The protection deficit among Romanians, as a difference between resources and need, is of about 172 billion RON (40 billion euro), ING Life Insurance general manager Bram Boon said on Wednesday.

He said he was astonished that Romanians don’t care a lot about life insurance, while Nicolae Crisan, head of the Romanian Commission for Insurance Control, said the introduction of a flat-tax in the country in 2005 allowed part the middle class to contribute to a boost of the life insurance sector over the past year.

According to ING Life Insurance estimates presented at a seminar in Bucharest, life insurance draws less interest among Romanians than property insurance, despite trends such as higher credit levels and spiraling consumption.

Crisan said, however, that after a three-year period of stagnation the life insurance sector reported growth in 2005 - 28% higher than the previous year with a total volume of 1.038 billion lei (282 million euro).

And according to data from Crisan’s commission, the level of market concentration continued in 2005 as only eight companies controlled over 88% of the market by the end of the year.