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UNIQA remains on track in Q1 2014

  • Premiums written up 2.3 per cent
  • Retained premiums earned (not including savings portions) rise by 6.6 per cent
  • Further improvement in Group cost ratio and combined ratio, significant increase in earnings in core insurance business
  • EBT up 20.2 per cent on a like-for-like basis (not including non-recurring effects from the hotel sale in 2013) 
  • Continued strong Solvency I ratio of 287 per cent


In the first quarter of 2014, the UNIQA Insurance Group AG (UNIQA Group) generated a profit on ordinary activities (EBT) of € 81.4 million. On a like-for-like basis (not including the non-recurring effect from the sale of the hotel group in the first quarter of 2013 in the amount of € 49.1 million), EBT was up 20.2 per cent. If this non-recurring effect in the first quarter of 2013 is included, EBT in the first three months of 2014 was 30.3 per cent lower than the previous year’s figure (1–3/2013: € 116.8 million).

The UNIQA Group increased its premiums written – including the savings portion of unit- and index-linked life insurance – by 2.3 per cent to € 1,702.6 million (1–3/2013: € 1,664.0 million). Retained premiums earned (in accordance with IFRS, not including savings portions) climbed by 6.6 per cent to € 1,370.9 million (1–3/2013: € 1,286.5 million).

UNIQA CEO Andreas Brandstetter comments: “Since 2011 we have made sustainable progress in many areas through the gradual implementation of our UNIQA 2.0 long-term strategy programme. We improved once again in the first quarter of 2014, particularly in core insurance business. We generated moderate growth in premiums in a challenging environment, while further reducing the cost ratio and the combined ratio. As a result, EBT increased again this quarter on a like-for-like basis, despite the decline in net investment income in a low-interest environment. All in all, we came another step closer to achieving our long-term goals this quarter. We will keep to our path and continue to work systematically.”

Key Group figures

Premiums written by the UNIQA Group – including the savings portion of unit- and index-linked life insurance – rose by a moderate 2.3 per cent to € 1,702.6 million in the first quarter of 2014 (1–3/2013: € 1,664.0 million). Premium growth was curbed primarily by a significant decrease in premiums in unit-linked life insurance. This development was also triggered by effects in connection with the resolution to completely withdraw from the German market and not to conclude any new business, which was adopted back in 2011.

Retained premiums earned (in accordance with IFRS, not including the savings portion of unit- and index-linked life insurance) increased significantly by 6.6 per cent to € 1,370.9 million (1–3/2013: € 1,286.5 million).

Retained insurance benefits of the UNIQA Group climbed by 4.9 per cent to € 1,098.9 million in the first quarter of 2014 (1–3/2013: € 1,047.3 million). The increase in benefits is thus 1.7 percentage points lower than the increase in premiums earned.

Operating expenses less reinsurance commissions received decreased by 1.6 per cent to € 316.4 million (1–3/2013: € 321.5 million). There was a significant reduction in administrative expenses, which fell by 14.7 per cent or € 15.8 million to € 91.6 million (1–3/2013: € 107.4 million). Expenses for generating business increased in step with the growth in retained premiums earned, rising by 5.0 per cent to € 224.8 million (1–3/2013: € 214.1 million).

The Group cost ratio after reinsurance improved by 1.1 percentage points to 21.2 per cent
(1–3/2013: 22.3 per cent), chiefly due to the reduced administrative expenses. In 2012, the first full financial year after the UNIQA 2.0 strategy programme was launched, the cost ratio was still 25.0 per cent.

The combined ratio improved by 0.5 percentage points to 97.8 per cent (1–3/2013: 98.3 per cent). In 2012, the combined ratio was 101.3 per cent.

The underwriting result of the UNIQA Group rose significantly by 146.3 per cent to € 65.6 million in the first quarter of 2014 (1–3/2013: € 26.6 million). This increase was attributable to the lower growth in benefits in comparison to premium growth as well as to the reduced costs.

Net investment income of the UNIQA Group fell by 36.5 per cent to € 143.6 million in the first quarter of 2014 (1–3/2013: € 226.0 million). However, the comparative figure for the previous year included the book profit on the disposal of the Austria Hotels International Group, which amounted to € 49.1 million. On a like-for-like basis (not including the non-recurring effect from the sale of the hotel group), net investment income decreased by 18.8 per cent. This development firstly results from the fact that the first quarter of 2013 was influenced by higher positive exchange rate effects than the first quarter of 2014, and secondly from the effect of the continuing low interest rates on new investment.
 
The investment portfolio of the UNIQA Group (including unit- and index-linked life insurance investments) increased by € 881.1 million as against the end of the previous year to € 28,264.7 million as at 31 March 2014 (31 December 2013: € 27,383.6 million).

The UNIQA Group’s profit on ordinary activities amounted to € 81.4 million in the first quarter of the current year. On a like-for-like basis (not including the non-recurring effect from the sale of the hotel group in the first quarter of 2013 in the amount of € 49.1 million), this corresponds to an increase of 20.2 per cent. If this non-recurring effect in the first quarter of 2013 is included, EBT in the first three months of 2014 was 30.3 per cent lower than the previous year’s figure (1–3/2013: € 116.8 million).
The net profit for the period amounted to € 57.7 million (1–3/2013: € 77.5 million), while the consolidated profit (after taxes and minority interests) fell by 26.4 per cent to € 55.9 million (1–3/2013: € 76.0 million). In both cases, the decline is attributable to the non-recurring effect from the sale of the hotel group in the first quarter of 2013.
 
In the first three months of 2014, the UNIQA Group’s total equity increased by 6.0 per cent to € 2,957.0 million (31 De¬cember 2013: € 2,789.9 million).

The solvency ratio (Solvency I) remained virtually unchanged in the first quarter of 2014 as against the end of the previous year at a very strong level of 286.6 per cent (31 De¬cember 2013: 287.1 per cent).

Outlook
The UNIQA Group has set itself the target of significantly increasing its profit on ordinary activities again in 2014 in comparison to 2013. This assumes that the capital market environment will be stable, that economic development will continue to improve and that losses caused by natural disasters will remain within a normal range.

Forward-looking statements
This press release contains statements concerning UNIQA’s future development. 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 2.0
UNIQA 2.0 is a long-term strategy programme that the company has been implementing since May 2011. UNIQA has set itself the target of increasing its customer base to 15 million by 2020 and improving its EBT by up to € 350 million between 2012 and 2015. In doing this, the company is focusing on its core business as a primary insurer in its core markets of Austria and Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). The business model is geared towards profitable growth and long-term value added in these markets. UNIQA intends to boost profitability at UNIQA Austria, increase productivity at Raiffeisen Versicherung in Austria and leverage the growth potential in the CEE region and is implementing a systematic risk/return approach.

UNIQA
The UNIQA Group is one of the leading insurance groups in its core markets of Austria and Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). 22,000 employees and exclusive sales partners serve around 9.3 million customers in 19 countries. UNIQA is the second-largest insurance group in Austria with a market share of around 22 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 Italy, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Key Figures Q1 2014

Vienna, 23. May 2014


UNIQA Group Communication

Untere Donaustraße 21
A-1029 Vienna, Austria
Phone: (+43 1) 211 75-3414
Fax: (+43 1) 211 75-3619
E-Mail: presse@uniqa.at