28.08.2019

UNIQA enjoys solid 1st half of 2019

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  • Premiums written (including savings portion) up 0.6 per cent at €2,814.9 million
  • Retained premiums earned rise by 1.7 per cent to €2,425.1 million
  • Combined ratio increases slightly to 97.3 per cent
  • Investment income improves 4.2 per cent to €301.0 million
  • Earnings before taxes: €135.9 million (2018: €97.6 million excluding Casino non-recurring effect)
  • Earnings outlook for 2019: slight growth in premiums and further improvement in earnings before taxes compared with previous year’s adjusted figure
  • Plans to continue progressive dividend policy confirmed

Press release (10963 Characters)Plain text

  • Premiums written (including savings portion) up 0.6 per cent at €2,814.9 million
  • Retained premiums earned rise by 1.7 per cent to €2,425.1 million
  • Combined ratio increases slightly to 97.3 per cent
  • Investment income improves 4.2 per cent to €301.0 million
  • Earnings before taxes: €135.9 million (2018: €97.6 million excluding Casino non-recurring effect)
  • Earnings outlook for 2019: slight growth in premiums and further improvement in earnings before taxes compared with previous year’s adjusted figure
  • Plans to continue progressive dividend policy confirmed

Generating earnings before taxes of €135.9 million in the 1st half of 2019, UNIQA exceeded previous year’s figure, which – adjusted for one-time gains on disposal of €47.4 million from the sale of the interest in Casinos Austria Aktiengesellschaft – was €97.6 million.

Premiums written (including savings portion) rose slightly by 0.6 per cent. Retained premiums earned picked up by 1.7 per cent in the same period.

The UNIQA Group’s techniocal result declined in the 1st half of 2019, primarily a result of a 51.3 per cent rise in costs to €26.7 million. The combined ratio after reinsurance increased to 97.3 per cent in connection with the higher costs, in part from the long-term investment programme (January – June 2018: 97.1 per cent).

The 4.2 per cent rise in investment income to €301.0 million had a positive impact.

In the last full year of the UNIQA 2.0 strategy programme, UNIQA is continuing to place emphasis on optimising the existing business model and supplementing it with deliberate investments in future-relevant innovations for its approximately 10 million customers in 18 countries. The solid result in the first six months of 2019 is a good basis for the year as a whole and for the confirmation of the unchanged outlook for the 2019 financial year: higher earnings before taxes than in 2018 – where the figure was adjusted for the non-recurring effect from the sale of the interest in Casinos Austria – and a further increase in distribution per share to reflect the unchanged progressive dividend policy.

Key Group figures – January to June 2019 in detail

Total premiums written by the UNIQA Group (including the savings portion of unit- and index-linked life insurance) went up slightly by 0.6 per cent to €2,814.9 million in the 1st half of 2019 (January to June 2018: €2,798.4 million). Recurring premiums included in that expanded by 0.8 per cent to €2,759.8 million (January to June 2018: €2,738.6 million). At the same time, single premiums in the life insurance business dropped by 7.8 per cent to €55.1 million, in line with strategy (January to June 2018: €59.8 million). Retained premiums earned (in accordance with IFRS) increased by 1.7 per cent to €2,425.1 million (January to June 2018: €2,385.5 million).

Premiums written in property and casualty insurance rose by 1.9 per cent to €1,535.0 million in the first six months of 2019 (January to June 2018: €1,506.2 million). Retained premiums earned in this segment went up by 3.4 per cent. Premiums written in health insurance rose by 3.4 per cent to €568.1 million in the reporting period (January to June 2018: €549.4 million). Retained premiums earned in health insurance (in accordance with IFRS) saw an upturn of 3.1 per cent. In life insurance, premiums written including the savings portion of unit- and index-linked life insurance decreased by a total of 4.2 per cent to €711.8 million in the first six months of 2019 (January to June 2018: €742.9 million).

In international business, premiums written including the savings portion of unit- and index-linked life insurance fell by a total of 0.8 per cent to €808.0 million in the first six months of 2019 (January to June 2018: €814.2 million). Single premiums declined by 5.6 per cent to €41.7 million (January to June 2018: €44.1 million). As a result, the international companies contributed 28.7 per cent of total Group premiums in the 1st half of 2019 (January to June 2018: 29.1 per cent).

In the UNIQA International segment, premiums written in property and casualty insurance decreased by 1.5 per cent to €555.6 million (January to June 2018: €563.8 million), due chiefly to portfolio restructuring in the international industrial customer business in Liechtenstein. This segment’s total international premiums accounted for 36.2 per cent of Group premiums (January to June 2018: 37.4 per cent). Health insurance premiums written climbed 16.0 per cent to €49.5 million in the 1st half of 2019 (January to June 2018: €42.7 million), while life insurance premiums moved up by 2.3 per cent to €202.9 million (January to June 2018: €207.7 million).

In Austria, premiums written including the savings portion of unit- and index-linked life insurance rose by a total of 1.2 per cent to €1,992.9 million in the 1st half of 2019 (January to June 2018: €1,970.1 million). Premiums written in property and casualty insurance rose by 3.7 per cent to €966.1 million as a result of ongoing growth in vehicle insurance and property insurance (January to June 2018: €931.7 million), while health insurance premiums increased by 2.4 per cent to €518.6 million (January to June 2018: € 506.7 million). Driven by low demand stemming from continued low interest rates, premiums written in life insurance including the savings portion of unit- and index-linked life insurance fell by 4.4 per cent to €508.2 million (January to June 2018: €531.7 million).

The total amount of retained insurance benefits of the UNIQA Group rose by 1.1 per cent to €1,852.3 million in the 1st half of 2019 (January to June 2018: €1,832.3 million). Retained insurance benefits rose by 1.6 per cent in property and casualty insurance, totalling €861.4 million (January to June 2018: €847.6 million), and by 3.4 per cent up to €476.3 million in health insurance (January to June 2018: €460.5 million). In life insurance, benefits declined by 1.8 per cent to €514.6 million (January to June 2018: €524.2 million).

Operating expenses rose by 6.4 per cent to €449.0 million (January to June 2018: €422.2 million), owing in part to increased write-downs of capitalised acquisition costs in life insurance. Other operating expenses (administration costs) climbed by 12.4 per cent in the 1st half of 2019 to €247.8 million (January to June 2018: €220.4 million) as a result of higher investments and additional resources and staff requirements for the strategic projects. This includes costs in connection with the innovation and investment programme amounting to roughly €27 million (January to June 2018: roughly €12 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 increased to 27.0 per cent (January to June 2018: 25.3 per cent). The combined ratio after reinsurance increased to 97.3 per cent in connection with the higher costs (January – June 2018: 97.1 per cent).

Investment income rose by 4.2 per cent to €301.0 million in the 1st half of 2019 (January to June 2018: €288.7 million). Realised and unrealised gains and losses of around €50 million had a positive impact in the 1st half of 2019. This includes realised gains from selling properties amounting to around €45 million.

The investment portfolio of the UNIQA Group increased as against the end of the previous year to €20,506.8 million as at 30 June 2019 (31 December 2018: €19,337.1 million).

The UNIQA Group’s technical result declined in the 1st half of 2019, primarily a result of a 51.3 per cent rise in costs to €26.7 million (January to June 2018: €54.9 million). In contrast, operating earnings decreased only slightly due to the higher investment result, falling by 4.4 per cent to €164.1 million (January to June 2018: €171.7 million). Earnings before taxes of the UNIQA Group declined accordingly by 6.3 per cent to €135.9 million (January to June 2018: €145.0 million).

Consolidated net profit (net profit for the period attributable to the shareholders of UNIQA Insurance Group AG) decreased by 5.9 per cent to €105.6 million (January to June 2018: €112.3 million). Earnings per share amounted to €0.34 (January to June 2018: €0.37).

As at 30 June 2019, equity attributable to the shareholders of UNIQA Insurance Group AG increased to €3,224.8 million (31 December 2018: €2,972.1 million). The primary factor behind this development was the increased valuation of financial instruments held for sale on account of lower interest rates.

The average number of employees at the UNIQA Group decreased to 12,731 in the first six months of 2019 (January to June 2018: 12,876).

Outlook
For the 2019 financial year as a whole, UNIQA is expecting growth in property and casualty premiums of approximately 2 per cent and a rise in health insurance premiums of around 3 per cent. In view of the persistently low interest rates and the subdued demand for long-term pension products, the company is expecting a continuation of declining life insurance premiums. In 2019 as a whole, UNIQA is expecting moderate growth in total premium volume of around 1 per cent.

UNIQA is anticipating a decline in investment income in 2019 due to the non-recurring effect from the sale of Casinos Austria Aktiengesellschaft in 2018.

In property and casualty insurance, UNIQA is continuing to strive for increased profitability in its actuarial core business in 2019 and on this basis a further increase in the combined ratio compared with 2018.

Overall, UNIQA is anticipating an improvement in earnings before taxes for the 2019 financial year compared with the figure for 2018, which was adjusted for the non-recurring effect from the Casinos Austria sale. UNIQA is still intending to increase the annual distribution per share again in the coming year as part of a progressive dividend policy.

Forward-looking statements
This press release contains statements concerning UNIQA’s future development. These statements present estimates that 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 10.1 million customers in 18 countries. UNIQA is the second-largest insurance group in Austria with a market share of more than 22 per cent. UNIQA operates in 15 markets in the CEE growth region: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Kosovo, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine. The UNIQA Group also includes insurance companies in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
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Contact

Gregor Markus Bitschnau, Konzern-Pressesprecher
 
Untere Donaustraße 21
1029 Wien
Tel: +43 1 211 75-3440
Mobil: +43 664 889 155 64
Fax: +43 1 211 75-3619

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