History of the Tunisian insurance market

The Tunisian insurance market before independence

Kasbah TunisiaThe start of Tunisian insurance industry dates back to 1874 when the company Phénix Vie opened a representation office in Tunis. A few years later, the first French insurance agencies emerged.

At that time, the few thousand European settlers established in Tunisia, the majority of whom were Italian and Maltese, accounted for a very interesting portfolio. Only foreigners got insured.

In 1882, a year after the establishment of the French protectorate in Tunisia: Phénix Incendie, Centrale Incendie and Renaissance arrived in Tunis. But the tunisian insurance market was not boosted until 1885 with the opening of agencies of The Providence (1885), of Aigle-vie (1886), of Compagnie d’Assurances Générales-Vie (1886), of Nationale-Vie (1886) and Urbaine and the Seine (1890).

Alongside those French companies, two American, two British, two Swiss, one Spanish and one Italian got established in Tunisia between 1886 and 1900.

Tunisian insurers created between 1874 and 1900

 NationalityCreation date
Le PhénixFrench1874 (life) and 1882 (non life)
La ProvidenceFrench1885
La MétropoleFrench1886 (life) and 1897 (non life)
La Cie d’Assurances Générales-vieFrench1886 (life) and 1896 (non life)
New York LifeAmerican1886
La NationaleFrench1886 (life) and 1897 (non life)
Urbaine et la SeineFrench1890
Assicurazioni GeneraliItalian1899
Mutual LifeAmerican1900

Source: "Histoire de l’assurance en Tunisie " (historical background of insurance in Tunisia), Jacques Charbonnier

The beginning of agricultural insurance dates back to 1912 with the establishment of the Caisse Régionale d’Assurance Mutuelle “Tunis Assurances”.

In 1919, 131 insurers were present in the country, 26 of whom were marketing life policies. In 1929, the number of companies grew to 202, most of which were French, British and Italian.

Just like in Algeria and in Morocco, the French companies reported the most of their turnover in life insurance. Tunisian and foreign companies were basically underwriting non-life risks with about 40% of premiums in fire and marine classes.

After the Second World War, the market witnessed a quick growth, with the turnover going threefold between 1947 and 1950 and 2.5 times between 1950 and 1954. Indeed, premiums went six fold during the 1947-1954 period.

It was also after the Second World War that the first Tunisian insurance companies started to emerge. On the wake of independence, those companies controlled 20% of the local market. The Lloyd Tunisien and Astree were respectively set up in 1945 and 1949.

On the eve of independence, that is in 1954, 188 foreign insurers were present in Tunisia.


Source : "Histoire de l’assurance en Tunisie" (historical background of insurance in Tunisia), Jacques Charbonnier

The post-independence Tunisian insurance market

Kasbah TunisIndependence, obtained in 1956, marked a turning point in the market structure as the foreign companies established in the country considered the new legal framework instituted by the authorities to be excessively restrictive. Between 1956 and 1961, many of those companies either ceded or merged their portfolio.

In 1958, the Société Tunisienne d’Assurance et de Réassurance (STAR) was established with a capital detained at 50% by the State, 30% by Tunisian private individuals and legal entities and 20% by foreign insurance companies, among which Swiss Re.

In addition to its direct underwriting operations, STAR was entrusted by the State to manage, from 1960 to 1980, its reinsurance legal cession which amounts to 10%.

The establishment of private insurance business was encouraged by the authorities which led to the emergence of many private groups on the market between 1968 and 1976.

It was during that same period that the first life insurance company, AMINA, was set up with GAT being its major shareholder.

The tunisification of the market was achieved by 1981 with the establishment of the Société Tunisienne de Réassurance “Tunis Re”, whose capital is entirely Tunisian. The 10% legal cession came to an end with the arrival of Tunis Re on the market.

Private groups present on the Tunisian insurance market between 1968 and 1976

 Creation datePurchase of portfolios1
Comar1968The Paternelle africaine, The Prévoyance and the Minerve (France)
Maghrebia1973Generali (Italy)
Groupe des Assurances de Tunisie (GAT)1975Groupe des Assurances Nationales-GAN (France), the Secours (France) and Arabia Insurance (Lebanon)
CARTE1976Mutuelle Générale Françaises, Mutuelle du Mans (France) and Préservatrice-Foncière (France)

1 Non exhaustive list
Source :Source: "Histoire de l’assurance en Tunisie" (historical background of insurance in Tunisia), Jacques Charbonnier


  • Atlas documentation database
  • Sigma magazine, Swiss Re
  • "Histoire de l’assurance en Tunisie (the historical background of insurance in Tunisia)", Jacques Charbonnier, Taâminat collection, Cérès editions 2006.
Your rating: None
Advertising Program          Terms of Service          Copyright          Useful links          Social networks          Credits