Although our region has experienced great turbulences and hardships in the past and was often excluded from major economic and trading courses, the insurance industry boasts a rich history and long tradition.
The earliest evidence dates back to the medieval Serbia, the Code of Dušan the Emperor, which stipulated measures for the protection of property, people and tangible goods against numerous risks, such as: fire and arson, theft, robbery, demolition etc. It was also provided that a damage to a squire’s estate should be compensated out of the emperor’s treasury, whereupon this fund would be re-filled by way of local taxes.
The oldest document mentioning insurance in Montenegro is the Statute of Budva, from the 15th century. Fragments about insurance are found in the Chapter CCXXXI, which states the following: “Should our citizen be robbed without a reason in any city of the monarch, the municipality shall be obliged to compensate for such a loss”.
Subsequently, the insurance business developed in various forms, through mutual solidarity of members and their families, in confraternities and guild organizations or through various forms of marine insurance. Development of capitalism brought about profound changes in the insurance field; from the 18th century, the agents and offices of foreign insurance companies began operating within our region. However, the insurance was first mentioned in Belgrade in 1839, when a merchant, called Zuban, bought an insurance coverage for his house and contents, from an insurance company from Trieste, to the sum of 175 thalers. The Novine srbske newspaper extensively covered this case, because only a few days later, Zuban’s house burned down to the ground, and the owner received payment of the full sum insured.
Then followed the set-up of subsidiaries of foreign, mainly Italian and Austrian insurance companies. The first Serbian insurance institution, Belgrade Cooperative, was founded in 1897. In the early 20th century a few other insurance companies were founded which, together with foreign branches, operated until the World War II.
After the World War II and changes caused by the socialist revolution, insurance business became state-controlled and in 1945, the National Insurance and Reinsurance Institute was established by merger of pre-war insurance companies Dunav, Elementar and Winershtedishe. The Institute performed three major functions: insurance of state and public property against fire and allied perils, writing of all types of compulsory insurance lines, and reinsurance. The amendments to the Constitution and political circumstances resulted in changes in premium rates and insurance regulations, whereas insurance was decentralized in 1968 when the process was reversed again and a total of 128 institutes and 7 insurance associations were integrated into 11 insurance institutes. Among them were Beograd and Yugoslavia which, in 1974, integrated into ZOIL Dunav. In 1990, the institute changed its name into Dunav Joint Stock Insurance Company a.d., with unlimited liability, to subsequently become Dunav Insurance Company, a central part of Dunav Group, with several subsidiaries.
Today, this is a modern company, the leader on the Serbian insurance market, and the only domestic company registered for all insurance classes. With 29 main branch offices and about 600 points of sale, the Company boasts a strong business network which constantly improves its operations and develops its information technology, thus approaching the standards of major European insurance companies.