UNIQA starts 2019 financial year with sound quarterly figures
- Recurring premiums written stable at €1,504.7 million
- Retained premiums earned rise by 1.7 per cent to €1,231.1 million
- Combined ratio improves to 96.3 per cent
- Technical result increases by 34.8 per cent to €34.0 million
- Earnings before taxes of €42.3 million higher than previous year’s adjusted figure of €23.7 million
- 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
UNIQA Insurance Group made a positive start to 2019 with earnings before taxes of €42.3 million in the first quarter. 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 €23.7 million.
Premiums written (including savings portion) decreased slightly by 0.4 per cent. By contrast, retained premiums earned rose by 1.7 per cent.
The technical result continued to develop positively, UNIQA having increased it by 34.8 per cent to €34.0 million. The combined ratio in property and casualty insurance improved from 97.4 per cent to 96.3 per cent – despite increased costs from the long-term investment programme and increased claims due to exceptionally large snowfalls in Austria.
Investment income fell by 28.0 per cent or €39.1 million year-on-year to 100.6 million. Admittedly, the previous year’s figure included gains on disposal of €47.4 million from the sale of the interest in Casinos Austria Aktiengesellschaft.
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 three 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.
Today, on 16 May 2019, UNIQA will publish its report on the first quarter of 2019 as well as its Solvency and Financial Condition Report (SFCR) for 2018, in which it will report a regulatory capital requirement (SCR ratio) of 248 per cent (2017: 250 per cent) – a healthy figure by international standards.
Key Group figures 1–3/2019 in detail
Total premiums written by the UNIQA Group (including the savings portion of unit- and index-linked life insurance) went down slightly by 0.4 per cent to €1,530.0 million in the first quarter of 2019 (1–3/2018: €1,535.4 million). The recurring premiums that this included remained virtually stable at €1,504.7 million (1–3/2018: €1,506.3 million), while single premiums in life insurance were reduced by 13.0 per cent to €25.3 million (1–3/2018: €29.1 million) in line with strategy. Retained premiums earned (in accordance with IFRS) increased by 1.7 per cent to €1,231.1 million (1–3/2018: €1,210.6 million).
Premiums written in property and casualty insurance rose by 1.4 per cent to €880.8 million in the first three months of 2019 (1–3/2018: €868.8 million). Retained premiums earned in this segment went up by 3.7 per cent. Premiums written in health insurance increased by 3.1 per cent to €288.8 million (1–3/2018: €280.1 million). Retained premiums earned in health insurance rose by 2.9 per cent. In life insurance, total premiums written (including the savings portion of unit- and index-linked life insurance) fell by 6.8 per cent to €360.4 million (1–3/2018: €386.5 million). Retained premiums earned in life insurance declined by 3.6 per cent.
In international business, premiums written in property and casualty insurance decreased by 4.2 per cent due to factors including portfolio restructuring in the international industrial business, which is bundled in Liechtenstein (1–3/2019: €294.5 million / 1–3/2018: €307.4 million). Premiums written in health insurance, on the other hand, climbed by 20.1 per cent (1–3/2019: €23.7 million / 1–3/2018: €19.7 million), while premiums written in life insurance fell by 9.3 per cent (1–3/2019: €91.5 million / 1–3/2018: €100.9 million). In total, UNIQA generated written premiums in international business (including savings portions) of €409.7 million (down 4.3 per cent / 1–3/2018: €428.0 million). Retained premiums earned in international business rose by 4.1 per cent.
In Austria, UNIQA recorded a significant increase in property and casualty premiums of 3.8 per cent in the first quarter of 2019 on the back of continued growth in vehicle and property insurance (1–3/2019: €574.9 million / 1–3/2018: €553.9 million). Health insurance premiums went up by 1.8 per cent (1–3/2019: €265.1 million / 1–3/2018: €260.4 million). Premiums written in life insurance went down by 5.3 per cent to €268.6 million (1–3/2018: €283.6 million), with single premiums declining by 27.7 per cent. In total, UNIQA generated growth in premiums written in Austria (including savings portions) of 1.0 per cent to €1,108.6 million (1–3/2018: €1,097.9 million). Retained premiums earned in Austria increased by 0.3 per cent.
In contrast to retained premiums earned, the total amount of retained insurance benefits of the UNIQA Group fell by 0.7 per cent to €927.0 million in the first quarter of 2019 (1–3/2018: €933.8 million).
Total operating expenses less reinsurance commissions received rose by 8.4 per cent to €346.6 million in the first three months of 2019 (1–3/2018: €319.9 million). Acquisition expenses posted an increase of 8.3 per cent to €226.3 million (1–3/2018: €208.9 million). Other operating expenses (administrative expenses) increased by 8.5 per cent to €120.4 million in the first quarter of 2019 (1–3/2018: €110.9 million). This includes costs in connection with the innovation and investment programme amounting to roughly €14 million (1–3/2018: roughly €6 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 26.8 per cent (1–3/2018: 24.9 per cent). The combined ratio after reinsurance improved by more than one percentage point to 96.3 per cent as a result of a significantly lower loss ratio (1–3/2018: 97.4 per cent).
Investment income contracted by €39.1 million or 28.0 per cent to €100.6 million in the first quarter of 2019 (1–3/2018: €139.6 million). This was because the previous year’s figure included gains on disposal from the sale of the indirect interest in Casinos Austria Aktiengesellschaft.
The investment portfolio of the UNIQA Group (including investment property, financial assets accounted for using the equity method and other investments) increased as at 31 March 2019 compared with the end of the previous year to €20,102.7 million (31 December 2018: €19,337.1 million).
UNIQA increased its technical result substantially by 34.8 per cent to €34.0 million in the first quarter of 2019 (1–3/2018: €25.2 million). This was due primarily to the higher premium volume and lower life insurance benefits. The operating result, on the other hand, decreased by 33.7 per cent to €56.1 million (1–3/2018: €84.5 million). This was the result of reduced investment income – triggered by the one-time gains on disposal of €47.4 million in the first quarter of 2018. This also drove earnings before taxes down by €28.8 million or 40.5 per cent to €42.3 million (1–3/2018: €71.1 million). The previous year’s figure – adjusted for one-time gains on disposal from the sale of the interest in Casinos Austria Aktiengesellschaft – was €23.7 million.
Consolidated net profit (net profit for the period attributable to the shareholders of UNIQA Insurance Group AG) decreased accordingly by 39.9 per cent to €32.2 million (1–3/2018: €53.6 million). Earnings per share amounted to €0.10 (1–3/2018: €0.17).
As at 31 March 2019, equity attributable to the shareholders of UNIQA Insurance Group AG increased to €3,172.5 million (31 December 2018: €2,972.1 million).
The average number of employees at the UNIQA Group rose slightly to 12,851 in the first three months of the year (1–3/2018: 12,810).
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.
On 16 May UNIQA will publish its Solvency and Financial Condition Report (SFCR) at www.uniqagroup.com.
The 20th Annual General Meeting of UNIQA Insurance Group AG will be held on 20 May. CEO Andreas Brandstetter’s speech will be broadcast live at www.uniqagroup.com from 10:00 and will be available as a recording after the end of the Annual General Meeting.
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.
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 21 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.