Gothaer strengthens substance and scores digitization successes
- Consolidated net income for the year probably up 1.2% to 164 million
- Group equity likely to grow by 5.4% to €2,113 million
- Solvency ratios further improved
- Video and audio recordings of CEO for inclusion and downloading
Cologne, 12 December 2017 – At today's press event on the annual financial statements, Group CEO, Dr. Karsten Eichmann, presents sound figures:
"The year 2017 is probably again going to be a good one for the Gothaer Group. We are assuming slight growth in the gross premiums written at Group level to over €4.44 billion. A strong growth driver here is property/casualty insurance. The biggest risk carrier – Gothaer Allgemeine Versicherung AG – will probably show a plus of 5.9% in gross premiums written (pursuant to Germany's Commercial Code (HGB)). It is also very gratifying that, in 2017, we were again able to furnish proof of our financial clout in a challenging environment. In a period of persistently low interest rates, this is undoubtedly an issue that many insurance companies are facing. Standard & Poor's, but Fitch Ratings as well, have again confirmed our good ratings with stable outlook," says Eichmann.
It is the Group's broad-based structure and its good profitability that form the foundation of its success. The consolidated net income has probably risen by 1.2% to over €164 million, thus strengthening our equity-capital basis, meaning that the Group's equity is likely to grow by 5.4% to €2,113 million by the end of the year.
Solvency ratios further improved as per 30 September 2017
"Starting from good solvency ratios, we have seen a further upward movement as per the start of the year. The improvement in our own-funds situation was thanks not only to recovering interest rates, but also to stable solvency ratios in our core companies," said Eichmann. With a volatility adjustment and transition measures, the Group's solvency value stood at 243% at end-September.
Investment: Good investment results
In an historically low-interest environment, the Gothaer Group delivers good investment results overall: the Group's net return pursuant to IFRS will probably stand at 4.4% for the 2017 financial year. "In 2017, it was possible to further improve credit quality: the share of investments with an investment-grade rating, at 95.6%, was perceptibly increased (previous year: 94.7%). Crucial changes in investment in 2017, among interest and credit instruments, occurred in an increase in diversification among non-eurozone issuers – specifically, US Municipal Bonds, investments in Dutch mortgages and the reduction in Italian and Spanish government bonds," sums up Harald Epple, the Gothaer Group's CFO.
Gothaer Allgemeine: Re-alignment in commercial business successfully implemented
Gross premiums written by Gothaer Allgemeine Versicherung AG, at €1,822 million, are probably 5.9% above the 2016 level. One positive aspect is also the improved loss ratio despite heavy burdens from natural disasters. "The new cyber insurance for commercial customers with sales of more than €5 million took off really well. In January, we will also be offering it to customers with sales of less than €5 million," explains Dr. Christopher Lohmann, CEO at Gothaer Allgemeine Versicherung AG. The new product 'Gothaer GewerbeProtect' for commercial customers, which was rolled out in June 2017, has been launched very successfully and has already reached an annual net amount exceeding €3.3 million.
For private customers, there will be an accident insurance in 2018 with the new supplementary invalidity insurance module and, specifically for children, with supplementary child protection and supplementary child invalidity insurance. In addition, a new product extension is being added to home insurance and, as market innovation, an optional no-claims bonus system is now available. Another highlight in the new year: the pet/animal health insurance protection charter. With the Gothaer claims tracker, Gothaer Allgemeine Versicherung AG will be offering an interactive smartphone app starting in 2018.
Gothaer Leben: Market development under new conditions
Gross premiums written by Gothaer Lebensversicherung AG have probably fallen 4.5% to €1,142 million in 2017. The company is systematically focusing on the future-proof strategic business fields 'biometrics' and 'capital-efficient pension plans'. In 2017, it was possible to further expand the share of new business in these fields and to further lower the share of classic products. "With the successful launch of the new capital-efficient single-premium product 'Gothaer Index Protect' in autumn 2017, we were able to achieve a turnaround in new-business development, while also creating an important basis for further growth in the coming years. 2017 also saw the implementation of a string of digitization initiatives, eg the insurance file 'Blue Postbox' and self-services for our customers. For 2018, our aim is to back a moderate growth course based on our lead products and continuation along our digitization path," says Michael Kurtenbach, CEO at Gothaer Lebensversicherung AG.
Gothaer Kranken: Strong growth in company health insurance
Gross premiums written by Gothaer Krankenversicherung AG, at probably €831 million, will be 0.9% above the 2016 level. "To date, 2017 has been the most successful year for our company health insurance. We were able to win over renowned companies like Persona Service and CompuGroup Medical as customers," says a delighted Oliver Schoeller, CEO of Gothaer Krankenversicherung AG. The company also has good news on the subject of premium adjustments as per 1 January 2018: the very moderate premium adjustment, probably below the market average, in Gothaer Krankenversicherung's total portfolio, stands at 2.53%. For 2018, the scene has been set for more growth and expansion of our positioning to become a health service provider – coupled with significant expansion of digital offerings for intermediaries and customers.
Upshot 2017 and outlook 2018: Digitalization and strengthening the sense of community
"In 2017, we have done a lot to push forward in the field of digitization and have seen many promising pilots, but also achieved definite effects in concrete implementation already – for instance, the deployment of artificial intelligence in processing incoming mail or via neural networks that process claims in health insurance," says Eichmann. As a new working method, the company uses Design Sprint and, thanks to it, has developed a marketing-support tool for the single-premium product 'Life' in under 100 days. In addition, a new Health App will be launched, and the Claims App is being expanded.
"Another central subject for us in 2018 will be the community. For us, as an insurance association, this subject is part of our DNA inasmuch as the community, in the event of a claim, is there for the individual: that is at the core of our business model. Our impetus both internally and externally is to protect values in the community. We therefore want to focus more strongly on the idea of community in our communication, but above all in the customer experience as well," says Eichmann. Another aspect for the coming years is the trend towards increased cooperation between insurers. Today already, the Gothaer Group is working together on topics such as Rentenwerk, Eurapco and ARGE.
Video and radio recordings of CEO for downloading at www.gothaer/JAG2017
Video recordings of CEO for inclusion on the following subjects
Financial year: https://youtu.be/UDDVvV9FotM
Solvency ratios: https://youtu.be/0xXOVTtDhEA
Please find a recording of the press talk at www.youtube.de/mygothaer.
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Further corporate news
2016 financial year: Gothaer posts sound result and again strengthens equity base
- Rating agencies once more confirm good results
- Strategy project Gothaer 2020 showing first success
- Digitalization offensive in all business units
Cologne, 30 May 2017 – The Gothaer Group is submitting sound figures for the 2016 financial year: the consolidated annual surplus rose 17.4% to €162 million. Some of the surplus flowed into strengthening the equity base. The Group's equity grew 8.8% to reach €2.004 million at the end of 2016. Gross premiums written in 2016, at €4.411 billion, dipped (-2.3%) compared with the previous year owing to the launched consolidation process. “Our figures show that the Gothaer Group is also successful when the going gets tough, and that we have been taking the right measures with our digitalization offensive,” says Dr. Karsten Eichmann, Gothaer Group CEO.
Gothaer Allgemeine insurer completely realigns business for commercial customers with GewerbeProtect
Gross premiums written by Gothaer Allgemeine Versicherung AG, the Gothaer Group's casualty/property insurer, at € 1,723 million, were 1.2% above the 2015 level. The company showed sound growth with a clear success focus and was able to perceptibly improve its loss ratio. The new cyber insurance for existing customers took off well and is to be expanded to include mid-sized companies and the liberal professions.
“On 13 June, our new product GewerbeProtect starts for commercial customers, and we will be expanding this successively until autumn 2018,” reports Dr. Christopher Lohmann, Gothaer Allgemeine's new CEO. “The modular product, featuring more than two million combinations, offers companies insurance cover with high flexibility that can be digitally tailored to suit and may be taken out directly at the point of sale. Our new underlying IT system ensures short product-development cycles. Together with the new pricing model, these advantages will underpin an attractive market position for us,” Lohmann goes on.
Renewable energies business field goes on growing
Gothaer Allgemeine has been the leading insurer of wind-energy systems in Germany and other European countries for some years now and was able to expand this market position further in 2016: in the 2016 financial year, sales revenue in the wind energy business field rose 7.2%. Worldwide, Gothaer has insured some 17,000 wind-energy systems.
Gothaer Leben: Realignment of the business model systematically implemented
Gothaer Lebensversicherung AG's gross premiums written in 2016 amounted to €1,196 million, falling 5.9% due to the difficult market environment. It was possible to increase new business by 12.4% to €1,697 million. “One very successful event was the launch of our new old-age products Gothaer ZukunftsVorsorge in July 2016: the new-business share stood at over 90%. This far exceeded our production target – just under one quarter of total entire old-age new-business production was accounted for by this new solution for old-age provision,” says Michael Kurtenbach, Gothaer Lebensversicherung AG's and Gothaer Krankenversicherung AG's CEO. “In addition, we are working hard on realigning our business model, and this effort is progressing on track. For 2017, our aim is to expand collective business in stand-alone occupational disability insurance. We want to achieve this, among other ways, by stepping up cross-selling activities with company health insurance,” Kurtenbach adds, commenting on the 2017 product novelties. Planning also calls for rolling out a new, capital-efficient single-premium product in autumn 2017.
Gothaer Kranken: Strong growth in company health insurance
Gothaer Krankenversicherung AG's gross premiums written, at €824 million (-0.6%), remain largely stable. In the Health Insurance segment, too, new-business developments are gratifying: new business – measured in million Euros of monthly premiums – rose 7.7% to €1.30 million. The year 2016 overall was thus very successful for Gothaer Krankenversicherung. New business – in comprehensive insurance as well – was on the up, and the company again managed to expand the number of customers with supplementary insurance above the market average. Company health insurance made a successful contribution here. In April 2017, new in-patient tariffs were launched. At the same time, it has also been possible in 2017 to acquire, together with MediExpert, further major customers in company health insurance and company health management. “We see ourselves in future as a modern health insurer with high earning power and a strong role in supplementary insurance,” is how Kurtenbach sums up the focuses for 2017 and the years to come.
Fitch Ratings and S&P confirm good assessments
The international agency Fitch Ratings on 20 January 2017 again confirmed the results for Gothaer Allgemeine Versicherung AG and Gothaer Lebensversicherung AG. The companies still earn an 'A', and the outlook for the ratings is “stable”. The confirmed results, according to Fitch Ratings, reflect the strong and resilient capitalization as well as the Gothaer Group's good market position. Besides the Group's broad base, Fitch acknowledged its strong capitalization as a supporting factor for its good and unvarying rating.
“We're working hard to manage our Group along a value-driven and sustainable course even in what has, for a long time now, been an extremely challenging environment. That we are doing a very good job is shown by the renewed confirmation of our rating results by Fitch Ratings,” says Eichmann, commenting the current results.
Investment: in a historic low-interest environment, good investment results overall
In a historic low-interest environment, the Gothaer Group can report good investment results overall: the result earned from investments rose 32.8% to €1,612 million. “The main changes in our investments in 2016 were an expansion of diversification in non-eurozone issuers – specifically US municipal bonds – as well as investment in Dutch mortgage loans,” sums up Harald Epple, Gothaer's CFO. As regards strategic asset allocation in 2017 and duration control, planning calls for a slight dismantling of credit instruments, a moderate lengthening of interest duration and a rise in the property share.
The Gothaer Group on the German insurance market is well ahead in investment in renewable energies relative to available investment volume. In April 2017, the Group spent €718 million on renewables. By the end of 2017, a total of one billion Euros is set to be invested in renewable energies.
Outlook for 2017: digitalization offensive in full swing
“With our Gothaer 2020 strategy, we are porting the business model of insurance into the future and are adjusting operations in the Gothaer Group to meet the changing requirements and expectations of our customers. For instance, in 2017, among other things, we are working on the build-up of data management under the heading "digitalization" and on developing digital business models, as well as the implementation of our start-up strategy and the launch of new speedboats,” explains Eichmann. One specific measure is our foundation membership of InsurLab Germany – a hub for the subject of InsurTech for start-ups, companies and investors in the insurance sector in Cologne. “We are hoping for access to the start-up scene and further cooperation opportunities. Another measure involves improving claims processing in the health area by deploying artificial intelligence. In this way, we will further enhance customer satisfaction by having shortened processing times,” says Eichmann.
A live stream of the press talk is available at www.gothaer-live.de.
Presse und Unternehmenskommunikation
2016 financial year: Gothaer strengthens substance and holds good rating results
- Consolidated profit for the year likely up 4.5% to €140 million
- Group equity grows 10.0% to €2,021 million
- Competence leadership in health management: Gothaer wins Corporate
Cologne, 13 December 2016 – At today's press meeting on the annual financial statements, Group CEO Dr. Karsten Eichmann is able to present some sound figures: The consolidated profit for the year will probably rise 4.5% to over €140 million. Some of the surplus is going into strengthening the equity base. Group equity grows 10.0% and is likely to be around €2,021 million by the end of the year. The result earned from capital investments will in all likelihood be up 13.4% to €1,375 million. Gross premiums written at Group level – after consolidation of the business model in line with the market – are down 3.0% to €4,380 million.
Rating agencies confirm good results
The international rating agency Standard & Poor's ("S&P" for short) on 10 November confirmed the good rating results for the core companies in the Gothaer Group. The companies are again given an 'A-' with a stable outlook. Analysts praised the strong competitive position of the Gothaer Group, underpinned by its well diversified product and sales portfolio. Also stressed as positive was the fact that the Group, in its value-driven corporate management, was actively working toward developing even more profitable products. "I am pleased that S&P Global Ratings, too, – after Fitch Ratings – has again confirmed our rating results, thus acknowledging our sound capital resources and Gothaer's strong market position with its broad-based diversification," says Eichmann. Here an overview of the results:
Investment: Good investment results
The Gothaer Group is posting good investment results overall in a historic low-interest environment: The Group's net return according to IFRS will probably be 4.8% for the 2016 financial year. In 2016, the duration of interest-based investments was further increased. At the same time, diversification was again extended to include new issuers. The share of investments with an investment-grade rating was upped to 95.7%. Investments in renewable energies were expanded. "On the German insurance market, the Gothaer Group occupies a leading position when it comes to investing in renewable energies – relative to the available investment volume. We have almost reached our target of investing a total of one billion Euros in renewable energies by year's end 2016," sums up Harald Epple, CFO responsible for investments in the Gothaer Group.
Gothaer Allgemeine: Premiums rise, and cyber insurance launch in 2017
Gross premiums written by Gothaer Allgemeine Versicherung AG, at a likely €1,723 million, are 1.2% above the 2015 level. "In 2016, we commenced re-aligning our commercial business. Starting in January 2017, we will be expanding our portfolio for corporate customers by including cyber-insurance. Using various modules, this product can be tailored-to-suit," says Thomas Leicht, CEO at Gothaer Allgemeine, on the planned product launch. Gothaer's cyber-insurance, with its two obligatory modules 'liability' and 'first-party loss', covers the basic risks. These can be supplemented by the facultative modules 'business interruption', 'contractual penalty' – which takes care of credit-card firms' claims in the case of data leaks – and 'extended first-party loss'. Cooperating with selected service providers, Gothaer assumes the complete crisis management. The offering is currently targeting existing customers with sales revenue of at least €5 million.
Renewable energies go on growing
Gothaer Allgemeine has for many years been market leader as insurer of wind farms and was able to further expand this market position in 2016: As at end-October, the Renewable Energies business field posts premium growth of 6.0% in Germany and Europe compared with the previous year. Here, the foreign share is 40%. In France, Italy, Denmark, Greece, Austria and Sweden, double-digit growth rates were obtained.
Gothaer Leben: Realignment of business model systematically implemented
Gross premiums written by Gothaer Lebensversicherung AG will probably fall 7.6% to €1,175 million in 2016. The decline is largely due to single-premium business. Very gratifying developments, by contrast, were reported in new business, which – going by preliminary figures – will earn total premiums of approx. €1.6 million (+4.6%) by the end of the year. The company is focussing systematically on the future-proof, strategic business fields 'biometrics' and 'capital-efficient old-age provision'. In 2016, it was possible to further shape the composition of new business in the desired direction and again lower the new-business share in conventional classic products. "With the launch of Gothaer ZukunftsVorsorge (Provision for old age) products in mid-2016, we have crucially driven forward the re-alignment of the business model and have now expanded the new-business share in capital-efficient old-age provision to nearly 40%. A further third is accounted for by biometric products which, with risk gains, are making an important contribution to Gothaer Leben's sound income and substance situation," sums up Michael Kurtenbach, CEO at Gothaer Lebensversicherung AG and Gothaer Krankenversicherung AG.
Gothaer Kranken: Strong growth in company health insurance
At €821 million, gross premiums written by Gothaer Krankenversicherung AG will probably be 0.9% below the 2015 level. New business grows roughly 8% to €1.30 million in monthly premiums. "2016 has so far been the most successful year for our company health-insurance scheme. We were able to win over big-name customers like Boehringer Ingelheim, TÜV Rheinland and Lindt & Sprüngli," notes a happy Kurtenbach. "I still see great potential here. We've developed an electronic platform that is being used for digital buying syndicates and will further boost the proliferation of company health insurance." Further good news for the company comes from the premium adjustment as per 1 January 2017: The moderate average premium adjustment – well below the market average – in Gothaer Krankenversicherung's entire portfolio stands at 3.41%. A large share of this, however, is accounted for by compulsory long-term nursing-care insurance which, within the scope of Germany's second Act to Strengthen Long-term Care (PSG II), is given a definite boost to benefits.
Competence leadership in health management
The special jury of the Corporate Health Award every year honours companies for outstanding performance in company health management (BGM). On 18 November 2016, the BGM of Gothaer Versicherungen now won the Corporate Health Award for the 4th time. Gothaer again this year occupied the top slot in insurances. The jury praised the well thought-out concept involving low-threshold workplace-centric entry measures, follow-up measures and digital offerings that enable comprehensive reachability and inclusion of employees. The successful concept is being offered to external companies as well via Gothaer's subsidiary MediExpert: Its external customers include, eg, Koelnmesse GmbH, a trade-fair organizer, NEW AG, an energy utility, and Hans Turck GmbH Co. KG, an automation specialist.
Outlook 2017: Cooperation schemes, Group strategy and customer-focussed products
"For the coming years, we see a trend toward an increase in cooperation schemes between insurers. In 2016, Gothaer pointed the way along with three other private health insurers by setting up the joint venture LM+, or Leistungsmanagement (benefit management), in the area of health insurance. Another milestone is the cooperation started only recently with HUK in commercial business, explains Eichmann.
"In 2017, we will go on working full steam on implementing our 'Gothaer 2020' strategy with which we are porting our business model into the future and aligning the Gothaer Group to the changing requirements and expectations of our customers. The central components of this strategy are digitization coupled with our multi-channel strategy," Eichmann goes on to explain. "For instance, we are working on the digital integration of customers and partners and the revision of our product range, all the way to digitized offers."
Please find a repording of the press talk at www.youtube.de/mygothaer.
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