients and partners” says Friedrich Neubrand, Chief Executive Officer, GrECo International Holding AG.

Piotr Cieślak, MAI CEE Group´s Chief Executive Officer, summarizes: “MAI’s foundation was traditionally the servicing of international business, meeting the requirements of over 260 insurance brokers and their clients from all over the world. Today we serve both international and local clients across the CEE, CIS and Caucasus region. GrECo, being fully committed to an independent future, is the best fit. The combination of the specialist solutions of GrECo and the network of MAI creates the largest broker in the region. Together we will continue to be an independent, professional and reliable partner for our clients and international broker partners.”

Steve Bonynge, Group Chief Executive of the Oman based RMS LLC states: “RMS’s decision to sell our 72.08% stake in MAI CEE reflects our strategy of serving clients in the Middle East and Asia. We believe the combination of GrECo and MAI CEE represents the best outcome for our clients in Central and Eastern Europe.”

The transaction was signed on the 14th of September 2021, and the parties have agreed not to disclose the underlying purchase price of the transaction. Closing is subject to regulatory approvals.

About GrECo

The insurance market has become extreThe GrECo Group offers its clients individual solutions in risk and insurance management and is the leading insurance broker & consultant for corporations, associations and authorities in CEE. GrECo was founded in 1925 and is an independent, family-owned company, with the family Neubrand holding 86.67% of the shares. The GrECo Group is headquartered in Vienna, Austria and employs more than 1,000 people in 60 offices. In 2020 the Group placed a premium volume of 871 million EUR and generated total consolidated revenues of 101 million EUR.

About MAI

MAI CEE Insurance Brokers Group was established in 1991 to bring international standards and a broad range of insurances to clients in the CEE, CIS and Caucases regions. MAI CEE has since grown considerably, gaining a presence in 26 countries in Central and Eastern Europe with 13 owned operations and 13 cooperation partners. In 2016 MAI CEE‘s shareholder structure changed following an MBO and the RMS Group, a leading Omani insurance broker, became the majority shareholder. The RMS Group operates throughout the Middle East and Indian Sub-Continent as well as through MAI CEE in CEE, CIS and Caucases.

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GrECo Specialty strengthens its Energy, Power & Mining practice

Pawel Kowalewski, renowned expert in the energy sector, will develop power & renewables solutions.

GrECo Specialty, a dedicated specialty unit of GrECo, the leading risk and insurance consultant in Central and Eastern Europe, is further expanding its services for the energy sector. Due to the ever increasing importance of the power and renewables sector a dedicated division was established to better support our clients in this industry. The new practice leader Pawel Kowalewski ACII, ARM, ARe will be heading the Power & Renewables division within the Group Practice Energy, Power & Mining.

Pawel is a seasoned insurance and financial services professional with 28 years’ experience in the industry. He joins GrECo Specialty from a leading Polish power utility conglomerate, where he was the Group Head of Risk Management and Insurance.

A major upheaval in the area of large corporate specialty insurance is expected in the upcoming years, as insurance capacities are withdrawing from carbon-intensive industries. Our objective is to provide existing and prospective clients of the Energy, Power & Mining Group Practice with state-of-the-art risk transfer solutions and optimise their Total Cost of Risk.

The newly formed division Power & Renewables has a clearly defined mission:

  • Provide bespoke re/insurance and Alternative Risk Transfer solutions to companies operating conventional and emerging technologies;
  • Long-term orientation to serve clients requiring sufficient time to transition and adapt to the future of energy, at the same time maintaining agility and leanness to help them achieve short-term objectives;
  • Be a knowledge-driven organisation utilising advanced technology to assist GrECo clients with building and maintaining resilience;
  • Become first mover to create cutting-edge risk & insurance solutions for the Power & Renewables sector.

Zviadi Vardosanidze, General Manager of GrECo Specialty and Group Practice Leader Energy, Power & Mining is happy that “Pawel has exceptional knowledge and understanding of client’s objectives, concerns and constraints, as he has successfully managed the overhaul of insurance programs for the largest power producer in CEE. In addition, he has excellent relationships with key stakeholders in the re/insurance industry. I am looking forward to further develop our Group Practice.”

Pawel Kowalewski

Practice Leader Power & Renewables Division

T +48 507 085 066

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

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Affinity pilot project for insurance of Ukrainian farmers

Parametric insurance solution for Corteva Agriscience

GrECo Ukraine, together with insurance partner ARX Ukraine have launched the pilot project for the Affinity parametric insurance solution for Corteva Agriscience customers.
The solution covers crops such as corn, sunflower, wheat and barley against drought as well as the possibility to monitor the insured soil moisture index through the MeteoControl platform which has become a partner and IT provider of this project.

Applying for the cover is very simple and easy by filling out an application form on the Meteocontrol.ai website.

In parametric insurance, a certain parameter which cannot be influenced by the agricultural producer is insured. Affinity parametric insurance refers to a solution which is distributed by an entity to the end customers, here the farmers. The GrECo Group is specializing in insurance solutions and affinity schemes for dedicated industries.

Corteva Agriscience is a publicly traded, global pure-play agriculture company that provides farmers around the world with the most complete portfolio in the industry – including a balanced and diverse mix of seed, crop protection and digital solutions focused on maximizing productivity to enhance yield and profitability. With some of the most recognized brands in agriculture and an industry-leading product and technology pipeline well positioned to drive growth, the company is committed to working with stakeholders throughout the food system as it fulfills its promise to enrich the lives of those who produce and those who consume, ensuring progress for generations to come. Corteva Agriscience became an independent public company on June 1, 2019, and was previously the Agriculture Division of DowDuPont.

The GrECo Group offers its clients individual solutions in risk and insurance management and is the leading insurance broker & consultant for corporations, associations and authorities in CESEE. The Group is an independent, family-owned company, headquartered in Vienna and employs 1.000 people in 57 offices in 16 countries.

ARX Insurance Company is part of the international Canadian insurance group Fairfax Financial Holdings, which has been successfully operating in the Ukrainian market for 25 years, 11 of which are under the AXA Insurance brand.

MeteoControl is a Ukrainian insurtech startup that helps farmers to insure unusual weather conditions using modern software solutions. With the help of Meteocontrol online platform, farmers will be able to apply for the insurance program, generate documents for signing, and track the current soil moisture level and the probability of receiving refund.

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GrECo further expands services for Food & Agricultural industry

Maksym Shylov, long-standing expert in agricultural insurance, established as Group Practice Leader

As the leading risk and insurance consultant in Eastern Europe, the GrECo Group is further increasing its specialization on dedicated services and solutions for selected industries. Therefore, GrECo is setting up a group-wide Food & Agriculture Practice. The new Group Practice Leader Maksym Shylov will be responsible for the strategy and development of this Specialty in all GrECo Group countries, including Poland where he will be located.

Maksym has 19 years of experience in risk management, especially in the area of food & agricultural insurance. Over the last years he has also been developing tailor-made parametric insurance solutions for clients in Poland, Ukraine and the Baltic States where he worked with international insurance and reinsurance markets from various countries. He has completed more than 30 large advisory projects for the agricultural sector, banks and insurance companies in various countries.

Maksym Shylov comments “The Food & Agriculture sector represents one of the fastest growing industries in our region. Today, additional exposures arising from climate change are more and more influencing our planet and in particular natural habitats. In addition, recently appearing risks such as COVID-19 are exposing the global supply chains resulting in auxiliary uncertainties. In order to secure a sustainable and ecofriendly supply, European economies are further incentivizing their domestic agriculture and food production.”

Georg Winter, Member of the Executive Board at the GrECo Group and responsible for its Specialty expansion is convinced that “more and more clients will benefit from GrECo´s strategy in continuously developing progressive risk solutions for dedicated industries. With the newly established practice, we will be able to provide tailor-made solutions for our clients in the food & agriculture sector in order to increase their resilience and to manage risks emerging from fundamental challenges ahead such as climate change, biodiversity as well as growth of population and their inevitable consequences.”

Maksym Shylov

Group Practice Leader
Food & Agriculture

T +48 22 39 33 211

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Alma Ribanovic strengthens GrECo Group

Leading expert for affinity solutions takes over development of the division in Austria and Eastern Europe

The GrECo Group, the leading risk and insurance consultant in Eastern Europe, is increasing its focus on special solutions and is setting up a dedicated Affinity Practice Group. Alma Ribanovic (37) takes over the new established position of Group Practice Leader with immediate effect. Alma Ribanovic is regarded as one of the leading specialists in affinity solutions and most recently worked for UNIQA, where she headed the Affinity division.

Affinity as B2B2C business stands for smart and convenient insurance solutions. As a new business model it is a direct response to the disruption and changes on the insurance market – it proactively tackles customer revolution and brings digitalization to the spotlight.

With the new Practice Group, Alma Ribanovic will strengthen the existing activities enabling GrECo to provide additional value to the companies by helping them differentiate from competition, attract new and retain existing customers and increase customer loyalty.
Alma Ribanovic comments „There is already a market for affinity solutions and interest is growing. The advantages are attractive and cannot be denied. Affinity is nothing new, but this market segment is currently growing rapidly. With a group-wide affinity practice, GrECo is well positioned to capture market share and become one of the leading risk consultants in this field”.

Alma Ribanovic

Group Practice Leader Affinity

T: +43 50404 180

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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GrECo acquires Sagauta to build major Lithuanian player

GrECo Group, the leading risk and insurance consultant in CEE, acquires 80 % of UADBB Sagauta, no. 2 insurance broker in Lithuania.

Austrian-based insurance broker GrECo has already been present in Lithuania with one office in Vilnius since 2008. Sagauta, who has five locations across the country, will merge with the existing GrECo operation and conduct its business under the name of GrECo Sagauta in the future. The founders and current owners will stay on board and retain the remaining shares.

Silva Macienė, the founder and Chairman of the Board at Sagauta adds: “We accomplished a truly remarkable journey here at Sagauta – from the small team of like-minded enthusiasts to the leading specialist insurance broker and member of the GrECo family. The merger will definitely strengthen GrECo Sagauta as a favourite insurance partner but it is also an opportunity for us to expand our presence to Latvia and Estonia.”

Katerina Pavlidi, CEO at Sagauta sees a variety of new possibilities through the deal. “GrECo’s expertise and technological solutions will be a perfect add-on for Sagauta. Their specialization in defined industry sectors and their international market presence reinforce our position as a specialist corporate insurance broker and provide our clients with a valuable alternative to the global monolithic brokers.”

Georg Winter, Member of the Board at GrECo Group and responsible for the Baltics, summarizes: “The acquisition of Sagauta further strengthens our position on the Baltic market. Following the acquisition of IIZI in Estonia last year we will become the leading risk and insurance management consultant in the Baltic States.”

GrECo provides dedicated expert knowledge for a variety of industries including Construction, Energy, Financial Institutions or Transportation & Logistics, thus becoming the leading specialist insurance broker in Central & Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Furthermore, GrECo offers tailor-made insurance solutions for Property & Casualty, Financial Lines, Transport, Credit & Political Risks as well as Employee Benefits and Motor.

Sagauta is focussing on dedicated areas like Transport, Construction and Employee Benefits. Together with GrECo, Sagauta will expand its services and solutions for several industries.

About Sagauta

UADBB Sagauta, founded in 1996, is a leading specialist insurance broker in Lithuania, focusing on dedicated areas like transportation, construction and employee benefits. The company offers all insurance services for business and private individuals. It employs more than 60 people and is headquartered in Vilnius. It operates countrywide and has 5 branch offices in major cities. The revenues of the company have reached EUR 3.1 million in 2018

About GrECo

GrECo is an Austrian company, the majority of which is family-owned and in which the German Ecclesia Group holds a 13,33 % stake. The GrECo Group offers its clients individual solutions in risk and insurance management and is Austria’s leading insurance broker for industry, trade, commerce and the public sector. The main difference to comparable providers lies above all in the decentralised location strategy, which guarantees service from a single source. Shortly after the opening of Eastern Europe, GrECo became the first foreign insurance broker to establish a branch in Hungary in 1989. In the following years, branches were opened in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Serbia, Ukraine, Russia and Lithuania. Turkey and Estonia were added in 2013/2014.

GrECo International Holding AG achieved consolidated Group turnover of EUR 94.2 million in the 2018 financial year with a premium volume of EUR 760 million.

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Landmark Deal on the Baltic Insurance Market: GrECo and IIZI join forces

GrECo Group, the major risk and insurance consultant in CEE, acquires 56.95% of IIZI Group, Estonia´s leading insurance broker

IIZI will become a subsidiary of GrECo and together they will be a major player on the Baltic insurance market. While their online insurance business will be carried on as IIZI, corporate insurance broking will be conducted under the name of GrECo in the future. The executive management, representing the remaining 43.05% of the shares, will stay on board. The parties have agreed not to disclose the price of the transaction.

Georg Winter, Member of the Board of GrECo Group and responsible for the Baltics, summarizes: “We have been dedicated to our expansion in CESEE for about 30 years now. The acquisition of IIZI adds a decisive momentum to the growth strategy of our entire group. Both we and IIZI will benefit from each other´s know-how and long-standing client service experience.”

Igor Fedotov, the Chairman of the Management Board of IIZI Group, says that the client´s needs and the whole insurance market were changing with insurance business becoming more and more international. “In order to represent the interests of our clients, especially abroad, we need a partner with international scale,” Igor Fedotov explains. “I believe that GrECo is the most suitable partner for that and the strengths of the both of us will definitely provide our clients with excellent new opportunities.”

IIZI is a perfect match for GrECo´s presence in the Baltics, which strengthens their business in Estonia, adds Latvia as a new market. The existing operation in Lithuania completes the comprehensive presence in the Baltics.

About IIZI

GrECo is characterized above all by a high degree of internationalization. As the only risk and insurance manager in Austria, the company operates 57 branches in 16 countries of Central, Southern and Eastern Europe with over 1,100 employees from Vienna. One of the strengths of Austria’s leading insurance broker lies in the rapid and flexible servicing of foreign markets.

So far GrECo has been providing ongoing support to international companies within the framework of networks. With the broker network “GrECo nova”, which was redesigned in the course of setting the path, GrECo itself now manages a network of long-standing and new broker partners who create added value for GrECo clients through their local presence, industry specialisations or market leadership in certain areas.

Image by Makalu from Pixabay

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