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UNIQA Insurance Group AG (UNIQA) continued the very good development of 2021 in the first quarter of 2022. Premium growth of 4.3 per cent, a consolidated net profit of €106.4 million and investment income of €169.6 million show continued positive momentum in business performance in the first quarter of 2022.
As the insurance business has demonstrated high resilience during the pandemic, the Group continues to assess the further development in the core underwriting business as solid and continues to expect consistent growth in premium volume for 2022. “That which lies within our own responsibility is currently proceeding according to plan. That which is beyond our direct control, such as the far-reaching consequences of Russia’s devastating war of aggression against Ukraine, we are trying to manage in the best way possible,” says Andreas Brandstetter, CEO of UNIQA Insurance Group. Given the acts of war, the UNIQA Group decided in February to stop all investments in the Russian insurance market. Currently, the Group is reviewing all options for the future in the Russian insurance market, including that of a complete exit.
With the start of the war in Ukraine and the sanctions against Russia that were introduced as a result, there were considerable uncertainties and upheavals on the capital markets. In the figures published by UNIQA for the first quarter of 2022, the negative market developments are reflected in equity, but impairment losses on investments of Ukrainian or Russian issuers are not recognised in profit or loss. UNIQA will re-evaluate the situation for the half-yearly financial report to be prepared as at 30 June 2022. The outlook for the year as a whole is subject to considerable uncertainty due to the consequences of this war, particularly in the area of investments, the pandemic, the development of inflation and the associated reaction of the central banks.
As an insurer, UNIQA is particularly aware of the dangers and effects of climate change. In addition to increasing natural disasters, rising energy prices and supply bottlenecks for raw materials show the urgency of the green transformation. The clear goal of UNIQA’s sustainability strategy is to make climate protection a part of the core business, to shape the company’s goals in line with the 1.5 degree target of the Paris Agreement and to consistently implement appropriate measures. UNIQA’s focus is on the core areas of investment, underwriting, operational management and consulting. After joining the global Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance, UNIQA in Austria has also been a founding member of the Green Finance Alliance initiated by the Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK) since May 2022.
Total premiums written by the UNIQA Group (including savings portions) increased by 4.3 per cent to €1,859.3 million in the first quarter of 2022. Premiums written by the UNIQA Austria segment increased by 3.9 per cent to €1,197.1 million in the first three months of 2022. In the UNIQA International segment, premiums written increased by 5.6 per cent to €662.2 million. This growth in premiums in the first quarter of 2022 contrasts with a lower increase in the total amount of retained insurance benefits of the UNIQA Group of 3.8 per cent to €1,063.1 million. The combined ratio after reinsurance remained at a very good 92.8 per cent due to a slight increase of the cost ratio in property and casualty insurance.
Based on simplified IFRS financial statements, UNIQA did not recognise any impairments on Russian or Ukrainian bonds in the first quarter of 2022, as there was no clear trigger for them according to the assessment as at 31 March. This situation will be reassessed with the half-yearly financial statements.
Today, on 19 May 2022, UNIQA will publish its results for the first quarter of 2022 as well as its Solvency and Financial Condition Report (SFCR) for 2021.
Key Group figures from January to March 2022 in detail
Total premiums written by the UNIQA Group (including the savings portion of unit- and index-linked life insurance) rose by 4.3 per cent to €1,859.3 million in the first quarter of 2022 (January to March 2021: €1,782.7 million). While recurring premiums grew by 4.0 per cent to €1,817.4 million (January to March 2021: €1,748.1 million), single premiums in life insurance rose by 21.1 per cent to €41.9 million (January to March 2021: €34.6 million). Retained premiums earned (in accordance with IFRS) increased by 3.9 per cent to €1,473.5 million (January to March 2021: €1,417.5 million).
Premiums written in property and casualty insurance rose by 4.6 per cent to €1,102.3 million in the first three months of 2022 (January to March 2021: €1,053.9 million). Premiums written in health insurance rose by 5.5 per cent to €326.0 million in the reporting period (January to March 2021: €309.0 million). In life insurance, premiums written, including the savings portion of unit- and index-linked life insurance, posted growth of 2.7 per cent to a total of €431.0 million in the first three months of 2022 (January to March 2021: €419.9 million).
UNIQA Austria’s premium volume written, including the savings portion of unit- and index-linked life insurance, increased by 3.9 per cent to €1,197.1 million in the first quarter of 2022 (January to March 2021: €1,152.0 million). Premiums written in international Group companies rose 5.6 per cent to €662.2 million (January to March 2021: €627.0 million).
The total amount of retained insurance benefits of the UNIQA Group rose by 3.8 per cent to €1,063.1 million in the first quarter of 2022 (January to March 2021: €1,024.2 million).
Total operating expenses rose by 3.2 per cent to €418.6 million in the first three months of 2022 (January to March 2021: €405.8 million). Acquisition expenses less reinsurance commissions received posted an increase of 16.0 per cent to €288.8 million (January to March 2021: €248.9 million). Other operating expenses (administration costs) decreased by 17.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2022 to €129.8 million (January to March 2021: €156.9 million). This includes costs in conjunction with the innovation and investment programme of around EUR 9 million (January to March 2021: around €11 million).
The total 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 decreased to 26.8 per cent (January to March 2021: 27.2 per cent). The combined ratio after reinsurance was 92.8 per cent (January to March 2021: 90.9 per cent) due to a slight increase of the cost ratio in property and casualty insurance.
Investment income increased by 12.9 per cent to €169.6 million in the first quarter of 2022 (January to March 2021: €150.1 million). The drivers behind this performance were higher purchase prices from shares and also fixed-income securities. Accounting for the 15.3 per cent interest in the construction group STRABAG SE using the equity method resulted in a negative contribution to earnings of €–18.0 million in the first quarter of 2022 (January to March 2021: €–18.7 million).
The investment portfolio of the UNIQA Group (including investment property, financial assets accounted for using the equity method and other investments) decreased as at 31 March 2022 compared with the end of the previous year to €20,405.0 million (31 December 2021: €21,785.0 million).
The UNIQA Group’s underwriting result was €59.5 million in the first quarter of 2022 (January to March 2021: €62.5 million). Operating earnings were €136.4 million (January to March 2021: €142.4 million). The UNIQA Group’s earnings before taxes amounted to €112.8 million (January to March 2021: €112.1 million).
Consolidated net profit (net profit for the period attributable to the shareholders of UNIQA Insurance Group AG) increased by 19.0 per cent to €106.4 million (January to March 2021: €89.4 million). Earnings per share amounted to €0.35 (January to March 2021: €0.29).
As at 31 March 2022, equity attributable to the shareholders of UNIQA Insurance Group AG decreased to €2,656.6 million (31 December 2021: €3,303.6 million) due to the increase in interest rates. The Solvency II ratio was 208 per cent as at 31 March 2022.
The average number of employees at the UNIQA Group decreased to 14,387 in the first three months of 2022 (January to March 2021: 14,817).
UNIQA currently sees the outlook for the core business as very stable. Despite Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, UNIQA expects premium growth, high underwriting profitability and the combined ratio to remain at a good level. As further developments on the international capital markets are currently very difficult to forecast due to the war, no earnings outlook can be provided.
As announced, the Annual General Meeting will be held in Vienna on 23 May 2022.
This press release contains statements concerning UNIQA’s future development. These statements are estimates based on all the information available to us at the current time. If the assumptions on which they are based do not occur, the actual results may deviate from the results currently expected. No guarantee can therefore be given for this information.
UNIQA GroupThe UNIQA Group is one of the leading insurance companies in its core markets of Austria and Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Around 22,400 employees and exclusive sales partners serve almost 16 million customers across 18 countries. UNIQA is the second largest insurance group in Austria with a market share of about 21 per cent. In the CEE growth region, UNIQA is present in 15 markets: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine. In addition, insurance companies in Switzerland and Liechtenstein are also part of the UNIQA Group.
© UNIQA Group 2021