2014 Financial year: Gothaer further expands market position
- 2014 business developments even better than expected
- Gross premiums written up 4.9% to €4.51 billion
- Property segment with plus of 9.6%
- Multi-channel strategy set to push further growth
Cologne, 25 June 2015 – The Gothaer Group grew well above the market last year and was able to further expand its market position: gross premiums written rose 4.9% to €4.51 billion (previous year: €4.30 billion). By comparison, the sector as a whole only posted a premium increase by 2.7% in 2014. Contributions to the Gothaer Group's growth came from the segments Property/Casualty with a plus of 9.6% and Health with 4.9%. Owing to the difficult market environment, the Life insurance segment recorded a slight fall, being down 0.9% at Group level. It was possible to raise the Group's profit to €122 million (previous year: €108 million). The Group's capitalization was further strengthened, with year-end equity standing at €1.78 billion (previous year: €1.52 billion).
Implementation of multi-channel strategy making headway
"Despite the difficult market environment, business developments in 2014 even exceeded our expectations. We achieved our growth targets in full and further expanded our market position. At the same time, we were able to further strengthen our sound equity base," explains Dr. Karsten Eichmann, CEO of Gothaer Versicherungsbank VVaG. "For the coming years, too, we are backing a sustainable development of the Group and want to continue our growth course. Here, subjects for the future, like digitization, will play a key role. Thanks to the systematic implementation of our multi-channel strategy, we are already on the right track. With this strategy, we are gearing our structures and processes to changing customer behaviour and increasing digitization. Important components here are a modern communications platform and customer-centric dovetailing of our exclusive organization and direct marketing," Eichmann continues. "Here, we already achieved an important milestone in 2014 with the integration of Asstel Leben into Gothaer Leben."
Gothaer Allgemeine growing well above market
Gothaer Allgemeine Versicherung AG was able to boost its gross premiums written by 5.9% to €1.62 billion compared with the previous year (2013: €1.53 billion), whereas the market only grew 3.2%. The claims ratio for own account fell to 66.8% (previous year: 70.8%). The rise in premiums of some €90 million was distributed equally between private and corporate customer business. "We attach the utmost importance to comprehensive advice for our private and corporate customers. The year 2014 bore the full imprint of our product offensive in the private-customer segment. Our UnfallrentePlus (casualty pension) launched last year and our new protection charter for homes made a crucial contribution to growth. In the coming years, we will be exploiting our huge potential in commercial business even more and further expanding our target-group centricity using tailored-to-suit solutions based on the modular principle," reports Thomas Leicht, CEO at Gothaer Allgemeine.
Leading position in renewable energies
Gothaer Allgemeine has been market leader in insuring onshore wind farms for many years now and was able to further expand this market position in 2014 with a plus of 6.1% in premium income. Thus, the Company has insured some 13,000 plants throughout Europe, including 8,400 in Germany. "As set forth in the amendment of the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) passed in August 2014, the share of renewables in power generation is to rise from today's 25% to 40 to 45% by 2025. We are reckoning with investment of some €300 billion in new systems. That, of course, will also generate great growth potential for us as insurers, so that we will be expanding this business field even further," explains Leicht.
Gothaer Leben: Sound business developments in difficult environment
At €1.39 billion, gross premiums written by Gothaer Lebensversicherung AG, including those of Asstel Lebensversicherung AG integrated in 2014, stood at roughly the previous year's level (previous year: €1.40 billion). "In a difficult market environment that is characterized by still-low interest rates, high burdens from the additional actuarial reserve and great pressure to change, Gothaer Leben was able to post sound business developments," explains Michael Kurtenbach, CEO of Gothaer Lebensversicherung AG and Gothaer Krankenversicherung AG. "In addition to private and company pension schemes, we continue to see immense potential for biometric products. Here lies one of our marketing focuses in 2015, especially in employee business," Kurtenbach goes on. It was possible to further expand the share of the strategic business fields 'company pension schemes', 'unit-linked annuity policies' and 'biometric solutions' in new business, and the share stood at over 80% in 2014.
Gothaer Kranken: Strong growth in supplementary insurance and in company health insurance
Gross premiums written by Gothaer Krankenversicherung AG at €881 million were 4.0% above the level of 2013 (previous year: €847 million). Gratifying again is the company's profitability: the 2014 underwriting profits ratio was 15.6%, while the market hovers around 13.4%.
It was possible to obtain growth above the market average mainly in the area of supplementary insurance, where the number of those insured rose 2.4% to some 423,000. "Contributions to the growth in supplementary insurance came, on the one hand, from very successful direct marketing, but also, on the other, from company health insurance. Here, we were able to achieve double-digit growth of 11% in 2014 and again win over renowned companies as new customers," explains Kurtenbach.
Rating agencies confirm Company ratings
The Gothaer Group's Company ratings for the 2014 and 2015 business years were again confirmed by the rating agencies Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor's. The outlook remains "stable".
Overview of results:
Capital investment: Focus on infrastructure
In a difficult investment climate marked by still-falling interest rates, Gothaer was able to post stable investment results in 2014: the Group's net yield according to IFRS stood at 4.1%. It was possible to further expand the valuation reserves, which rose to a total of €4.4 billion.
In asset allocation, the investment universe for sovereign bonds was significantly expanded in the government-related area and in covered bonds, while the credit field also took account of sound non-European issuers. Overall, the duration in 2014 was considerably extended. "We see a lot of potential in the infrastructure segment," explains Harald Epple, Gothaer's CFO. "Our focus here is on renewable energies and on the subject of public-private partnerships. This is where we can obtain good long-term yields coupled with relatively high security." Gothaer has by now invested over €500 million in wind farms, solar systems and hydropower plants. Planning calls for further investment in 2015 involving a volume of some €200 million. In addition, the property investment share is to be strengthened.
"For the coming months, I expect no major changes in the market environment. There are many indications of a first interest-rate step by the US Federal Reserve and a continuation of the economic uptick in the eurozone. In the long term, this could lead to a slight rise in interest rates, although we are still assuming low rates and high market volatility in all segments, like interest rates, credit and shares," Epple adds.
"The year 2015 got off to a very gratifying start, above all in property insurance. We propose to continue our profitable growth course and expect premium growth above the market level in our core areas. On the one hand, growth drivers here are our multi-channel strategy and the associated intensification of cross-selling between segments. On the other, new product concepts and advice approaches, eg in the subject of retirement planning, will be making a contribution to growth," sums up Board chairman Dr. Eichmann.
2013 financial year: Gothaer Group grows above market
- Stable Group profit despite difficult environment
- Increase in Group equity by 4.5%
- Dr. Karsten Eichmann new CEO
- Focus on implementing multi-channel strategy
- Merger of Gothaer and Asstel
Cologne, 8 July 2014 – Even in tough market conditions, the Gothaer Group can look back on a successful 2013 financial year: gross premiums written rose 3.3% last year to €4,233 million (2012: €4,098 million) and, hence, above the market (+3.0%). Contributions to the Group's growth came from the segments Property/Casualty, with a plus of 6.0%, and Life, with a plus 3.5%. Health insurance dipped 2.8 percent. The Group profit, at €107 million, remained at the 2012 level. It was possible to increase the Group's equity by 4.5% to €1,519 million.
Multi-channel strategy to secure premium growth in coming years
On the challenges of the coming years, Dr. Karsten Eichmann, new Gothaer CEO, states: "We intend to strengthen our sound market position further and are aiming at annual premium growth of three percent until 2016. The central component here is implementation of our multi-channel strategy. This enables us to ensure that our processes are geared to changes in customer behaviour and growing digitization. We will be implementing this via a modern communications platform and with close dovetailing of marketing channels. Within the scope of networking information and processing of the market, planning calls for amalgamating the Gothaer and Asstel brands and their marketing organizations by 2016. With its high direct-marketing competence and its know-how in Customer Relationship Management, Asstel is, in this way, set to become an important part of Gothaer's multi-channel distribution," says Eichmann, summing up the planned changes. The 53-year-old was appointed CEO of Gothaer Versicherungsbank VVaG on 4 July.
Rating agencies confirm corporate ratings
The Company's ratings were again confirmed in the 2013/2014 financial year by the rating agencies Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor's. The outlook is still 'stable'.
Investments: result above market average
In a difficult investment situation, Gothaer in 2013 posted good above-average investment results. The Group's net yield according to IFRS stood at 4.6 percent. The investment portfolio at end-2013 was €25.6 billion (previous year: €24.8 billion). According to Harald Epple, CFO responsible for investments since 1 April 2014, the focus of new investments is still on the fixed-income area and, there, on even broader-based diversification. Here, the portfolio's credit quality is kept at least constant or even improved. What matters to Epple: "evolution instead of revolution". "We will stick to our previous investment strategy and mainly invest in asset classes with the highest possible and stable current income." In the case of real property, he said, planning called for raising the portfolio to 10 percent in the medium term. As regards renewable energies, a further €200 to 300 million is to be invested.
Gothaer Allgemeine growing above market
Gross premiums written by Gothaer Allgemeine Versicherung AG, at €1,527 million, were 4.2 percent up on 2012 (€1,466 million). The company was also able to increase net production again: in 2013, net production amounted to €55.8 million – in the previous year, it stood at €29.4 million. The Property/Casualty insurer has set itself ambitious goals: until 2016, Gothaer Allgemeine intends to grow faster than the market in both the private- and the corporate-customer segments. "We propose to generate future growth in private-customer business in the profitable business liability, casualty and householders' lines. Here, the systematic implementation of our multi-channel strategy is to produce more growth. In addition, new product worlds involving protective letters and multi-pension are set to tap new market segments. Among corporate customers, the focus is on the development of modular products according to the mix'n'match principle. The focus here is on individual industries, for which standardized and sector-specific features are being worked out," reports Thomas Leicht, CEO of Gothaer Allgemeine.
Gothaer Leben with growth and sound policy in a low-interest era
Gross premiums written by Gothaer Lebensversicherung AG rose 4.6 percent to €1,171 million in 2013 (previous year: €1,119 million). "In 2005 already, Gothaer Lebensversicherung AG was adapting to the changing market environment and, in developing products and acquiring new customers, was focusing on promising business fields: Hence, the share of the strategic business fields company pension plans, unit-linked annuity policies and biometric solutions in new business already amounted to 86 percent in 2013. Against the backdrop of Solvency II, this is an important asset in a low-interest era – also for our customers," says Michael Kurtenbach, CEO of Gothaer Lebensversicherung AG. Stand-alone occupational disability insurance was a huge success in 2013 as well: since its launch, total premiums of over €600 million have been placed. So customers appreciate the steady improvement and expansion of the product lines.
Gothaer Kranken with product offensive in supplementary insurance
Gross premiums written by Gothaer Krankenversicherung AG, at €828 million, were 3.4 percent down on 2012. "For the coming years, we are planning above-average growth in supplementary insurance of three to four percent per year. To achieve this goal, we launched a product offensive in 2013 already that has really taken off. Of special significance here will be the subjects of long-term care and company health insurance," sums up Michael Kurtenbach, CEO of Gothaer Krankenversicherung AG. Thus, the growth rates of the supplementary insured at Gothaer are much higher than the market. With the product package MediP, the most intelligent care-cost daily allowance solution has been developed market-wide: thanks to its enormous flexibility – coupled with benefits precisely geared to the requirements of a customer in the event of long-term care – the foundation stone has been laid for participating in market growth. The insurance solution sets new standards, with best grades among the ratings: for instance, Morgen & Morgen issues five stars and 'outstanding', and Softfair '5 Eulenaugen' /5 owls' eyes/ and the quality rating 'excellent'.
Gothaer International: service for customers abroad expanded
Gothaer is successful internationally and has expanded its service for customers abroad: the company backs its customers in 48 countries worldwide already. Gothaer thus remains the most important single producer in the international INI network as a result of actively accompanying its industrial customers abroad. The fronting business for partners in Eurapco in Germany has reached an impressive premium volume and underscores Gothaer's importance in this European alliance.
Business in renewable energies continues to be a growth engine for Gothaer in Europe. Gothaer is market leader in Germany, Austria, France, Estonia and Lithuania with a market share of at least 30 percent. In total, more than 13,000 wind farms are insured through Gothaer, incl 7,480 in Germany.
Our subsidiaries in Poland and Romania, too, have seen a positive development: at Gothaer Towarzystwo Ubezpieczeń S. A., GTU for short, Gothaer is the sole shareholder after a successful squeeze-out. The company has become established on the market as a professional player and has reached rank 11 on the non-life market. The insurer is particularly successful in commercial business. Product development and underwriting principles bear the stamp of Gothaer Allgemeine. At its subsidiary in Romania, Gothaer Asigurari Reasigurari, too, the Gothaer Group is now the sole shareholder. The company boasts breakneck growth of 75 percent – it now occupies slot 12 on the non-life market.
Further corporate news
Gothaer's 2.9 percent growth outdoes the market
- All segments contributing to Group growth
- Investment result up a likely 11 percent
- Group equity up a likely 19 percent
- Group net profit for the year up by over 3 percent
- More woman in management - Gothaer adapting early on to demographic change
Cologne, 4 December 2012
The Gothaer Group is set to fully achieve its growth targets for the year 2012: as things stand now, gross premiums written are due to rise 2.9% to 4.167bn Euros in 2012 (previous year: 4.050bn Euros) - whereas the market has managed a mere 1.5%. Group growth has been given a boost by all segments: Property/Casualty is up 3.1%, the Life area 2.5%, and Health likewise 3.1%. Consolidated profit for the year is up 3.4% to 150m Euros. "Despite debt crisis, high volatility and uncertainty on the financial markets, we have shown in 2012 as well that the Gothaer Group can score success even in turbulent times by offering excellent advice and solution-geared products for its clients," says Dr Werner Görg, Gothaer Group CEO, summing up the gratifying business developments. "For 2013, we are again reckoning with growth above the market. Our current agenda is headed by the expansion of our range for corporate clients, the implementation of the unisex judgement and the continuation of our internationalization strategy in Central and Eastern Europe," adds Görg.
Investment result significantly improved
In spite of the ongoing trend with declining reinvestment yields and an enormously difficult investment environment, CFO Jürgen Meisch is expecting 2012 to bring the scheduled investment results and stable net interest returns for all risk carriers: the bottom line is likely to be a rise in the investment result by 10.8% to over 1bn Euros. Group equity will probably have risen by 18.8% to 1.4bn Euros.
Current investment focuses are on long-dated mortgage/covered bonds as well as the longer-term bonds of supranational organizations with significant yield advantages relative to federal government bonds (Bunds). In addition, there is the acquisition of bonds from countries in the non-euro area, e.g. Lithuania, and the increase in the exposure of structured interest products. New issues, too, from the industrial and utilities sectors and high-quality, but illiquid credit instruments are prime targets for new investment at Gothaer.
In the medium term, the Gothaer Group will be investing some 500m Euros in renewable energies with the focus on Europe. "From this investment we are expecting attractive returns of between 6 and 8%. Stable cash flows, long maturities, plannable income and a low correlation with other capital investments make this investment form very interesting for us," says CFO Meisch. Planning also calls for holdings in five hydropower plants in Turkey, the Barth solar farm in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania and the Markbygden windfarm in Sweden.
Rating agencies confirm company ratings
In 2012, too, the rating agencies Fitch Ratings (Fitch) and Standard & Poor's (S&P) confirmed their positive assessments for the core companies in the Gothaer Group and again classify the outlook as "stable". The rating results reflect the sound capital resources, the strong business position and the advanced processes and systems in risk management. "We feel our approach, based on a systematic continuation of our strategy of value-oriented corporate management, is being confirmed here," says Görg.
Significant gender shift at all management levels
Gothaer is facing the challenges posed by demographic change and also strengthening the work/life balance. Which is why the increase in the share of women in management functions is the stated goal of Gothaer's HR strategy, and the success speaks for itself: the share of women across all management levels rose from 15.8% in 2005 to 21.2% in the year 2012. Thanks to a comprehensive package of measures, the Cologne service insurer now has a higher share of women in management than the sector as a whole.
Gothaer Allgemeine: Strong growth impetus from corporate clients
Gross premiums written at Gothaer Allgemeine Versicherung AG, viz. a likely 1.458bn Euros, are 2.3% above the 2011 level. The property/casualty insurer has for years had high growth rates, above all among corporate clients. "We lay great stress on comprehensive advice for our private and corporate clients. In order to offer our corporate clients even more comprehensive insurance cover from one source, we launched a new business field in July of this year with the roll-out of D&O insurance," reports Thomas Leicht, CEO at Gothaer Allgemeine. The ongoing focus is on the strengthening of the international units in all core segments in order to give globally operating companies backup in their foreign activities as well.
Gothaer Leben: Market edge thanks to early creation of strategic business fields
Gross premiums written at Gothaer Lebensversicherung AG are set to rise by year's end to a likely 1.259bn Euros, putting them above the 2011 level (+1.2%). This is an increase for the life insurer stronger than the market, which will probably contract by 0.5%. "Production in the strategic business fields of company pension schemes, unit-linked annuity products and biometric solutions has made a substantial contribution to this growth. What is more, these business fields do much to expand the risk result and have a positive impact on income: the strategic realignment that was carried out years ago is now generating considerable market advantages for us, when viewed against the background of Solvency II," says Dr Helmut Hofmeier, CEO of Gothaer Lebensversicherung AG. A case in point showing the strength of Gothaer Leben in the strategic business fields is the successful launch in April 2012 of stand-alone occupational disability insurance: thus, in spite of the formation of higher additional interest reserves (Zinszusatzreserven), the Company can post stable net profit for the year, and can do so while adhering to the minimum allocation and the grant of additional surpluses going beyond this.
Gothaer Kranken: Growth in insured persons and premiums
Gross premiums written at Gothaer Krankenversicherung AG, viz. a likely 879m Euros, are 3.1% above the 2011 level. The number of insured persons will rise to 573,950 by year's end. "Gothaer Krankenversicherung is very successfully selling supplementary health insurance. In the last five years, the numbers at Gothaer Krankenversicherung have grown twice as fast as the market," says Michael Kurtenbach, CEO of Gothaer Krankenversicherung AG, summing up. For the health service provider, collective business is growing more and more in importance: hence, premiums in collective business rose by 3.3%, while business in individual insurance was only 1,3% up.
Gothaer Poland: Change of name successfully completed and premiums up
October saw PTU being renamed Gothaer TU, a step taken in order to exploit name recognition and confidence in the Gothaer brand on the Polish insurance market as well. Gross premiums written by GTU, at a likely 129.7m Euros, are 11.6% above the 2011 level. So the Gothaer Group is benefiting as planned from the enormous growth rates on the Polish insurance market. In early 2012, GTU had adopted its strategic alignment until the year 2016, and implementation of the strategy is on track. The company is focusing on private clients and small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and is building up a company division geared specifically to tailored-to-suit product solutions for SMEs.
Asstel: Gothaer Krankenversicherung`s biggest supplier of supplementary health insurance
Gross premiums written at Asstel Sachversicherung AG, viz. a likely 44.9m Euros, are 5.6% above the 2011 level. Gross premiums written by Asstel Lebensversicherung AG, at a likely 210.7m Euros, are 1.3% below the previous year's level. "Our good slots in product rankings and the relaunch of the website are making a huge contribution to the growth in numbers," says Dr Mathias Bühring-Uhle, Asstel board member.
Presse und Unternehmenskommunikation
Gothaer Group boosts consolidated profit by over 35 percent
- 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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Gothaer successfully places premium bonds
Cologne, 21 June 2011
Thanks to systematic, value-geared corporate management and capital investment based on sound, sustainable current income, the Gothaer Group can look back on a successful 2010 financial year: Consolidated profit for the year was up 7% to 82m euro (previous year: 76m euro), while the segments Property/Casualty insurance (+ 1.2%) and Health (+ 7.3%) - in terms of premium income - grew at a rate above the market average, and the Group's equity rose 8% to 1.153bn euro. Gross premiums written, at 4.002bn euro, were below the previous year's figure (4.249bn euro). The fall is due to a deliberate reduction in business with single-premiums in life insurance. "We can look back on last year with much satisfaction and are now devoting our efforts to the challenges posed by the introduction of Solvency II and the unisex judgement of the ECJ," sums up Dr Werner Görg, CEO of the Gothaer Group. "For 2011, we are reckoning with premium growth in all corporate divisions, and the investment result, too, is in all likelihood set to go on to improving," said an optimistic Görg at the financial statements press conference in Cologne.
Economic implications of Solvency II
- 2010 financial year: Ratios further improved
- Consolidated profit for year up 7 % to 82m euro
- Result from investments up 24 % to 822m euro
In the light of current developments, Group CEO Görg talked about the economic implications of Solvency II. Due to the in-depth debate surrounding specific regulations and to technical errors in this set of rules, the economic impact of Solvency II has been very much neglected hitherto, said Görg. Owing to the new capital requirements for shares and real estate, insurers are being regulated excessively, and the result, Görg pointed out, is a fall in the direct holdings of real estate and shares. This is causing the sector to lose its important function as a stabilizing element in Germany's economy. As a consequence, investment in real estate and the capital measures of German companies are functions being assumed by foreign investors. In the transfer of state and public tasks from social insurance to the insurance sector, too, companies, he said, are now faced with low margins and too-high capital requirements. "The underlying economic conditions for delegating state tasks in pension and long-term care insurance must not be artificially worsened for insurers. Private-sector principles, like profit orientation and capital cover, must not be subordinated to state stipulations on price and product policy," demanded Görg. He called for a fundamental political decision on whether a complete change in the rules is compatible with future economic developments.
Successful sale of the premium bonds
The subscription period for the second Gothaer member bond was scheduled from 23 May to 24 June. Customer interest in the "6% Gothaer bond" was so great that the Company was forced to end the sales period three days after the start already, since the subscribed sum far exceeded the total issue volume of 50m euro. So, every member will now receive a share in the amount of the minimum subscription of 5,000 euro. The residual volume will be allocated in proportion to members' various total subscription volumes. The Company will notify its customers of the details in writing by the end of June. "We are delighted that our customers are showing such a strong interest in Gothaer and wish to participate directly in the Company's success. It's great that our members feel an even closer association with Gothaer, so that membership of a mutual insurer becomes an even better experience," said a satisfied Group CEO Görg.
Result from investments up 24 %
With a focus on credit bonds the Company benefited substantially from gratifying market developments and was able to make up for the unrealized losses sustained in nearly all segments in the wake of the financial crisis. The result from investments, at 822m euro, was well above the previous year's value of 665m euro (+ 23.7%). Against the backdrop of the introduction of Solvency II, investments in risk assets, like shares, private equity and hedge funds, were still at a historically low level. "Investments performed well despite turbulent markets and now promise sound income for the Group and our customers in the long term," commented Jürgen Meisch, CFO.
Gothaer Allgemeine with focus on renewable energies
Gross premiums written by Gothaer Allgemeine Versicherung AG, at 1.4bn euro, were at the 2009 level. The net reserve ratio was boosted significantly from 200.6% to 217.2% - that creates security and premium stability for the years ahead. The Company's good underwriting performance can be seen, inter alia, in the gross claims ratio which, at 63.7%, is well below the sector's average of 69.3%.
"Since 1990, renewable energies, with the core business fields wind, biogas and solar, have formed a major focus," reports Thomas Leicht, CEO, Gothaer Allgemeine. In many European countries, like Germany, France, Austria, Belgium and The Netherlands, the Company is already the leading wind-energy insurer. Overall, wind-farm projects are insured in 24 European countries. In 2011, it was possible to build up a leading market position in Eastern Europe as well. Gothaer is now also market leader in this segment in Lithuania and Estonia. In total, premiums in this business field rose over 14% to 46m euro.
Gothaer Leben with new generation of provision for pension benefits
The fall in gross premiums written by Gothaer Lebensversicherung AG is due to the deliberate decision to reduce business with single-premiums (decline in premiums by 17.5% to 1.184bn euro). With VarioRent ReFlex, October 2010 saw the launch of a new generation of provision for pension benefits - provision that combines the aspects of return and security and has already been taken up by more than 8,000 private customers. Starting in August, the new generation of provision for pension benefits, which has received several awards, will also be available as direct insurance. "We are pleased that we have yet again been able to expand growth in the strategic business fields of company pension schemes, unit-linked annuity policies and biometric solutions," said Dr Helmut Hofmeier, CEO at Gothaer Lebensversicherung AG.
Gothaer Kranken: Premium income now 830m euro
Gothaer Krankenversicherung AG increased its premium income by 7.3%, reaching 830m euro in 2010. The number of insured as per 31 December 2010 rose 5.3% to 543,541, and the healthcare service provider reported growth among both those with supplementary insurance and the fully insured. "Gothaer Krankenversicherung is still witnessing gratifying developments. The underwriting profit ratio - one of the most informative ratios to illustrate the Company's balance-sheet situation - of 11.1%, was again above the market average of 10.4%," sums up Michael Kurtenbach, CEO at Gothaer Krankenversicherung AG. Collective business has evolved into an important growth driver: In the first months of 2011, collective business was up 8.6%. Individual business grew by 5.3%.
Asstel with top slots in ratings and rankings and growth in all business fields
Gross premiums written by Asstel Leben (life) rose to 218.5m euro (previous year: 217.5m euro) and, at Asstel Sach (non-life), to 36.1m euro (previous year 36.0m euro). As in recent years, the Company leads the field in numerous rankings and ratings, occupying top positions. "We are happy that the number of our customers rose 23% from January to April 2011 compared with the same period in 2010. At the end of April 2011, 482,916 customers were insured with Asstel," explains Dr Mathias Bühring-Uhle, management board member at Asstel.