Meldung vom 16.11.2017

UNIQA records higher premiums and earnings growth after the first nine months

Kurztext (581 Zeichen)Plaintext

  • Group premiums written rise 6.1 per cent to € 4,043.9 million
  • Technical result increases by 69.4 per cent to € 97.9 million
  • Combined ratio improves to 97.1 per cent
  • Investment income declines by 6.2 per cent to € 393.6 million due to continuing low interest rate environment
  • Earnings before taxes up 21.8 per cent to € 181.4 million
  • Earnings outlook for 2017 confirmed: slight improvement in earnings before taxes compared to the previous year
  • Progressive dividend policy to be continued

Pressetext (8470 Zeichen)Plaintext

  • Group premiums written rise 6.1 per cent to € 4,043.9 million
  • Technical result increases by 69.4 per cent to € 97.9 million
  • Combined ratio improves to 97.1 per cent
  • Investment income declines by 6.2 per cent to € 393.6 million due to continuing low interest rate environment
  • Earnings before taxes up 21.8 per cent to € 181.4 million
  • Earnings outlook for 2017 confirmed: slight improvement in earnings before taxes compared to the previous year
  • Progressive dividend policy to be continued


The UNIQA Insurance Group (UNIQA) continued to grow in all insurance sectors in the first three quarters of 2017. In total, premiums written – including the savings portion of unit- and index-linked life insurance – rose by more than 6.1 per cent. In line with our strategy, premium income increased considerably (up 19.7 per cent), primarily in Central and Eastern Europe and particularly in property and casualty insurance and unit- and index-linked life insurance. There was also a slight increase in premiums of 0.7 per cent in Austria; health insurance and property and casualty insurance climbed significantly while premiums in life insurance declined on account of the strategy of restraint in single premiums.

UNIQA CEO Andreas Brandstetter: “We are satisfied with our performance in the first nine months: we succeeded in further increasing premiums and also recorded significant growth in earnings before taxes. We also succeeded in our efforts to achieve a sustainable improvement in our core business: we managed to increase the technical result by 69.4 per cent thanks primarily to our successful efforts to reduce the cost ratio and improve the combined ratio. This sustainable improvement overcompensates both the declines in investment income, where we continue to be hampered by the effects of low interest rates, as well as the increased claims resulting from the weather events of the first nine months.

We continue to expect a slight year-on-year improvement in earnings before taxes for the 2017 financial year, even after the additional storm damage in October, and are planning a further moderate increase in the dividend per share for the 2017 financial year.”

Key Group figures for 1-9/2017 in detail
Total premiums written by the UNIQA Group including the savings portion of unit- and index-linked life insurance increased by 6.1 per cent to € 4,043.9 million in the first three quarters of 2017 (1-9/2016: € 3,812.3 million) due to solid growth in all segments. This figure includes recurring premiums, which climbed 3.8 per cent to € 3,837.2 million (1-9/2016: € 3,695.5 million). Net premiums earned including the net savings portion of the premiums from unit- and index-linked life insurance rose by 7.1 per cent to € 3,844.4 million (1-9/2016: € 3,590.8 million). Retained premiums earned (in accordance with IFRS) increased by 4.2 per cent to € 3,473.0 million (1-9/2016: € 3,332.4 million).   

All three business segments also recorded positive growth rates in the first three quarters of 2017. Premiums written in health insurance climbed by 3.7 per cent to € 783.5 million in the period under review (1-9/2016: € 755.2 million), while in property and casualty insurance they grew by 5.7 per cent to € 2,048.4 million in the first nine months of 2017 (1-9/2016: € 1,937.6 million). In life insurance, total premiums written including the savings portion of unit- and index-linked life insurance grew by 8.3 per cent to € 1,211.9 million (1-9/2016: € 1,119.4 million) as a result of strong growth in single premiums in Poland in the first three quarters.

In international business premiums written climbed by an impressive 19.7 per cent to € 1,217.7 million (1-9/2016: € 1,017.3 million) and moved up slightly in Austria to € 2,739.9 million (1-9/2016: € 2,774.7 million).

The total amount of retained insurance benefits of the UNIQA Group rose by 2.9 per cent to € 2,659.0 million in the first three quarters of 2017 (1-9/2016: € 2,585.1 million), thus growing considerably more slowly than premiums.

Total operating expenses less reinsurance commissions received rose only slightly by 0.9 per cent to € 942.7 million in the first nine months of 2017 (1-9/2016: € 934.5 million). Despite the significant rise in the volume of premiums earned, acquisition expenses remained almost on a par with the previous year at € 645.5 million (1-9/2016: € 644.4 million). Other operating expenses (administration costs) climbed by 2.4 per cent in the first three quarters of 2017 to € 297.2 million (1-9/2016: € 290.1 million) as a result of expenses of around € 25 million relating to the innovation and investment programme.

The cost ratio – the ratio of total operating expenses to premiums earned including the net savings portion of the premiums from unit- and index-linked life insurance – less reinsurance commissions received improved to 24.5 per cent (1-9/2016: 26.0 per cent). The combined ratio after reinsurance improved to 97.1 per cent (1-9/2016: 98.3 per cent).

Investment income decreased by 6.2 per cent to € 393.6 million in the first three quarters of 2017 (1-9/2016: € 419.4 million) under the influence of persistently low interest rates and negative exchange rate effects amounting to around € 56 million.

The investment portfolio of the UNIQA Group (including investment property, financial assets accounted for using the equity method and other investments) decreased as against the end of the previous year to € 19,526.7 million as at 30 September 2017 (31 December 2016: € 20,024.8 million).

The technical result of the UNIQA Group improved by 69.4 per cent to € 97.9 million in the first three quarters of 2017 (1-9/2016: € 57.8 million). This improvement reflects the decreased expense ratios for health insurance and life insurance as well as the improvement in the combined ratio for property and casualty insurance. Operating earnings increased by 9.9 per cent to €226.3 million (1-9/2016: €205.9 million). The UNIQA Group’s earnings before taxes climbed by 21.8 per cent to € 181.4 million (1-9/2016: € 148.9 million).

Consolidated profit (net profit for the period attributable to the shareholders of UNIQA Insurance Group AG) decreased by 23.1 per cent to € 114.4 million (1-9/2016: € 148.8 million). This figure includes a negative result from discontinued operations (after taxes) in the amount of € 33.1 million due to a one-off negative effect from the purchase price adjustment during the sale of the Italian business. Earnings per share amounted to € 0.37 (1-9/2016: € 0.48).

The UNIQA Group’s equity amounted to € 3,107.6 million (31 December 2016: € 3,186.3 million).

The average number of employees at the UNIQA Group fell to 12,797 in the first nine months of 2017 (1-9/2016: 13,584).

Outlook
Based on our strong performance in the first nine months, UNIQA anticipates significant growth in premiums written of around 4 per cent for the 2017 financial year. For 2017 as a whole, UNIQA continues to expect a slight year-on-year improvement in earnings before taxes regardless of the storm damage in July, August and October. Despite the investment programme that has been ongoing since 2016 and the challenging low interest rate environment, UNIQA still also intends to continuously increase the annual distribution per share in the years to come as part of a progressive dividend policy.

Forward-looking statements
This press release contains statements referring to the future development of the UNIQA Group. These statements present estimates which were reached on the basis of all of the information available to us at the present time. If the assumptions on which they are based do not occur, the actual results may deviate from the results currently expected. As a result, no liability is accepted for this information.

UNIQA
The UNIQA Group is one of the leading insurance groups in its core markets of Austria and Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Around 20,000 employees and exclusive sales partners serve over 9.6 million customers in 18 countries. UNIQA is the second-largest insurance group in Austria with a market share of more than 21 per cent. UNIQA operates in 15 markets in the CEE growth region: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine. The UNIQA Group also includes insurance companies in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

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