- Gross premiums written grow 1.2 percent and, hence, above market
- Equity capital climbs 2.5 percent
- Continuation of internationalization strategy: acquisition of Platinum AG in Romania
Cologne, 26 June 2012 - The Gothaer Group can look back on a successful 2011 financial year: gross premiums written rose 1.2 percent to 4,050m euros (previous year: 4.003m euros) and, hence, above the market (market: -0.4 percent). It was possible to boost the consolidated profit by 35.4 percent to 145m euros (previous year: 107m euros). The Group's equity climbed 2.5 percent to 1,178m euros. "We are very satisfied when we look back on the year 2011 and are now devoting our efforts to face the current challenges that follow from the unisex judgement and Solvency II", says Dr Werner Görg, Group CEO, summing up. "For 2012, we are again expecting premium growth above the market. We will go on extending our product range for corporate customers and also support German companies in their activities abroad. At the same time, we will continue our internationalization strategy in Central and Eastern Europe", said Görg.
In 2011/2012, too, the rating agencies Fitch Ratings, Standard & Poor´s and Assekurata confirmed their positive assessments for the Gothaer Group's core companies and still graded the outlook as "stable".
Acquisition of Romanian non-life insurer Platinum AG
With the acquisition of 67 percent in the Romanian non-life insurer Platinum AG, the Gothaer Group is continuing its growth strategy in this region that had started in 2010 with the purchase of the Polish insurer PTU. Romania, with a population of 21.4m, is the second-largest country in Central and Eastern Europe and has hardly been affected by the current sovereign-debt problems. Insurance penetration and density are very low even for Eastern Europe. "Platinum is an ideal platform for entering the Romanian market. With Gothaer´s financial backup and its technical know-how, the company is set to further evolve into a strong provider in the non-life sector together with an outstanding local management. We expect Romania to take a similarly positive development like Poland over the last 20 years", explains Jürgen Meisch, Gothaer´s CFO.
Result from capital investment significantly increased
Despite sovereign-debt crisis, high volatility and much uncertainty on the financial markets, the Company in 2011 increased its result from capital investments by a significant 10.5 percent to 908m euros. "To cushion the currently very uncertain situation on capital markets, we are investing in prime German mortgage bonds with long maturities and in covered bonds, and are acquiring government bonds of `intermediate states´, like Belgium and France, and of non-euro EU countries, like Poland and the Czech Republic. In addition, quanto bonds of non-European states and high-quality, though illiquid credit instruments, like secured loans, AAA-ABS tranches and promissory notes, play an important role in our investment portfolio", says Meisch, discussing the focuses of the current investment strategy. Another important investment field is that of renewable energies: in close collaboration with the experts of Gothaer Allgemeine´s market-leading "Renewable energy" team, the Group will be investing an initial 500m euros in renewables with a focus on Europe. The advantages: attractive and planable income, stable cash flows, long maturities and a low correlation between income and capital market.
Gothaer Allgemeine: Strategic business fields further expanded
Gothaer Allgemeine Versicherung AG's gross premiums written, at euros 1,426m, were above the 2010 level (previous year: 1,402m euros). "Our property/casualty insurer is very well positioned among corporate and private customers. Starting in July, we will be extending our range for corporate customers to include D&O, so that we will be offering, from one shop, even more comprehensive insurance", reports Thomas Leicht, CEO, Gothaer Allgemeine. Gothaer has been offering worldwide insurance cover in non-life and liability for many years now and is also further expanding its international units. In 2011, the service insurer grew 5.5 percent - in terms of gross premiums written - in the corporate-customer segment.
Another strategic business field is that of renewable energies with the core business fields Wind, Biogas and Solar. In many European countries, like Germany, France, Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands, Gothaer is the leading wind-energy insurer. PTU, too, can report a successful launch into the wind farm business: in 2012, five wind farms have already been insured. Altogether, wind farm projects are insured in 25 European countries. In 2011, the company also succeeded in building up a leading role in Eastern Europe: Gothaer is now market leader in Lithuania, Estonia and Croatia as well.
Roll-out of D&O insurance business in July
With over 200m euros premium income in commercial and industrial liability insurance, Gothaer is among the leading providers in Germany when it comes to insuring liability risks. Starting in July 2012, the Cologne-based service insurer will be re-establishing and expanding this business field. "We've been engaged in directors-and-officers insurance successfully since 1996 already within the scope of the VOV co-insurance pool", explains Leicht. "As insurer with the biggest business share in the VOV pool, we will offer our own D&O insurance as of now and expand this business area. We see great potential here, since we estimate that only 30 percent of small- and medium-sized enterprises have D&O insurance", Leicht goes on.
Gothaer Leben: Pioneer on market with option for unisex
Gothaer Lebensversicherung AG´s gross premiums written in 2011 were on the decline along with the rest of the sector and reached 1,244m euros. To start with, during the 2011 year-end sales, the focus was on policies for regular premium payments with insurance starting in early 2012 - these premiums will not become visible until 2012. Second, the Life insurer in 2011, much more consciously than the rest of the market again, dispensed with the underwriting of single-premium endowment policies.
"It is gratifying that production in the strategic business fields of company pension schemes (+44 percent), unit-linked life insurance products (+36 percent) and biometric solutions (+9 percent) made a considerable contribution to this growth," says Dr Helmut Hofmeier, CEO at Gothaer Lebensversicherung AG.
In December 2012, the new unisex tariffs with the same benefits for the same premiums for both men and women are being rolled out. Since the beginning of June, Gothaer Lebensversicherung AG has been offering its customers a retroactive switch option for policies newly concluded. With this option, customers can convert their gender-based insurance tariff retroactively since the start of insurance into the unisex follow-up tariff concerned, so that they are on the safe side.
Gothaer Kranken: Customer base and premium income growing
Gothaer Krankenversicherung AG´s gross premiums written, at 837.9m euros, were 5.0 percent above the 2010 level. The number of insured as per 31 December 2011 rose 3.8 percent to 564,451. "Here, the collective business has evolved into an important growth engine: compared with the 2011/2010 premiums, the premiums in group insurance rose 9.5 percent and in individual business by 4.6 percent ? this makes business with collectives more and more important for us", sums up Michael Kurtenbach, CEO, Gothaer Krankenversicherung AG. This is also reflected in the broader customer base: renowned companies, like Sparkasse Köln/Bonn, the Metro Group and Wincor Nixdorf, are company health insurance customers and offer their staff benefit-rich insurance cover with a lower group tariff. Since the end of May, the Company has been highly productive thanks to an ultra-modern portfolio-management system, and is able to handle the low-price supplementary-insurance business by more automated processing at much lower cost than the sector.
PTU: Restructuring and integration fully on schedule
Within the scope of its strategy to expand in the growth region of Central and Eastern Europe, the Gothaer Group acquired the Polish insurer PTU in 2010. In 2011, PTU was fully consolidated in the annual financial statements for the first time. PTU's gross premiums written, at 116.1m euros, are 6.1 percent above the 2010 level. In implementing its strategic alignment until 2016, PTU is fully on schedule: it already improved its market position from rank 12 to 11 - by 2016, PTU is to be one of the top 10 non-life insurers in Poland. PTU is focussed on private customers and on SMEs. In the private-customer segment, work is to be made efficient and low-cost thanks to a simple and modular product offer, and the dependence on motor business is to be reduced. Here, the company is well on track, since the motor share has already fallen from 79 percent (May 2010) to 69 percent (May 2012). In the corporate-customer segment, Gothaer's success model is being taken over: consequently, PTU with tailored-to-suit products and professional underwriting is focussing on medium-sized companies. As per September, the position of CEO is being refilled with Anna Włodarczyk-Moczkowska.
Asstel with definite existing customer business
Asstel Sachversicherung AG´s gross premiums written, at 42.5m euros, were 17.0 percent above the 2010 level. Asstel Lebensversicherung AG´s gross premiums written sank in line with the market by 2.3 percent to 213.4m euros. "Our success in product rankings and the relaunch of our website made an enormous contribution to growth in our existing customer business", says Dr Mathias Bühring-Uhle, Board member at Asstel. Where the customer base still stood at a good 461,000 at year´s end 2010, the company already counted just under 520,000 customers at the end of 2011 (+12.0 percent).
Please find statements by Group CEO Dr Werner Görg on the 2011 financial year and on the 2012 outlook on Gothaer's website (www.gothaer.de) in the press area under "Bilanzpressekonferenz 2012" (2012 balance sheet press conference).
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