19.11.2019

UNIQA releases solid figures for the first nine months and establishes leaner Group structure

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  • Premiums written (including savings portion) increased by 1.3 per cent to €4,095.7 million
  • Combined ratio improves considerably to 95.9 per cent
  • Earnings before taxes up 2.4 per cent to €214.7 million
  • 2019 outlook confirmed: improvement in earnings before taxes compared with previous year’s adjusted figure
  • Plans to continue progressive dividend policy confirmed
  • New, leaner Group structure in 2020 following merger of three companies

Press release (14625 Characters)Plain text

  • Premiums written (including savings portion) increased by 1.3 per cent to €4,095.7 million
  • Combined ratio improves considerably to 95.9 per cent
  • Earnings before taxes up 2.4 per cent to €214.7 million
  • 2019 outlook confirmed: improvement in earnings before taxes compared with previous year’s adjusted figure
  • Plans to continue progressive dividend policy confirmed
  • New, leaner Group structure in 2020 following merger of three companies

Generating earnings before taxes of €214.7 million in the first nine months of 2019, UNIQA exceeded its result in the previous year (€209.6 million) by 2.4 per cent. The previous year’s figure – adjusted for one-time gains on disposal of€47.4 million from the sale of the interest in Casinos Austria Aktiengesellschaft – was €162.2 million. This resulted in a year-on-year increase in adjusted earnings of 32.4 per cent.

Premiums written (including savings portion) rose slightly by 1.3 per cent. Retained premiums earned picked up by 2.0 per cent in the same period.

The loss ratio in property and casualty insurance also performed well, falling to 64.5 per cent and thereby improving by 1.4 percentage points against the previous year. The combined ratio has since declined to a good 95.9 per cent as a result of this.

Investment income was virtually unchanged. The slight 2.3 per cent decrease to €433.4 million is encouraging given that UNIQA had posted extraordinary gains on disposal of €47.4 million in the previous year for the sale of its interest in Casinos Austria.

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 over 10 million customers in 18 countries. The solid result in the first nine months of 2019 is a good basis for the year as a whole and for the confirmation of the unchanged outlook: adjusted for the non-recurring effect from the sale of its interest in Casinos Austria in the previous year, UNIQA is anticipating an improvement in earnings before taxes in the 2019 financial year as a whole and, as part of its still progressive dividend policy, plans to increase the distribution per share once again.

Group structure and Management Board

UNIQA has already begun to establish the structural requirements needed to implement its “UNIQA 3.0” strategy programme, which will be presented in the middle of next year. To achieve this, the three largest companies at the Austria location (the listed UNIQA Insurance Group AG and its two subsidiaries UNIQA Österreich Versicherungen AG and UNIQA International AG) will – subject to regulatory approval – be merged into one company. “In times of challenging economic circumstances and tougher competition, our aim is to become significantly more customer-focused, leaner and more efficient,” said CEO Andreas Brandstetter, explaining the change. The Management Board, which was already reduced at the three companies in 2016 from 22 members to 11 at present, is once again to be downsized to nine members under the new company’s target structure.

The new Management Board will also have three areas for “Customers and Markets” to reflect rapidly changing requirements on the part of private, commercial and industrial customers. These three areas will be “Austria”, “Bank-based sales Austria” and “International”. They will be supported in the Management Board by six Group Functions.

  • Andreas Brandstetter (CEO), 50, CEO of the UNIQA Group since 2011
  • Wolfgang Kindl (Customers and Markets International), 53, CEO of UNIQA International since 2011
  • Peter Humer (Customers and Markets Austria), 48, Regional Director of UNIQA Salzburg since 2009 and member of the Management Board at UNIQA Austria since 2017
  • Klaus Pekarek (Customers and Markets Bancassurance Austria), 62, CEO of Raiffeisen Versicherungen AG since 2009 and member of the Management Board at UNIQA Austria since 2016
  • Peter Eichler (Personal Insurance), 58, member of the Management Board at UNIQA Austria since 1998
  • Kurt Svoboda (Finance & Risk Management), 52, member of the Management Board at the UNIQA Group since 2011 and CEO of UNIQA Austria since 2017
  • Wolf Gerlach (Operations), 40, member of the Management Board at UNIQA Romania since 2012 and at UNIQA Hungary since 2016
  • Erik Leyers (Data & IT), 49, member of the Management Board at UNIQA Austria since 2015 and member of the Management Board at the UNIQA Group since 2016
  • René Knapp (HR & Brand), 36, at UNIQA since 2007 and Head of Actuarial & Risk Management since 2015

Sabine Usaty, Andreas Kößl, Zoran Visnjic and Johannes Porak will leave their Management Board positions at UNIQA Österreich Versicherungen AG and UNIQA International AG at the end of 2019 but will continue to hold senior positions in the Group. Subject to approval, UNIQA plans to complete the merger as end of September 2020.

Key Group figures January to September 2019 in detail

The UNIQA Group’s premiums written, including the savings portion of unit- and index-linked life insurance, increased by 1.3 per cent to €4,095.7 million in the first three quarters of 2019 (January to September 2018: €4,042.3 million). While the recurring premiums this includes grew by 1.5 per cent to €4,015.7 million (January to September 2018: €3,957.7 million), single premiums in life insurance declined by 5.4 per cent to €80.1 million in line with strategy (January to September 2018: €84.6 million). Retained premiums earned (in accordance with IFRS) increased by 2.0 per cent to €3,642.3 million (January to September 2018: €3,571.4 million).

Premiums written in property and casualty insurance rose by 2.6 per cent to €2,201.5 million in the first nine months of 2019 (January to September 2018: €2,145.7 million). Retained premiums earned in this segment went up by 3.5 per cent. Premiums written in health insurance rose by 4.6 per cent to €855.5 million in the reporting period (January to September 2018: €817.8 million). Retained premiums earned in health insurance (in accordance with IFRS) saw an upturn of 3.6 per cent. In life insurance, premiums written including the savings portion of unit- and index-linked life insurance decreased by a total of 3.7 per cent to €1,038.8 million in the first nine months of 2019 (January to September 2018: €1,078.9 million). The key driver behind this performance remains low demand stemming from continued low interest rates.

In international business, premiums written including the savings portion of unit- and index-linked life insurance rose slightly by 0.1 per cent to €1,175.7 million in the first nine months of 2019 (January to September 2018: €1,174.8 million). Single premiums declined by 3.2 per cent to €61.6 million (January to September 2018: €63.7 million). As a result, the international companies contributed 28.7 per cent of total Group premiums in the first three quarters of 2019 (January to September 2018: 29.1 per cent).

In the UNIQA International segment, premiums written in property and casualty insurance expanded by 0.7 per cent to €811.7 million (January to September 2018: €806.3 million), due chiefly to portfolio restructuring in the international industrial customer business in Liechtenstein. This segment’s total international premiums accounted for 36.9 per cent of Group premiums (January to September 2018: 37.6 per cent). Health insurance premiums written remained stable in the first nine months of 2019 at €59.7 million (January to September 2018: €59.6 million), whereas those in life insurance declined by 1.5 per cent to €304.3 million (January to September 2018: €308.9 million), chiefly the result of lower premiums in Russia.

In Austria, premiums written including the savings portion of unit- and index-linked life insurance rose by 1.8 per cent to €2,905.9 million in the first nine months of 2019 (January to September 2018: €2,853.4 million). Premiums written in property and casualty insurance rose by 3.5 per cent to €1,376.7 million as a result of ongoing growth in vehicle insurance and property insurance (January to September 2018: €1,330.3 million), with UNIQA Austria also reporting health insurance premiums growth of 5 per cent to €795.8 million (January to September 2018: € 758.2 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 in the UNIQA Austria segment fell by 4.1 per cent to €733.4 million (January to September 2018: €764.9 million).

The total amount of retained insurance benefits of the UNIQA Group rose only moderately by 0.7 per cent to €2,783.2 million in the first three quarters of 2019 (January to September 2018: €2,763.9 million). Despite storm damage totalling around €70 million, retained insurance benefits in property and casualty insurance saw only marginal growth of 1.3 per cent to €1,295.5 million (January to September 2018: €1,279.2 million). Retained insurance benefits in health insurance climbed by 5.0 per cent to €727.3 million (January to September 2018: €692.8 million), whereas the figure for life insurance fell by 4.0 per cent to €760.3 million (January to September 2018: €792.0 million).

Total operating expenses less reinsurance commissions received rose by 7.0 per cent to €1,018.6 million in the first nine months of 2019 (January to September 2018: €951.6 million). Acquisition expenses rose by 5.6 per cent to €663.0 million (January to September 2018: €627.8 million), owing in part to increased write-downs of capitalised acquisition costs in life insurance. Other operating expenses (administration costs) climbed by 9.8 per cent in the first nine months of 2019 to €355.6 million (January to September 2018: €323.9 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 €31 million (January to September 2018: roughly €23 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 26.3 per cent (January to September 2018: 25.1 per cent). The combined ratio after reinsurance declined to 95.9 per cent despite higher costs (January – September 2018: 96.6 per cent).

Investment income fell slightly by 2.3 per cent to €433.4 million in the first three quarters of 2019 (January to September 2018: €443.7 million). Realised and unrealised gains and losses of around €48 million had a positive impact in the first nine months 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 €21,050.9 million as at 30 September 2019 (31 December 2018: €19,337.1 million).

The UNIQA Group’s underwriting result declined in the first three quarters of 2019, primarily a result of a 11.8 per cent rise in costs to €69.4 million (January to September 2018: €78.7 million). In contrast, operating result increased slightly by 2.3 per cent to €256.6 million (January to September 2018: €250.8 million). Despite one-time gains on disposal of €47.4 million from the sale of the interest in Casinos Austria Aktiengesellschaft in the previous year, the UNIQA Group’s earnings before taxes picked up by 2.4 per cent to €214.7 million (January to September 2018: €209.6 million).

Consolidated net profit (net profit for the period attributable to the shareholders of UNIQA Insurance Group AG) increased by 1.7 per cent to €167.1 million (January to September 2018: €164.3million). Earnings per share amounted to € 0.54 (January to September 2018: € 0.54).

As at 30 September 2019, equity attributable to the shareholders of UNIQA Insurance Group AG increased to €3,398.4 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 12,750 in the first nine months of 2019 (January to September 2018: 12,775).

Outlook

UNIQA is expecting moderate growth in total premium volume of around 1 per cent in 2019 as a whole. UNIQA is anticipating premium growth of around 2 per cent in property and casualty insurance and roughly 3 per cent in health insurance. 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.

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

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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