- All segments making contribution to Group growth
- Group profit boosted by over 54.5 percent
- Investment result up 28.0 percent
- Group equity 29.5 percent higher
Cologne, 2 July 2013- Gothaer Group can look back on a successful 2012 financial year: gross premiums written rose 3.2 percent to 4,181 million Euro (2011: 4,050 million Euro) in 2012 and, hence, above the market level (market: 2.0 percent). All segments contributed to tGroup's growth: property/casualty grew 2.9 percent, life 3.0 percent and health insurance 4.3 percent.
It was possible to boost Group profit 54.5 percent to 224 million Euro (2011: 145 million Euro). Group equity climbed 29.5 percent to 1,528 million Euro. "Recent years were marked by the debt crisis, and uncertainty on the financial markets was severe. Which is why it is all the more gratifying that Gothaer Group was able to hold and expand its strong position despite difficult underlying conditions. Continuity and dependability have had sustainably positive effects on our financial strength and competitive position", says Group CEO Dr. Werner Görg.
Rating agencies confirm corporate ratings in June
In June of this year, the rating agencies Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor's confirmed their corporate ratings for the core companies in Gothaer Group and go on assessing the outlook as "stable". Below an overview of the results:
Investment result significantly improved
The Company significantly improved its 2012 investment result by 28.0 percent to 1,162 million Euro. Jürgen Meisch, CFO and in charge of capital investments in the Gothaer Group, continues to pursue further diversification of the bond portfolio by broadening investments outside the euro zone. He is backing structured interest products with built-in derivatives and exploiting market volatilities to vary tactically the investments' duration. "I believe the trend in industrial bonds is stable, which is why we are backing fresh issues, private placements and promissory note bonds. Another focus for us is on senior and junior loans to medium-sized industrial firms offering interesting investment fields. In addition, we propose to further expand investments in the area of renewable energies", says Meisch.
Private clients, too, can benefit from the competence of the capital-investment experts by subscribing to the funds of Gothaer Asset Management AG. They have been reporting good success since they were issued in 2008: the accumulated performance across five years, according to Morningstar Direct as per 21.05.2013, amounts to 20.91 percent for Gothaer Comfort Ertrag, 28.76 percent for Gothaer Comfort Balance – which was upgraded from A to A+ by Scope Ratings – and 22.96 percent for Gothaer Comfort Dynamik. "Our asset-managing funds show a good five-year track record and offer an excellent vehicle for building up assets in the long term", Meisch stresses.
Gothaer Allgemeine growth stronger than in previous year
Gross premiums written by Gothaer Allgemeine Versicherung AG, at 1,466 million Euro, were above the 2011 level (2011: 1,426). "Our property/casualty insurer occupies a very good position especially among small- and medium-sized enterprises", reports Thomas Leicht, Gothaer Allgemeine's CEO. "Our guarantor of success for corporate clients is Gothaer's risk advice which, for these clients, provides an important module for securing the survival of their companies and extends across the areas of fleet management, the valuation of buildings and factory equipment, the assessment of flood risks, and risk analysis in environmental and product liability," Leicht goes on. Hence, premiums in this segment were up 4.5 percent on the previous year. For the current flood disaster, the company is reckoning with pre-reinsurance claims expenditure amounting to approx. Euros 60 million.
Gothaer Leben with growth and stronger intrinsic value in a low-interest environment
The 2012 gross premiums written by Gothaer Lebensversicherung AG rose to 1,267 million Euro (previous year: 1,244 million Euro). The product launch in 2012 – Gothaer's occupational disability insurance – was a market success from the word go. In the very first year, we were able to conclude policies with a premium volume totalling more than 260 million Euro, offering the most family-friendly occupational disability cover on the market. In the second half of 2013, Gothaer Lebensversicherung will roll out a further product novelty: BasisVorsorge-ReFlex. This will combine a pension scheme with coverage for the fundamental risks of occupational disability and long-term care, so that it constitutes an ideal pension scheme offering four-fold protection. The life insurer was quick to shape and occupy strategic new business fields early on: as a result, these new business fields already make up most of the new business today. Unit-linked products account for 30 percent, biometric products for 24 percent and company pension schemes for 39 percent of the new business. "With our strategic alignment and the innovative expansion of our business fields, we are achieving a broader intrinsic value as well as growth. This is important when viewed against the background of Solvency II and is a guarantor of success in a low-interest environment – also for our clients," says Dr. Helmut Hofmeier, Gothaer Lebensversicherung AG's CEO.
"What is gratifying for our clients is that our all-in return in the case of deferred annuities is still 4.4 percent even in a negative interest environment", Hofmeier goes on to say. "Here, clients also cover constantly rising life expectancy in addition to earning decent interest", he adds.
Gothaer Kranken: Growth in insureds and premium income
Gross premiums written by Gothaer Krankenversicherung AG, at 851 million Euro, were 1.5 percent above the 2011 level. The number of insureds rose 1.8 percent to 574,429 from 31 December 2011 to 31 December 2012. "Here, collective business has evolved into a real growth driver: compared with the 2011/2012 premiums, the premium in group insurance rose 6.2 percent and, in individual business, by 1.1 percent – meaning that business with collectives is becoming more and more important for us", sums up Michael Kurtenbach, CEO at Gothaer Krankenversicherung AG. In this way, the growth rates in insureds with supplementary insurance at Gothaer Krankenversicherung, too, have been well above the market for years now.
Gothaer Towarzystwo Ubezpieczeń S. A.: Conversion fully on track
As part of its strategy of expansion into the Central and Eastern European growth region, the Gothaer Group in 2010 acquired the Polish non-life insurer Polskie Towarzystwo Ubezpieczeń S. A., which in 2012 was renamed Gothaer Towarzystwo Ubezpieczeń S. A. – or GTU for short. The company's gross premiums written, viz. PLN 504.6 million stood 5.5 percent above the 2011 level. In implementing its strategic alignment by 2016, the company is fully on track, and its market position was again improved: as per end-2012, GTU is among the top 10 on the Polish market. GTU focuses on private clients and SMEs. In the private client segment, the idea behind a simple and modular product range is to work efficiently and at low cost, and to reduce dependency on car-insurance business. Here, the company is making great strides: the share of car insurance has already dipped from 79 percent (May 2010) to 69 percent (December 2012). In the corporate client segment, Gothaer's success model is being implemented: GTU has logically been focusing on SMEs, offering tailored-to-suit products and professional underwriting, and has already been able to increase its share in corporate clients from 10 percent (end-2010) to 26 percent (end-2012).
Further corporate news
- 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
- 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).
Presse und Unternehmenskommunikation
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 insureds 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.
- Premiums up 5.8 %, again growing faster than market
- Net profit for year up 20.1 %
- 190 years of growth and innovation
Cologne, 22 June 2010
With gross premiums written up 5.8% since the previous year to Euro 4.186bn (without premiums from the reserve for premium refunds; previous year: Euro 3.956bn, the Gothaer Group in 2009 was growing at a rate above the market average of 4.1% established by the Association of German Insurers (GDV). Net profit for the year at Euro 75m and growth of 20.1% were well above the values for 2008 (Euro 62m). "We are looking back at a very satisfactory year. All ratios point into the right direction: premiums are up, underwriting expenses are down, equity capital has grown, and it was also possible to significantly boost the net profit for the year. In last year's ambitious market environment, we also benefited from the experience and competence we have built up over a period of 190 years," sums up Dr Werner Görg, CEO of the Gothaer Group. The Company is celebrating its 190th anniversary on 2 July, making it one of Germany's oldest supra-regional insurers.
The Group's chief ratios according to IFRS:
IFRS results, in € m
Gross premiums written* 2008:3.956 2009:4.186
Policyholder benefits (net) 2008:2.436 2009:3.383
Underwriting expenses (net) 2008:691 2009:648
Group net profit for year 2008:62 2009:75
Group equity capital 2008:942 2009:1.067
Employees 2008:5.466 2009:5.350
*without premiums from the reserve for premium refunds)
More than just insurance - Additional services for customers
Besides a segment-crossing insurance range, the Company offers customers a whole range of insurance-related services, extending from the individual health-promoting programmes of the Group's own healthcare service provider MediExpert, via the provision of craftsmen and service suppliers in an insured event, all the way to simple proposals and insurance policies from the direct insurer Asstel for printing out at home. In autumn 2010, a new distribution cooperation scheme is being launched with solarhybrid AG. The Cologne-based insurer's agents will be able in future to recommend use of solarhybrid solar systems to their customers. Interested customers are passed on to certified specialist dealers. The target groups are corporate SME clients and private individuals who wish to install a solar system themselves or rent their roof surface for installing solar panels. "We want to offer our customers added value in every situation in life, thus building a long-term association with the Company," says the Board member in charge of Marketing and Sales, Dr Hartmut Nickel-Waninger. "Another selling point is our high advisory competence: for the third time, Gothaer's self-employed fieldforce has been awarded a 'very good' by the independent agency ServiceRating," adds a happy Nickel-Waninger.
Capital investment: investment policy proving its worth
Gothaer's investment strategy has proved its worth in the crisis as well. "As of 31 December 2009, we largely left the crisis behind us in balance-sheet terms, so that we have been able since the turn of the year to build up undisclosed net reserves again," says CFO Jürgen Meisch. Gothaer companies pass all stress tests. "In the current situation, we are backing shorter terms to switch flexibly to investment classes with higher yields when interest rates rise and to earn more capital. In the second half of 2010, investments will focus on government bonds with medium terms in the euro periphery, on first-rate real properties, AAA-ABS and private equity," sums up Meisch.
Gothaer Allgemeine growing in new business
At Euro 1.4bn, Gothaer Allgemeine Versicherung AG's gross premiums written in 2009 were roughly at the 2008 level. "We note an unchanged positive trend: despite the crisis on the financial markets, new business is growing. In addition, we have been able to lower yet again a loss ratio that was already below the market figure. In July, we will be launching new products in accident, private liability, multi-risk and pet owners' liability and creating a uniform product structure for our customers with 'Basis-Schutz' (basic protection), 'Top-Schutz' (top protection) 'Plus-Deckung' (plus cover)," reports Thomas Leicht, Board Chairman at Gothaer Allgemeine. It was possible to further expand the strategic 'Renewable Energies' business field: premiums written grew by 5.7%. Here, the 26% growth in France is worth stressing: in view of the current difficult situation in the economy, and given the delays in many major projects, a handsome success.
Gothaer Leben expands its strategic business fields
New business at Gothaer Lebensversicherung AG in terms of new premiums climbed 31.9% to Euro 618.1m. This is partly due to a rise in single premiums and partly to growing demand in the area of company pension schemes and biometric risks. "Our growth trend in the strategic business fields 'Company Pension Schemes' and 'Biometric Risks' continues unabated. More and more customers are asking about disability insurance and the recently launched market innovation 'PflegeRent Invest' ? the first unit-linked long-term care insurance on the German market. Our solution competence and our holistic service chain in important current subjects, like working-time accounts and Germany's Accounting Law Modernization Act (BilMoG), are another crucial success factor," summarizes Dr Helmut Hofmeier, Board Chairman at Gothaer Lebensversicherung AG.
Gothaer Kranken's notable growth push
Gothaer Krankenversicherung AG boosted its new business for the sixth year running, reaching a monthly target premium income of Euro 3.6m (up 33% on the previous year). "All indicators point to growth," says an enthusiastic Michael Kurtenbach, Board Chairman at Gothaer Krankenversicherung AG. "The number of insureds is rising continuously: at the end of March 2010, the figure was just under 523,000. In May 2010, we were able to reward the loyalty of our long-term care-insurance customers with a cheque for Euro 140 per customer," says Kurtenbach. The supplementary insurance launched in 2010 for private hospital treatment after an accident and providing supplementary cover for preventive dental treatment and professional dental cleaning is set to stoke growth even further.
Asstel in a new getup
Asstel Sach's premiums written rose to Euro 36.0m (previous year: Euro 34.9m). In 2009, Asstel Leben's premiums written, without provision for premium refunds, stood at Euro 215.6m (previous year: Euro 231.8m). Thanks to new online marketing approaches, it was possible to generate the highest share in new supplementary insureds for the Group. In May of this year, logo and getup enjoyed a relaunch. The new brand values are 'smart', 'individual' and 'mobile'. "The company's motto of creating freedom for our customers is now being clearly underlined visually as well," says Dr Mathias Bühring-Uhle, Asstel Board member. Advice at Asstel is event-related and takes account of customers' individual needs, like phase of life, marital status and income. The re-alignment is already paying off. In 1Q10, it was possible to broker over 60% more insurance policies than in the comparable period of the previous year.
Presse und Unternehmenskommunikation
The leading rating agencies Standard & Poor`s (S&P), Fitch Ratings (Fitch) and ASSEKURATA have confirmed the good assessments of the core companies in the Gothaer Group.
S&P maintains its "A-" rating for Gothaer Allgemeine Versicherung AG, Gothaer Lebensversicherung AG and Gothaer Krankenversicherung AG and points to a stable outlook.
On 22.09.09 already, Fitch had confirmed its 'A' insurer financial strength (IFS) ratings given in September 2008 for Gothaer Allgemeine Versicherung AG and Gothaer Lebensversicherung AG. In view of Fitch's negative rating for the European insurance market overall, the outlook was revised from "stable" to "negative".
In July 2009 already, ASSEKURATA reported ongoing good rating results for Gothaer Lebensversicherung AG and Gothaer Krankenversicherung AG. Under the headings 'premium stability' and 'growth/attractiveness on the market', Gothaer Krankenversicherung was even able to improve its rating.
"Our strategy of value-driven control of the Group and the individual companies, based on actuarial risk models, and the associated risk-adjusted capital-investment strategy pursued by our Company are confirmed by these results", says a pleased Dr Werner Görg, Board Chairman.
Below are the current ratings in an overview:
On the Gothaer Group
With over 3.5 million members and premium income in excess of Euro 4 billion, Gothaer is among the major German insurance groups and one of the country's largest mutual insurance companies (VVaG). The Group, with registered office in Cologne, has some 5,500 employees. The focus of Gothaer's strategy is on profitable growth. All insurance lines are offered.
Presse und Unternehmenskommunikation
- Capital investment proves its worth in the crisis
- Growth again outperforms market
- Premium income tops € 4bn mark
- Surplus distribution for Gothaer Life and Asstel Life at unvarying high level in 2009
With gross premiums written rising by 2.4% to Euro 4.039bn since the previous year, the Gothaer Group has again outperformed the market (market average 2008: + 1.0%). "In an extremely difficult market environment, we definitely held our own and even posted the best sales result by far in years. Our customers go on benefitting from good returns that are above the market average," is how Dr Werner Görg, CEO of the Gothaer Group, sums up the good situation. The gratifying sales result was achieved because Marketing kept backing comprehensive and live information. This enabled the Group to cope successfully with the numerous statutory innovations, like the amendment to Germany's Insurance Contract Law (VVG), the Directive on Insurance Mediation and the Ordinance on the Duty to Provide Information.
Capital investment - Net return above market level The Group is responsible for capital investments totalling Euro 21.45bn (previous year: Euro 21.89bn.) Owing to the worldwide financial crisis, the Group was not able to follow on from the record results of the last five years. The capital-investment result in 2008 dropped by Euro 605m to Euro 712m. The consolidated profit fell to Euro 61.7m (previous year: Euro 131.2m.) The net returns of the risk carriers are well above the market level, as in the previous year:
Nettoverzinsung in %
Gothaer Leben (HGB)
ASSTEL Leben (HGB)
GDV Lebensversicherer (HGB)
Gothaer Kranken (HGB)
Gothaer Allgemeine (HGB)
"Since our exposure in securities was fully hedged by a multi-year option, developments on international stockmarkets had hardly any impact on our Group result," said CFO Jürgen Meisch. "We completely dispensed with the balance-sheet relief for shares - sec. 341b HGB," is how Meisch describes the Group's sound position. The Gothaer Group has had no loan defaults to report since the start of the crisis, and all interest payments came in on time in 2008. However, value adjustments had to be made in the categories hedge funds, asset-backed securities, high-yield bonds and emerging markets.
Gothaer Allgemeine grows faster than market
Gross premiums written by Gothaer Allgemeine Versicherung AG rose by 1.3% to over Euro 1.4bn, meaning that the subsidiary is growing more strongly than the market (+ 0.2%). "Gothaer Allgemeine is dazzling with very good product ratings in Germany's Finanztest and Ökotest magazines and other media, and with loss ratios below the market average," reports Thomas Leicht, CEO at Gothaer Allgemeine. Still on course for success, too, are renewable energies, one of the company's big focuses: the premiums in this segment increased by over 6.2%.
Gothaer Leben top in new business
New business of Gothaer Lebensversicherung AG, in terms of new premiums, rose by 17% to Euro 3.1bn in 2008 (over market: + 8.7%). "We present ourselves on the market with very good corporate and product ratings, and have a net return above the market average of 4.1%. Our product positioning is top in terms of quality and quantity," sums up Dr Helmut Hofmeier, CEO at Gothaer Lebensversicherung AG. Specifically in company pension schemes, the Cologne insurer stands out with a holistic service chain, and offers its customers and brokers early solutions in new subjects, as in the case of working time accounts or the Accounting Law Modernization Act (BilMoG).
Gothaer Health with new-business record
Gothaer Krankenversicherung AG boosted its new business for the fifth successive year and, in 2008, posted monthly target premiums of Euro 2.7m (previous year: + 17%). In 2009, too, the positive trend is ongoing: at the end of May 2009, the rise in new business is definitely in the double-digit range compared with the previous year. The number of insured is steadily growing: as at 31.12.08, just under 497,000 people were insured with Gothaer Health (+ 2.2%). For 2009 as well, the premium-adjustment policy is at a very low level: average adjustment is just under 3%. "In the growing business field of company healthcare, we have gained several new partners. This is true of both collective solutions in supplementary health insurance and of our service offerings in company healthcare management," explains Michael Kurtenbach, CEO at Gothaer Krankenversicherung AG.
ASSTEL with new cooperation partners
The ASSTEL group as direct insurer in the Group is still on its innovative path and now offers its customers - as the first insurer to do so - policies for printing out at home. A time gain for customers and a savings potential for the company. "We are delighted to be able to win over two name companies - Cortal Consors and payback - as new cooperation partners," says Dr Mathias Bühring-Uhle, Asstel's CEO since January. New business of ASSTEL Lebensversicherung AG, in terms of gross new premiums, will rise by 116% to Euro 508m by the end of the year. At ASSTEL Life, too, the surpluses for 2009 remain at the high 2008 level. For endowment policies, deferred pension insurance and Rürup pensions, a surplus share of 4.6% (plus terminal bonus) is granted, for immediate annuities 4.8%, and for the Riester pension (Classic tariff) 5%.
Presse und Unternehmenskommunikation
- Premium income scales the 4 billion euro summit
- The allocation of surplus for both Gothaer Leben and Asstel Leben will remain at a constantly high level in 2009
- All company ratings reconfirmed
- Gothaer’s financial investment strategy has proven itself in the crisis
Cologne, 9 December 2008
With an increase in gross premium income (+1.7% compared to the previous year) to a total of 4.014 billion euros, the Group's growth exceeded that of the market (+1.5%). The gross premiums have thus risen above the four billion limit. "All of the financial ratios are as planned. We will achieve all our goals for the 2008 financial year. The net income is expected to be approximately 100 million euros. Consequently, one can say that we are in a very good position compared to the market". This was how Dr. Werner Görg, Chief Executive Officer of the Gothaer Group, summarized the Group's situation.
Gothaer's financial investment strategy has more than proven itself in the crisis!
In the financial crisis up to now, the financial investment strategy of Gothaer has shown itself to be a very strong stabilizing factor. The strategy which was in the past implemented with the goal of increasing the current income has now proven its true worth with stable results and continuity. Another central pillar of Gothaer's investment strategy is diversification, which precludes any dependence on individual markets or issuers.
It was possible to draw current income from the fixed-rate interest and real estate sectors as planned. The market losses in share exposure are limited by a long-term hedging strategy. The Gothaer Group has not been faced with a single loan default since the beginning of the crisis in July 2007 and has received all interest payments when due in this period. Mr. Jürgen Meisch, Financial Director at the Gothaer Group, noted that "At 12 million euros, the loan-related write-offs are at a barely noticeable level when compared to our financial investments of nearly 23 billion euros". Shares currently account for 8.2% of the Group?s total investments and 4.9% of these are liquid.
Mr. Meisch ventured an initial forecast "We expect our net return on capital to be above the market average in 2008". To date, the Group with all its companies has remained steadfast in the face of all the stress tests. Thanks to these positive circumstances, the Group will not in relation to the share losses take advantage of the accounting conveniences available pursuant to §341b of the German Commercial Code.
Rating agencies reaffirm Gothaer's good ratings
The leading rating agencies Fitch Ratings (Fitch), Standard & Poor's (S&P) and ASSEKURATA have just reaffirmed their previous good ratings of the Group's subsidiaries and have even raised their assessments in some sections: As an example, Fitch and S&P have ? since the beginning of the year ? raised their assessment of the outlook to "stable". S&P has reassessed Gothaer's "Enterprise Risk Management" as "adequate with a positive trend", which is also a better rating than last year. ASSEKURATA raised its rating of Gothaer Krankenversicherung in respect to both customer-orientation and premium development and also gave Gothaer Lebensversicherung a better rating (now an "A"). The bottom line: These good ratings reflect the Group's strong business position as well as Gothaer's risk management processes and systems which work. The rating results summarized:
Gothaer Allgemeine better than the market
It is anticipated that Gothaer Allgemeine Versicherung AG's gross premium income will increase by 0.8 % to over 1.4 billion euros. With these results, the company is growing faster than the market (+ 0.2%). Mr. Thomas Leicht, Chief Executive Officer of Gothaer Allgemeine, stated that "Gothaer Allgemeine is very well placed in the market and is one of the Top 10 in the branch in nearly every segment". The renewable energies segment, which has been a major focus of the company in recent years, is still generating good growth: The premiums in this segment increased by over 14 percent (comparing January to October of 2008 to the same period in 2007). Gothaer Allgemeine's gross new business remained stable at the previous year's level of 142 million euros (as per 31 November 2008).
Gothaer Leben keeps the allocation of surplus at a constantly high level
Dr. Helmut Hofmeier, Chief Executive Officer of Gothaer Lebensversicherung AG, was noticeably pleased to comment that "In the current capital market situation where reliability counts ? Gothaer Leben will keep its allocation of surplus at a constant, attractive level in 2009". The Cologne insurer enters the new year with a total return on funds invested that is substantially better than the industry average: The surplus has been allocated as follows: 4.5% (plus share of final distribution) for life insurance products, the "Rürup" pensions and retirement insurance products in the accumulation phase, 4.75% for the pensions beginning immediately and 4.8% for the "Riester" retirement plans. The company is able to provide these good interest rates thanks to its high earning power and assets combined with its solid investments. It is expected that Gothaer Lebensversicherung AG's premiums from new business will grow by over 20 percent by the end of the year to a total of 3.2 billion euros. In contrast, the market?s growth is a mere 9.1%.
Gothaer Kranken Rise in new business, premium stability & insured persons
Gothaer Krankenversicherung AG has increased its new business for the fifth year in a row and will achieve planned monthly premiums of at least 2.5 million euros by the end of the year (+8% compared to the previous year). The production figures as of 30 November 2008 indicate a very positive trend: As of the present, the company has planned monthly premiums in the amount of 2.2 million euros. The MediVita full-coverage tariff (introduced in April of this year) has made a major contribution to achieving these excellent results. The number of persons insured has continued to show a positive trend: At the end of October over 493,000 people (+3%) were insured by Gothaer Kranken ? full health or supplementary policies. The policyholders can once again be pleased that the company will continue its policy of moderate premium adjustments in 2009. The company has calculated an average premium adjustment of about 3% for 2009. Mr. Michael Kurtenbach, Chief Executive Officer of Gothaer Krankenversicherung AG, stated that "Once again we are substantially under the rate increases common in the industry, just as we have been for the last five years".
ASSTEL Leben - Convincing Performance and Top Rankings
As the Group's direct insurer, the ASSTEL Group remains focused on marketing products in the Internet and shines in the rankings with top products and the company?s financial strength: As an example, ASSTEL Lebensversicherung AG is the only direct insurer to receive five stars from the rating company, Morgen & Morgen, since 2002 and is, furthermore, the only one to receive the best rating "mmm" for long-term excellent performance from map-report since 2003. It is expected that ASSTEL Lebensversicherung AG?s gross premiums from new business will grow by over 120 percent by the end of the year to a total of 523 million euros (compared to just +9.1% for the market). ASSTEL Leben's surpluses for 2009 will also remain at the same high level at as in 2008. The surplus has been allocated as follows: 4.6 % (plus share of final distribution) for life insurance products, retirement insurance products in the accumulation phase and the "Rürup" pensions and 4.8% for the pensions beginning immediately and 5% for the "Riester" (Classic tariff) retirement plans.
Presse und Unternehmenskommunikation
Outlook "Stable" +++ Companies receive seal of financial strength +++ Ratings reflect the Group's strong business position
Cologne, 30 September 2008
Fitch Ratings confirmed its 'A' rating of the financial strength (Insurer Financial Strength, IFS) of both Gothaer Allgemeine Versicherung AG and Gothaer Lebensversicherung AG as well as its 'A-' Issuer Default Rating (IDR) of the two firms today. The outlook was assessed to be "Stable".
In addition, Fitch awarded a 'BBB+' rating of the subordinate loan to Gothaer Allgemeine Versicherung AG in the amount of EUR 250 million. At the same time, Fitch also awarded Gothaer Allgemeine Versicherung and Gothaer Lebensversicherung the coveted seal of financial strength, which is only awarded to insurers which are very strong financially.
Fitch considers Gothaer Allgemeine Versicherung and Gothaer Lebensversicherung to be fully integrated core companies of the Gothaer Group, which share a joint brand image, sales channels, customer groups and office functions with other Group companies. The ratings reflect the Group's strong business position as well as the advance processes and systems in the area of risk management. These strengths stand the companies in good stead when confronting the highly competitive market environment in the area of casualty and accident insurance in Germany.
Cologne, 23 July 2008
We would like to expand on the information provided in our annual report and report on the volume and structure of investments of the Gothaer Group in ABSs, CDOs and monoliners.
Gothaer?s investment policy is based on maximum transparency of all investment activities. Since this transparency does not exist in all areas of the securities market, we refrain from involvement in segments that lack such transparency. Gothaer?s investment strategy does not, therefore, involve direct exposure to certificated US mortgage loans, either in the subprime segment or in those with higher ratings.
In the area of asset-backed instruments, we invest virtually exclusively in collateralized loan obligations (CLOs) based on the use of syndicated bank loans as collateral. The grade and recovery performance exhibited by this class of investments in the past is the primary reason for continued use of structured financing products based on this type of collateral in the future. Securities were and are acquired exclusively with the intention of holding them over the long term and have therefore been reported in their entirety as "investments - held to maturit" in Gothaer consolidated financial statements since 2005 in compliance with IFRS.
Investments are also held in European ABSs (pure ABSs to the exclusion of investments in CDOs on ABSs). These instruments have without exception high grade investment-grade ratings (AAA - A), and the transactions have been handled by a leading investment manager under an agreement in place since 2005.
The investment portfolio of Gothaer Lebensversicherung includes no bonds or loans with ratings insured by monoliners. In addition, no off-balance sheet exposure exists to conduits or SIVs.
- Reasons for the Jury´s Decision:best results ever in 2007
- Group results of 135 million euros (+ 12.5%)
- growth in all segments
- premium income of 4 billion euros (+ 2.3%)
Cologne, 23 June 2008
With Group results of 135 million euros (+ 12.5% in comparison to the previous year) and gross premium income of almost 4 billion euros (3.945 billion euros), Gothaer has bettered its results for the fifth year in a row. Dr. Werner Görg, Chief Executive Officer of the Gothaer Group, summarized the Group's satisfying situation in the following words, "The financial year of 2007 proves that we have done our homework and really know our business: With an increase in the premium income of 2.3% compared to the previous year, the Gothaer Group's growth is far in excess of the market which is stagnating at a meager 0.8%". The Group's average number of employees in 2007 was 5,610 (in the previous year the number was 5,730).
The Group manages investments in an amount of nearly 23 billion euros (22.982 billion euros) and now reaps a return on these investments of 6.0%. portfolio institutionell chose Gothaer Asset Management AG for its "Best Insurance Company" award, ranking it as the best institutional investor in the insurance industry. It was assessed as having an outstanding investment strategy that is exceptional in the industry.
Gothaer Sales Force: larger team with increased expertise and success in acquiring new business
The "Gothaer Konzeptberatung" (Gothaer Personalized Financial Provision Concept) introduced in 2007 has been exceptionally well-received by both sales and our customers: ServiceRating GmbH found that the new tool was used in advising customers in 44% of the test purchases it conducted. "Focusing on financial provision has enabled us to deliver high-quality customer-oriented advice and secured us a great competitive advantage in the market", said an obviously happy, Dr. Hartmut Nickel-Waninger, the Gothaer Group's executive director. He continued by saying that, "We have achieved our goals for 2007 in full: our sales team has grown and further sharpened its expertise and successfully acquired even more new business". Gothaer's sales team also received praise from independent sources: ServiceRating awarded it a rating of "very good". Its main finding was that not only were 91% of the private customers satisfied with their agent, 62% of them were actually enthusiastic about their agent - which is naturally a very satisfying result for any insurance company. Customers consider Gothaer's financial provision concept to be evidence that the advice that they receive is both comprehensive and reliable.
Gothaer Allgemeine - Better Growth than Average
Gothaer Allgemeine Versicherung AG's gross premium income increased by 1.8% to 1.4 billion euros. With these results, it is growing noticeably faster than the market (which declined by - 0.4%). Good growth was achieved in both commercial and industrial insurance business and in the area of technical insurance. The Group's property and accident insurer has focused on the area of renewable energies and is striving to become the market leader in this area for all of Europe. In 2007 it managed to achieve an increase in gross premium income of 6% with policies covering wind turbines. With a market share of 30%, the company is already the market leader in Germany. With the coverage concept that it developed especially for biogas plants, Gothaer has become the leading insurers of such projects in Germany. In this latter area, its gross premium income rose by 60%.
Gothaer Leben - Strongest Growth in New Business of Any of the Top 20 Life Insurance Companies
Gothaer Lebensversicherung AG achieved the strongest growth in new business of any of the Top 20 life insurance companies (+ 16.7% compared to the previous year; the market only grew by + 1.3%, source: "Zeitschrift für Versicherungswesen" of 1 April 2008, page 200). Its gross premium income increased by 3.3% to 1.32 billion euros. At 5.0%, the net return on capital for 2007 was substantially higher than that of the market (4.6%). At the same time, the gross profit climbed by 8.6% to 254 million euros. The bottom line: The assets and strength of the company are constantly increasing. The policyholders also benefit from these good results directly: The current surpluses were increased by at least 0.3% to 4.5% (plus terminal bonus and minimum participation in the hidden reserves).
The key to this success has been a resolute focus on seamless solutions for employee pension schemes. The employer is obliged to locate the best possible solution for its employees while considering a multitude of aspects of labor and tax law. In dealing with this maze, Gothaer offers a comprehensive range of services, including, for example, the establishment of time accounts. Within the structure of a modular solution, the Cologne insurer takes care of all the related tasks from issues concerning administration all the way to insolvency protection. Dr. Helmut Hofmeier, Chief Executive of Gothaer Lebensversicherung AG commented that, "With this approach, we are able to offer tailored solutions for not only large but also small and medium-sized companies". These efforts were rewarded by Öko-Test with a number 1 rating. Gothaer is one of the few insurers that can establish time accounts for any size of company.
Gothaer Kranken Exhibits Organic Growth
Gothaer Krankenversicherung AG increased its gross premium income (by + 1.9% compared to the previous year to 793.4 million euros) and the monthly premiums from its new business (+ 15.3% compared to the previous year to 2.3 million euros monthly premiums). There was also an increase in the number of insured persons in both full coverage and supplementary insurance. One particularly welcome aspect for customers is that, for the fourth year in a row, the premiums have remained stable: the average premium increase in 2007 was just 0.7%. The area of company healthcare is becoming an increasingly important mainstay area of business for Gothaer Krankenversicherung. In this area, the MediExpert group subsidiary offers comprehensive packages of seamless solutions for employers and their employees. Mr. Michael Kurtenbach, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Gothaer Krankenversicherung AG, stated that, "The current healthcare reform fails to achieve the goal set by the legislature. Thanks to the increased government regulation, it does not increase competition nor does it solve the problems of financing the statutory health insurance".
Asstel Increased Sales of Automotive Insurance - Lead Product
As the Gothaer Group's direct insurer, the Asstel Group continues to focus on products which can be marketed on the Internet and require less in the way of advisory services. Following this strategy, it has put together a portfolio of many top ranking products. Since it introduced its lead product strategy in 2007, the company has successfully focused on automotive insurance: In 2007 it sold about 32,000 more automobile insurance policies than in the previous year. In the first few months of 2008 Asstel concluded 10,828 more automobile insurance policies. As a consequence, Gothaer Allgemeine Versicherung AG's gross premium income increased by 21.4% to 31.9 billion euros. The gross premium income of Asstel Lebenversicherung remained stable at 241 million euro which is nearly the same as that of the previous year.
Your ContactAlrun Griepenkerl
PR and Corporate Communication
portfolio institutionell chooses Cologne insurer for "Best Insurance Company" award for investors in Germany +++ Gothaer ranked best institutional investor in the insurance industry +++ An outstanding investment strategy - exceptional in the industry
Cologne, 14 April 2008
portfolio institutionell, a magazine that targets institutional investors, announced the winner of its second "Best Insurance Company" award for the insurer with the best investment performance. Representing the Gothaer Group, Jürgen Meisch accepted the much coveted award on 10 April. "The positive feedback from an outside source is encouraging. It confirms that we are headed in the right direction with our investment strategy," commented Meisch positively. Gothaer Asset Management AG, a Gothaer Group company, convincingly demonstrated its ability to achieve a high return on investments on a sustainable basis: Interest and dividends accounted for the greater part - over 90 percent - of the investment income generated by the Group. This also guarantees our policyholders a stable, high return on their investments that outperforms the market over the long term," concluded Meisch.
Reasons for the Jury´s Decision
- Gothaer´s investment strategy provides an ideal match for the risks involved in the insurance business. The return and the ongoing underwriting obligations mesh perfectly. This is achieved in particular by spreading exposure through the use of a variety of different types of investment vehicles. The bottom line: Asset-liability, investment and risk management are fully integrated.
- The company benefits from the well-defined assignment of responsibilities and a stringent investment strategy: Gothaer Asset Management is tightly coupled with the relevant departments in the other Group companies. In addition, automated procedures are employed to manage investment activities: All transactions are vetted on the basis of return and risk potential using the four-eyes principle. That means transactions are carried out only after assessment of compliance with investment guidelines.
- Procedures and, as a result, investment decision-making are supported by high-performance systems, software and data, which permits timely reporting on internal and external investments.
- Gothaer has for years been considered an innovative investor by banks, customers and competitors, and the company's exceptional openness to alternative investments is one reason why. For Gothaer, these include hedge funds, international real estate funds and investment properties, private equity and structured financing products.
Background Information on portfolio institutionell Award
- Independent Parties - not affiliated with the magazine - nominated candidate companies which could then submit answers to a detailed questionnaire.
- The following were the members of the jury for the "Best Insurance Company" category:
- Dr. Elisabeth Hehn, founder and CEO of Dr. Hehn Associates. This company serves institutional customers in the area of innovative investment products. Dr. Hehn has had more than 18 years experience in the development of derivatives and innovative investment products.
- Prof. Dr. Hans-Joachim Zwiesler, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Institut für Finanz- und Aktuarwissenschaften. The institute is an independent consultancy that specializes in actuarial issues in the area of life insurance.
- Prof. Dr. Jens Kleine, who holds the Chair for Corporate Management and Financial Services at the School of Management and Innovation of Steinbeis-Hochschule in Berlin.
- Mr. Jürgen Helfen, Director of Rauser Towers Perrin, a leading consultancy in the area of company pension plans. A background paper with further information on the investment strategy of Gothaer and a photo of the award ceremony is available from the Gothaer Press Center at www.gothaer.de.
Presse und Unternehmenskommunikation
- In 2007, Gothaer expects its best results since it was founded
- Group results are expected to reach 129 million euros
- Premium income rises by 2.5% to 3.952 billion euros
- The reform of the Insurance Contracts Act (Versicherungsvertragsgesetz) creates great opportunities
Cologne, 22 November 2007
With Group results expected to reach 129 million euros (+7.5% in comparison to the previous year), Gothaer has bettered its results for the fifth year in a row. Equity increased by 2% to 1.15 billion euros, while the after-tax return on equity climbed to 11.2% (compared to 10.7% in the previous year). "The Group's profit situation continues to improve constantly. The fact that Gothaer has also achieved its target in regard to growth is particularly satisfying. Dr. Werner Görg, the Gothaer Group´s chief executive officer, summed up the situation by saying, "With a 2.5% increase in the gross premiums written (now 3.952 billion euros), we are well above the market which is stagnating at zero growth". It is anticipated that the Group´s average number of employees in 2007 will be 5,605 (in the previous year the number was 5,730).
Rating agencies confirm Gothaer´s excellent market position
Marketing and sales deliver good figures for new business
In 2007 Gothaer Lebenversicherung´s (life insurance) new business grew by 4% to a total of 2.8 billion euros (based on the gross premium income). In health insurance, it is expected that the monthly premiums from new business will increase to 2.3 million euros (+18% in comparison to the previous year). In the property and accident insurance sector, the Group acquired new business in the amount of 177 million euros (+1.9% in comparison to the previous year).
The newly introduced "Gothaer Konzeptberatung" (Gothaer Personalized Risk and Financial Provision Concept), which was awarded the Bronze Award by the magazine "Versicherungsmagazin", has been exceptionally well received. "Focusing on financial provision has enabled us to deliver high-quality customer-oriented advice and secured us a great competitive advantage in the market. Moreover, we are able to satisfy the new requirements arising from the reform of the Insurance Contracts Act at the same time", said an obviously happy, Dr. Hartmut Nickel-Waninger, who became the Gothaer Group´s executive director in April 2007. "The reform of the Insurance Contracts Act creates enormous opportunities for independent agents and large brokers, since comprehensive advice is becoming increasingly important. The Gothaer Group aims to take full advantage of every opportunity created by the reform of the Insurance Contracts Act", Dr. Nickel-Waninger explained further.
Gothaer Allgemeine has innovative insurance solutions
The gross premiums written increased by +1.6% (compared to the previous year) to 1.4 billion euros. This is a particularly satisfying result given that the market sank by -0.4% in the same time period. While premium income in the highly competitive car insurance business did decrease, this was balanced by the considerable growth in commercial and industrial insurance business. With its two new insurance solutions, GoArt and GoLog, Gothaer offers solutions tailored to the special needs of art galleries and freight forwarders; solutions which are unique in the business. In response to the Environmental Damage Act (Umweltschadensgesetz), which has been in force since 14 November, Gothaer currently provides temporary coverage for its industrial and commercial customers. Insurance coverage is also now offered in the form of a new environmental damage insurance.
Gothaer Lebensversicherung - Substantially better growth than average
The "Innovation" sales campaign, which is aimed at company old-age pension schemes focused on the unit-linked direct component insurance, Reflex, and deferred compensation products, has been successful. The new business at Gothaer Lebenversicherung and Gothaer Pensionkasse grew by 4% to a total premium income of 2.8 billion euros. At 4.9%, the anticipated net rate of investment income for 2007 is substantially greater than that of the previous year (4.6%). The gross earnings are, at 254.5 million euros, 8.8% higher than the previous year´s 234 million euros. Conclusions: The assets and strength of the company are constantly increasing. It is anticipated that the policyholder bonus reserve will grow by 80 million euros to 415 million euros. Naturally, the policyholders also benefit from the good conditions directly: The current surpluses will be increased by 0.3% to 4.5%.
Gothaer Krankenversicherung strengthens its products in the high-growth area of "company preventive health care"
Gothaer Krankenversicherung reported organic growth in the number of insured persons in both the full coverage and supplementary insurance. In addition, the company also profits from external growth through the merger with Asstel Krankenversicherung AG. In the case of supplementary insurance, for example, the merger resulted in the transfer of approximately 17,000 policies from Asstel to Gothaer Krankenversicherung. One particularly welcome aspect for customers is that, for the fourth year in a row, the premiums have remained relatively stable. In total, the average premium increase for 2008 is just 2%. The company preventive health care insurance sector will become an important pillar for Gothaer Krankenversicherung in the future. With its "MediGroup" group insurance products and its "Gothaer Firmenservice", it offers a comprehensive package of health insurance products for both companies and their employees. Mr. Michael Kurtenbach, deputy chief executive officer, of Gothaer Krankenversicherung AG, stated that, "We have made a good start in this sector and see substantial potential for further growth in this market".
Asstel successful in marketing its products on the Internet
The Asstel Group remains focused on its marketing of products on the Internet which require less in the way of advisory services. After introducing its lead product strategy, the company has concentrated on marketing motor vehicle insurance and "Riester" tax-deferred retirement plans this year. Over two million prospective customers have already visited the Asstel website at www.asstel.de this year. The price calculator was also frequently used: Compared to last year, it was used to calculate the prices of 1.5 times as many motor vehicle insurance policies and "Riester" tax-deferred retirement plans. This high volume of Internet contact is, however, also reflected in the number of policies written: In comparison to 2006, nearly 40,000 more motor vehicle insurance policies were written in 2007.
Your ContactAlrun Griepenkerl
PR and Corporate Communication
Gothaer Allgemeine also receives an "A" Rating +++ "Very good financial strength" increases the attractiveness of the Gothaer Group +++ Restructuring and improved capitalization were successful
Cologne, 4 October 2007
Fitch Ratings has awarded Gothaer Lebensversicherung AG an "A" rating for its financial strength. At the same time, the agency confirmed the "A" rating for the financial strength of Gothaer Allgemeine Versicherung AG. Both are fully integrated core companies of the Gothaer Group.
The rating acknowledges the successful restructuring, the improved capitalization and the advanced processes and systems in the area of risk management in the Gothaer Group. Dr. Hofmeier, chief executive of Gothaer Leben, commented on this as follows: "Our improved risk management has paid off."
Dr. Helmut Hofmeier is particularly happy about the sought after seal of financial strength, which is only awarded to insurers whose financial strength is especially robust. "Very good financial strength means security. That makes us attractive in comparison to our market competitors to our sales partners and customers. Who wants to hand over his money to an insurer who might get into a tailspin tomorrow because it is underfinanced."
The fact that Gothaer Leben significantly increased its "free" provisions for premium refunds during the last few years was an important factor for Fitch Ratings. In accordance with this, the company will increase its percentage of surplus from 4.2% to 4.5%; the increase looks even better in the case of "Riester" contracts since the improvement was from 4.4% to 4.8%.
Gothaer Lebensversicherung AG
Gothaer Lebensversicherung AG with about 1.2 million euros worth of gross premium income booked in 2006 counts as one of Germany's leading life insurance companies. It can look back at more than four decades of experience with business customers. Almost 50 per cent of its new business stems from company old age pension schemes. Close customer relations and innovative services combined with a broad selection of products build the foundations for its success. The company belongs to the Gothaer Group which with 3.5 million insured members and 3.9 billion euros premium income is one of the largest Groups in Germany led by a mutual insurance company. We offer a full line of insurance products.
Your ContactThomas Moll
PR and Corporate Communication
Standard & Poor's awards the Gothaer companies an "A-" Rating +++ Outlook for all companies "stable"
Cologne, 16 July 2007
The leading international rating agency Standard & Poor's (S&P) has confirmed its assessment of the Gothaer core companies as "very good" in relation to security and financial strength. In doing so the agency confirmed the previous year's results of Gothaer Allgemeinen (A-) and Gothaer Lebensversicherung (A-) and also assessed Gothaer Krankenversicherung for the first time with an A-. The outlook for all companies is stable (outlook: stable).
The international rating agency Fitch assessed both Gothaer Allgemeinen and Gothaer Lebensversicherung with an "A" already last week. The Gothaer Group's chief executive officer, Dr. Werner Görg, said, obviously happy, "The assessment of the rating agencies confirms our conviction that we are on the right path. As a result, all of the Group's core companies have top placements in comparison to their competitors. This kind of rating result is especially important in view of the reform of the Insurance Contracts Act (Versicherungsvertragsgesetz) because an insurance agent's choice of insurance companies has to be based in essence on the financial stability of the insurer."
Herbert Schmitz, chief executive officer of Gothaer Krankenversicherung, added, "After Gothaer Krankenversicherung was able to increase its Assekurata Rating from an "A-" to an "A" in July 2007, we were able to achieve an "A-" from S&P the first time around. This is a superb development."
Görg stated further, "Our long term strategy has obviously paid off in the eyes of the independent rating agencies. Gothaer Allgemeine is an established name in the German insurance field and its outlook is good for continued profitable growth in the future. As shown by the latest increase in the allocation of surpluses, Gothaer Lebensversicherung has the necessary financial strength in order to be attractive to both customers and sales partners." Görg also pointed out that the Gothaer Krankenversicherung's current result further confirms its very good development with regard to premium stability and security.
Overview of the Gothaer Group's Rating Results
S&P: 2006:A- 2007:A-
Fitch: 2006:A 2007:A
ASSEKURATA: 2006:- 2007:-
S&P: 2006:A- 2007:A-
Fitch: 2006:- 2007:A
ASSEKURATA: 2006:- 2007:A-
S&P: 2006:- 2007:A-
Fitch: 2006:- 2007:-
ASSEKURATA: 2006:A- 2007:A
Gothaer with its 3.5 million insured members and its premium income of approximately 3.9 billion euros is one of the largest German insurance groups and one of the largest mutual insurance companies in Germany.
Your ContactAlrun Griepenkerl
PR and Corporate Communication
- Group results of 120 million euros in 2006
- Gothaer's plans for the future have been nearly fulfilled
- Growth in sales, in particular, in life insurance
- Growth again in the number of health insurance policyholders
Cologne, 20 June 2007
With Group results of 120 million euros, Gothaer has bettered its results for the fourth year in a row. The Group results rose by over 16 % in comparison to last year. The equity increased by more than 18 % to over 1.1 billion euros, while the after-tax return on equity remained stable at 10.7 %. Thus, the Group's profit situation once again improved, as it has done continually during the last few years.
The turnover also increased while the administrative costs remained nearly constant at 444 million euros. The gross premiums written in 2006 amounted to 3.9 billion euros (as compared to 3.8 billion euros in 2005), which is 1.3 % more than the previous year. Dr. Werner Görg, the Gothaer Group's chief executive officer, commented on the Group's success by saying: "Thanks to our excellent profit situation, we are well-prepared to meet the challenges of the future." The Gothaer Group began preparing its financial statements in accordance with the International Financial Reporting Standards in 2001 and is currently one of the few mutual insurance companies in Germany to do so. The individual types of insurance are assessed in accordance with the German Commercial Code (Handelsgesetzbuch).
In 2006, the number of the Group's employees fell to 5,730 or approximately 280 less than in 2005. In Cologne, on the other hand, approximately 230 new positions were filled so that on the average Cologne?s employment figures for 2006 will be approximately 3,306.
Gothaer's Plans for the Future Have Been Nearly Fulfilled
Dr. Görg put it succinctly: "Gothaer's plans for the future have been nearly fulfilled." The Group's insurance situation is stable, our investments in the brand are leading to increasing brand recognition, our financial investment strategy has been successfully changed, and the leaner structures mean costs for our customers will remain lower.
"The achieved growth is welcome, but it must be substantially increased in the coming years", Dr. Görg stated self-critically. Externally, this means investing even more effort in our "two-brand strategy", i.e. promoting Asstel and Gothaer. Internally, the procedures will be increasingly bundled. A customer service centre will handle the standard business transactions. The overall goal is to increase efficiency by reducing complexity, standardising and utilizing automatisation.
Growth in Sales
There is clear growth in the Group's sales. The premium income of the Group's life insurance company rose by more than 80 % and was thus well above the market average of just 19.5 %. Production climbed to 2.4 billion euros; a figure to which the independent field sales personnel made a significant contribution. In health insurance, the monthly premiums from new business increased to approximately 2 million euros. In the property and accident insurance sector, the Group acquired new business in the amount of 174 million euros. A recruiting campaign was started in 2007 to increase the size of the Group's own sales staff. The goal is to increase the number of insurance agencies by 300 to bolster the Group's existing 1,700 agencies. The campaign to market multi-risk policies was quite successful in 2006. The success of the campaign can be seen in the fact that 117 % more policies were concluded in May 2006 than in the same month in 2005. The newly introduced "Gothaer Vorsorgekonzept" (Gothaer Personalized Provision Concept), which was awarded the Bronze Award by the magazine "Versicherungsmagazin", has been exceptionally well received. Dr. Hartmut Nickel-Waninger, who became the Gothaer Group's executive director in charge of marketing and sales in April 2007, explained: "We want to stay with the tried and proven, but at the same time to improve even further in those areas in which we are currently only good."
Gothaer Allgemeine Does Well
Gothaer Allgemeine Versicherung AG held its own in 2006 in spite of the difficult market conditions. The gross premiums written in 2006 (1.37 billion euros) achieved about the same level as in the previous year (1.39 billion euros). While premium income in the highly competitive car insurance business did decrease, this was balanced by the growth in building insurance. The Group's chief executive officer, Dr. Görg, is satisfied with the development: "The contribution of car insurance business to the Group's total turnover has greatly decreased in the last few years. The more profitable lines have, however, been growing with the consequence that we have become less and less dependent on the highly cyclical car insurance business." Furthermore, although the prices in the industrial insurance line dropped, the company was able to increase the number of policies written. As a consequence, Gothaer Allgemeine considers itself well positioned to meet the challenges of the future.
The international rating agencies have also not been blind to the strength of Gothaer Allgemeine. Fitch has awarded the company an "A" rating for the first time and, in the autumn, Standard and Poor's confirmed the "A-" rating that it awarded Gothaer the previous year.
Gothaer Lebensversicherung - Substantially Better Growth than Average
2006 was a particularly satisfying year for the life insurance company Gothaer Lebensversicherung AG. The gross premiums written plus the premiums from the policyholder bonus reserve increased from 1.16 billion euros to 1.17 billion euros. At the same time, the administrative costs were reduced by 0.2 percentage points to 3.2 %. Thanks to the good investment results, the net yield rose to 4.6 % in 2006. The customers of Gothaer Lebensversicherung also benefited from the positive results since new policyholders received a guaranteed return of 4.2% in 2007. The total return on funds invested under Riester tax-deferred retirement plans increased from 4.1 to 4.4 %.
In its first assessment of the financial strength of Gothaer Lebensversicherung Standard and Poor's awarded it an "A-" rating ("very good") in 2006. This year the life insurer is drumming up new business with a pension marketing campaign. The range of products was increased and improved. The company's main attraction, "VarioRent plus", is now not only available with the flexibility of a unit-linked policy, but also as a conventional product with guaranteed interest. Beginning in autumn, the company will focus on sales campaigns under the heading "Innovation". The campaigns will be aimed at marketing new solutions for company old-age pension schemes based on a combination of a unit-linked direct component and deferred compensation.
Gothaer Krankenversicherung Expands Its Business Segment
The health insurance company, Gothaer Krankenversicherung AG, has succeeded in not only stopping the previous loss of policyholders in the full health insurance segment, but now shows a slight gain in the number of policyholders in this segment. At the same time, the company achieved substantial growth in supplementary health insurance.
One particularly welcome aspect for customers is that, for the fourth year in a row, the premiums have remained relatively stable. The average premium increase was no more than 0.7 %, while for more than half of the policyholders the premiums did not change at all on 1 January 2007. In addition, about a third of the fully insured policyholders received a refund. The group insurance sector will become an important pillar for Gothaer Krankenversicherung in the future. With its family of "MediGroup" products and its "Gothaer Firmenservice", it has a range of supplementary products that are of interest to both companies and their employees. Mr. Michael Kurtenbach, deputy chief executive officer, of Gothaer Krankenversicherung AG, stated that: "We see great potential in this sector and will strive to win a substantial share of this market."
Asstel Shows Substantial Growth
As the Gothaer Group's direct insurer, the Asstel Group, proved once again in 2006 that a significant contribution to the growth of Gothaer's total business can be made with products which require less in the way of advisory services. Asstel Sachversicherung AG increased its premium income from 16.7 million euros to 26.3 million euros in 2006 - an increase of over 50 %. The increase in Asstel Lebensversicherung AG premiums from new business was particularly welcome; the company boosted its premium income by 135.5 % from 205 million euros to 482 million euros. The sum of the gross premiums written plus the premiums from the policyholder bonus reserve rose from 226 million euros to 250 million euros in 2006.
Your ContactAlrun Griepenkerl
PR and Corporate Communication
Group results at 120 million euros +++ Well prepared for the future +++ Income put into products and sales force
Cologne, 12 December 2006
Gothaer will achieve record results again in 2006. Its chief executive officer, Dr. Werner Görg, expects the Group's profits to grow by more than 16 per cent to 120 million euros after taxes. This growth in profits also results in an increase of 11.3 per cent in the after tax return on equity. An excellent level that should be maintained in the future. "We are facing immense changes in the market. Nonetheless, Gothaer's earnings allow us to confront the challenges of the future with optimism", is how Dr. Görg describes the Group's prospects. Dr. Görg continued to say, "Besides further increasing our reserves, we will invest in our products and in optimising the quality of our sales and service."
At approximately 3.8 billion euros, the Group's consolidated premium income is expected to slightly exceed last year's level. The continuing decrease in the risk carriers' cost ratios can be attributed to the ongoing industrialisation of the business processes within the Group.
An important aspect of the Group's strategy is to offer a palette of different services to suit various target groups and service requirements. "Through our direct insurer, Asstel, we can offer our customers lean and cost-effective solutions for the usual market requirements. At the same time, Gothaer's highly-qualified field staff is available to provide comprehensive advice to customers who need solutions for more complex requirements", as Mr. Ron van het Hof, executive director in charge of marketing and sales, explained. Current measures focus on optimising the services offered to sales partners and the ongoing further training of our field staff. Moreover, in the spring of 2007, Gothaer will, as the first mutual insurance company to do so, offer exclusively to its members the opportunity to directly share in the Group's profits. Gothaer will make this opportunity available to its members in the form of a member bond with an attractive base interest rate and add further interest to this base in accordance with the Group's results.
2006 is also a successful year for sales. To illustrate, new business in life insurance was by the end of October already up by 90 per cent compared to last year. The growth is particularly strong in the Group's own tied-agent network, which, with an increase of 165 per cent, is once again the Group's most successful sales channel. The success of the current retirement pension product, "VarioRent Plus", with over 16,000 sales by October, was obviously one factor contributing to this growth. In the health insurance sector, the number of persons insured will increase again. Here again, new products and the activities in the employees' insurance segment have contributed to the growth. As far as property insurance is concerned, the multi-risk products for private customers, in particular, have performed well. More than 10,000 new customers opted for Gothaer's all-round protection.
It is anticipated that the Group will have about 5,700 employees by the end of 2006. Compared with the number at the end of 2005, this would equate to a reduction in staff of about 90 persons. In contrast to the Group as a whole, in Cologne, approximately 300 new positions were filled so that it is anticipated that on the average Cologne's employment figures for 2006 will be in excess of 3,300.
Gothaer Allgemeine continues its policy of profit-oriented underwriting
Gothaer Allgemeine Versicherung AG held its own in 2006 in spite of the difficult market conditions. It is anticipated that the gross premiums written in 2006 (1.38 billion euros) will reach about the same level as that achieved in the previous year (1.39 billion euros). While premium income in the highly competitive car insurance business did decrease, this was balanced by the considerable growth in liability and building insurance. The Group's chief executive officer, Dr. Görg, is satisfied with the development: "The contribution of car insurance business to the Group's total turnover has greatly decreased in the last few years. The more profitable lines have, however, been growing with the consequence that we have become less and less dependent on the highly cyclical car insurance business." Furthermore, although the prices in the industrial insurance line are falling, the company was able to increase the number of policies written. As a consequence, Gothaer Allgemeine considers itself well positioned to meet the challenges of the future.
The international rating agencies have also not been blind to the strength of Gothaer Allgemeine. Fitch has awarded the company an "A" rating for the first time and, in the autumn, Standard and Poor's confirmed the "A-" rating that it awarded Gothaer last year.
Gothaer Lebensversicherung increases the allocation of surplus to policyholders
Gothaer Lebensversicherung AG's 2006 financial year was marked by three important events, beginning with the "A-" rating awarded by Standard and Poor's in recognition of the company's security and financial strength. The financial strength shown by the ratio of the reserves to the current allocated surplus (provisions for bonuses and rebates) at an anticipated 646 per cent is far in excess of the market average. Gothaer Lebensversicherung could thus, as one of the first life insurance companies, once again announce an increase in the allocation of surplus to policyholders in 2007. Furthermore, the successful sales activities also strengthened the company in the financial year under review, since substantial growth was achieved in the strategically desirable sectors of life and pension insurance with periodically paid premiums as well as in unit-linked life insurance (known as variable life insurance in the US). Gothaer Lebensversicherung's life insurance business with periodically paid premiums grew by more than 80 per cent compared to the previous year, while the market anticipates an average growth of only 14 per cent. Moreover, it is anticipated that the share of unit-linked life insurance policies in new business will increase to more than 40 per cent.
It is expected that Gothaer Lebensversicherung's premium income will increase slightly from 1.25 billion euros in 2005 to 1.27 billion euros in 2006. The lapse rate should drop to 4.6 per cent in 2006 from 4.9 per cent in the previous year, while the administrative costs rate should drop from 3.4 in 2005 to 3.3 per cent in 2006.
Gothaer Krankenversicherung's positive development continues
Gothaer Krankenversicherung AG believes that the number of persons it insures will increase once more in 2006. It is expected that the supplementary health insurance sector, in particular, will contribute to this increase. It is anticipated that new business will better the previous year's figures by 15 to 20 per cent. In the market for full health insurance policies, the company has been particularly successful with its "MediStart" product. More than 11,000 customers have chosen this product since it was first launched two years ago.
A particularly welcome aspect for customers is that, for the fourth year in succession, the premiums have remained relatively stable; the average premium increase is no more than 0.7 per cent, while more than half will not change at all.
The group insurance sector will become an important pillar for Gothaer Krankenversicherung in the future. With its family of "MediGroup" products, the company has successfully broken new ground and, with its "Gothaer Firmenservice", it has interesting service packages to offer to companies and their employees.
Strong sales growth at Asstel-Sachversicherung
As the Gothaer Group's direct insurer, the Asstel Group, proved once again in 2006 that a significant contribution to the growth of Gothaer's total business can be made with products which require less in the way of advisory services. It is expected that Asstel Sachversicherung's premium income will exceed last year's by more than 50 per cent.
Your ContactAlrun Griepenkerl
PR and Corporate Communication
Standard & Poor's and Fitch award A-ratings +++ compliments on the group companies' successful development +++ outlook "stable"
Cologne, 8 September 2006
The leading international rating agencies, Standard & Poor's and Fitch, have both assessed Gothaer's security and financial strength as "very good". In its first assessment of Gothaer Lebensversicherung AG, Standard & Poor's (S&P) also gave it an "A-" rating ("very good").
At the same time, the agency confirmed the "A-" rating that it had awarded Gothaer Allgemeine Versicherung AG, the Group's property insurer, last year. The outlook in both cases was assessed as "stable". In its first rating of Gothaer Allgemeine, Fitch Ratings awarded it an "A" rating for its financial strength. Both agencies pointed out the role of the assessed companies as core businesses within the Group and, furthermore, commented on the successful restructuring of the Group with a strong and growing capital base. The Gothaer Group's chief executive officer, Dr. Werner Görg, says, obviously happy, "The assessment of the rating agencies fully confirms the course we have taken. With these ratings, the Group has now won the seal of quality for which we have all striven." Gothaer Krankenversicherung AG already received an "A" rating from the rating agency, Assekurata, in June. With these, we now have independent assessments of all of the Gothaer Group's core companies. The analysts at S&P also assessed the Group's competitive position positively, since Gothaer reduced its dependence on highly competitive products in the last few years and is therefore less affected by the current price wars than other insurance companies. In their assessment of Gothaer Lebensversicherung's strength, the rating agencies emphasised its increased reserves and its cautious investment strategy. At the same time, Gothaer has been strengthening its market position with an extensive marketing campaign and new products.
Mr. Tim Ockenga, Associate Director of Fitch Ratings in London, summarised his findings in these words: "Gothaer Allgemeine Versicherung is an established brand in the German insurance market and is, furthermore, well-positioned for profitable growth in the future." With approximately 3.8 million insured members and approximately 4 billion euros premium income, Gothaer is one of Germany's largest mutual insurance companies. It offers life, health and casualty/accident insurance policies for both private and business customers.
Your ContactAlrun Griepenkerl
PR and Corporate Communication
Group results break the 100 million euros mark +++ Equity of more than one billion euros +++ Members share in success
Cologne, 27 June 2006
With a profit of 103 million euros for 2005, the Gothaer Group once again substantially improved its record results of 81 million euros attained in the previous year. "Gothaer's income situation is just as satisfying for our customers as it is for Gothaer itself", commented Dr. Werner Görg, the Group's chief executive officer. "These results will allow us to substantially increase the reserves and to increase the allocation of surplus to the mutual insurance company's members to approximately 3.4 billion euros."
The increased profit was among other things owed to a reduction of costs by nearly 100 million euros. "We are now harvesting the fruits of the restructuring that we went through during the last few years", Dr. Görg added. The Group will invest the savings in brand positioning, product improvements and its range of services. Dr. Görg stated, "Good private coverage can only be provided by a strong insurance company."
In mid-2004, Gothaer decided to concentrate on primary insurance for business and private customers. The Group managed to compensate for the approximately 300 million euros loss in turnover, which was associated with dropping the reinsurance business, by additional acquisitions in 2005. As a result, the premium income only decreased by approximately 5 per cent to 3.8 billion euros (compared to 4 billion euros in the previous year). Gothaer had a good 6,000 employees in 2005 (6,300 in the previous year), while the workforce in Cologne was strengthened through the addition of at least 300 employees.
Investment results also had a positive effect on the Group's finances. Gothaer managed approximately 21.5 billion euros for its customers as compared to 20.3 billion euros in the previous year and - with investment results (calculated in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards) of over 1.4 billion euros - realized a net yield of 6.8 per cent.
Members profit from the positive development
With a return on equity of over 10 per cent after taxes, Gothaer is one of the leading German insurers. Through the introduction of a members' bond, the mutual insurance company's members will be able to directly benefit from its high performance as of next year. The subscribers to these bonds, which will only be available to Gothaer customers, can expect - depending on the future market developments - substantially more than six per cent interest.
Gothaer will continue to rely on providing high-quality advice. The success of the current campaigns in regard to private pension schemes as well as those directed towards small and medium-sized companies provides ample evidence that this is recognized and appreciated by the customers. "They focus on the customer", is how Dr. Reiner Will, managing director of ServiceRating GmbH, assesses the performance of the Gothaer field staff. In the autumn of 2005, Gothaer was the first insurer to have its sales force evaluated by an independent rating agency and was awarded an assessment of "very good". "We are proud of this rating and will further expand on our concept of all-round advisory services", promises Mr. Ron van het Hof, executive director in charge of marketing and sales.
Contrary to the market trend, Gothaer Allgemeine Versicherung AG continues to grow
Gothaer's positioning as a reliable partner is also apparent in the development of its individual companies. For example, Gothaer Allgemeine Versicherung AG was, as the first of the Group's companies, already awarded an "A-" rating by Standard & Poor's in 2005. In contrast to the market trend in 2005, the Group's property and accident insurer managed to once again increase sales (the gross premiums written rose by 1.4 per cent to 1.395 billion euros). As the combined ratio remained at a favourable 91.5 per cent (90.9 per cent in 2004), the profit for the year rose by 11 million euros to a total of 67 million euros.
In the first half of the 2006 business year, the company has focused its efforts on campaigns for its accident insurance and multi-risk products. The company has succeeded in winning twice as many new customers for these products as it did in the same period of time last year.
Gothaer Lebensversicherung AG - More than 1 billion euros of risk capital
Gothaer Lebensversicherung continued its policy of increasing its reserves and assets and now has contingency reserves of approximately one billion euros. After the "sales boom" in 2004 caused by the abolition of the tax privilege for endowment insurance policies, new business dropped as it did throughout the market. The gross premiums written by Gothaer Lebensversicherung sank from 1.281 billion euros to 1.256 billion euros. Nonetheless, the company's gross surplus rose from 218 million euros to 292 million euros of which 257 million euros were allocated as surplus to the policyholders.
"After a phase of increasing our assets and profitability, we now plan to concentrate on achieving growth well in excess of that of the market", Dr. Helmut Hofmeier, chief executive officer of Gothaer Lebensversicherung, stated. To accomplish this, Gothaer Lebensversicherung will concentrate on retirement products in 2006; these products will meet the growing demand for flexible solutions which are adaptable enough to satisfy new personal circumstances. "The key to modern retirement provision, which nowadays necessitates private planning, is flexibility in regard to payments, disbursements and maturity", adds Dr. Hofmeier. A special feature of the current campaign product is that it also possible for the customer to insure himself or herself against unemployment.
Gothaer Krankenversicherung AG improves its rating
The health insurer's customers can be pleased that their premiums will remain unchanged for the third year in a row and that the company's balance sheet ratio is still above average for the market. With an increase of over 50 per cent, Gothaer Krankenversicherung's new business showed strong growth as the monthly premium income rose to approximately 2 million euros per month. The number of insured persons remained nearly constant at a good 450,000. Since the beginning of 2006, there has again been an increase in the number of members. After the premiums were lowered slightly at the beginning of 2005, the company's turnover also decreased slightly from 776 million to 746 million euros in 2005.
Recently, Gothaer Krankenversicherung had the "A" rating, which it was previously awarded, confirmed by Assekurata. The company even managed to further improve in the sub-criteria of security, customer orientation and premium stability. The good rating and the company?s above average balance sheet ratio have all contributed to the successful start of the company's activities in the area of corporate health management. "We consider group business, supplemented by services for health management in companies, to be a strongly growing business segment - as is the case with employee pension schemes. What's more we feel our 'MediGroup' product offers the optimum coverage", explained Dr. Herbert Schmitz, chief executive officer of Gothaer Krankenversicherung AG.
Asstel wins points with its cooperation strategy
With its Asstel brand, the Gothaer Group is also active in the direct insurance and employees' insurance segments. Like the rest of the market, Asstel Lebensversicherung (life insurance) suffered a substantial downturn in its turnover compared with sales in its 2004 "boom year" since gross premiums written amounted to 226 million euros (compared with 237 million euros in the previous year). However, the turnover from property insurance rose by over 50 per cent from 10.8 million euros to 16.7 million euros.
This growth was generated, in particular, by new strategic cooperations, which allowed Asstel to access attractive customer segments. Asstel offers all its insurance lines to Tchibo customers at especially favourable and consumer-friendly terms. As an example, a daily right of cancellation was included in the policies exclusively for this customer group. Asstel's Internet cooperations with Ebay and Amazon are aimed directly at its Internet-savvy, target customer groups. The company was once again awarded a prize for the best direct insurance website.
The new Group company, Janitos AG, is growing rapidly
Since the middle of 2005, Janitos AG has filled the role for the Gothaer Group of a special provider for property insurance solutions sold by brokers. Janitos is the former MLP Versicherung AG, which Gothaer took over in 2005 and then renamed. In spite of the necessary reorganisation phase, the Heidelberg-based company continued its growth and, without a pause, increased its turnover by 7.7 per cent to a total of 84.2 million euros. The company plans double-digit growth in the coming years. Janitos aims to be a service partner for larger brokerage firms, which need the optimum process support in property insurance for private customers.
Your ContactAlrun Griepenkerl
PR and Corporate Communication