Vienna Insurance Group recorded very good business development in the first three quarters of 2014. Premiums were around EUR 7.0 billion, remaining at the level of the previous year in spite of significant negative exchange rate effects. When adjusted for these effects, premiums increased by 1.7 percent.
The solid performance by Group companies is shown by the major increase of 36.4% in profit (before taxes) to EUR 430.8 million. Net profit after minorities rose even more sharply by 50.7 percent to EUR 327.7 million and earnings per share even grew by 65.5 percent to EUR 3.26.
The good performance is also shown in the combined ratio development, falling 3.5 percentage points year-on-year to a very good 97.2 percent in the 3rd quarter of 2014. Vienna Insurance Group was able to achieve this major improvement in spite of the ongoing conservative reserving policy for Donau Versicherung's Italian business and the resulting negative effects this brings.
The Group financial result was EUR 844.1 million, and Vienna Insurance Group investments (including cash and cash equivalents) were around EUR 31.1 billion (as of 30 September 2014).
"25 years after entering Central and Eastern Europe, our Group companies there now generate around 57 percent of the profits of Vienna Insurance Group. I am convinced that this remarkable development will continue over the long term in this region." Peter Hagen, CEO Vienna Insurance Group
Strong results in CEE markets
Profit (before taxes) rose 9.5 percent in CEE markets, and even 14.2 percent when adjusted for exchange rate effects. In total, Group companies in the CEE region generated 56.7 percent, again more than half of the Group's profits. It was particularly gratifying that all of the markets in the region reported positive results (with the exception of Bosnia-Herzegovina, due to major natural disaster claims).
The Romanian market also showed a continuation of the cautious recovery achieved in previous quarters, reporting a profit (before taxes) of EUR 2.6 million.
The Austrian segment also recorded satisfactory performance with a jump in profits of 10.6 percent following extraordinary charges in the previous year.
Vienna Insurance Group follows a disciplined, earnings-oriented underwriting policy for property and casualty insurance. Among other things, this caused premiums from motor vehicle own-damage insurance to fall in Romania.
In the Austrian segment, the large drop in premiums in Donau's business in Italy was offset by good growth of Wiener Städtische in Austria.
Property and casualty premiums recorded double-digit growth in some CEE markets, such as Serbia (+14.9%), Albania (+35.6 percent), Macedonia (+32.6 percent) and Georgia (+21.9 percent).
After adjusting for exchange rate effects, the VIG Group companies in this segment generated an overall increase in premiums of 0.8 percent.
Growth in life insurance premiums
Premiums rose by 1.7 percent in the life insurance segment to EUR 3.2 billion. In Austria, Wiener Städtische recorded a major increase of 6.9 percent.
All three of the Czech Group companies recorded life business growth, achieving an overall increase of 2.7 percent in euros. Growth in the local currency was even higher, at 9.7 percent.
In Slovakia, Poisťovňa Slovenskej sporiteľne achieved an increase of 22.8 percent in bank distribution through the Erste Group subsidiary.
Poland also saw an increase of 21.5 percent in life insurance premiums (after adjusting for the intentional reduction in short-term single-premium business). The Polish Group companies recorded particularly strong growth of around 36 percent in premiums from regular premium business.
Compensa Life continued to grow in the Baltic States, recording an increase of 25.5 percent.
The CEE countries in the Remaining Markets region achieved an overall increase of about 20 percent in the life insurance segment.
VIG positioned well in terms of group structure
Vienna Insurance Group continuously monitors the structure and efficiency of its presence in individual markets. Merging the two life insurance companies Compensa and Benefia gave the Group a more focused market presence in the core market Poland. From now on, the products of the two companies will be offered under the Compensa Life brand. The Group was also given a more clearly defined market presence in Albania by the merger of Sigma and Interalbanian.
Expansion increases distribution potential
"The strategic acquisitions in our core markets Poland and Hungary open up additional distribution channels that will allow us to enhance customer relationships and further strengthen our position." Peter Hagen
The life insurance companies acquired in Poland and Hungary were successfully integrated into the Group in the first three quarters of financial year 2014. The Hungarian AXA Biztosító was renamed Vienna Life Biztosító during the process and is already off to a fast start with innovative products.
Skandia Poland's sales of profitable unit-linked insurance contributed to the large increase in life insurance premiums in Poland.
Official approval for acquisition of the Moldovan insurance company Donaris filled the final geographical gap in the region. Donaris is number 3 in the local insurance market with a strong focus on motor insurance. VIG is following its proven strategy of early market entry in this market and will develop further product lines in the future with Donaris.
"This award is a confirmation of our strategy of developing VIG as attractive employer into an employer of choice. We offer exciting employment opportunities throughout the CEE region for talented and committed people." Peter Hagen
Vienna Insurance Group received the silver seal of quality for the first time from Career's Best Recruiters in Austria. The organisers of the study rate around 500 Austrian companies each year based on recruiting presence, online job advertising, applicant handling and applicant feedback. The silver seal of quality underscores VIG's position as one of the top employers in the country.
VIG 2013 group annual report receives multiple awards
As a listed company, VIG consistently aims to provide transparent and comprehensive information to shareholders and investors. This is especially valid for the financial data to be released in the context of the Annual Report. Particularly pleasing is the award for the 2013 VIG Group Annual Report, presented by the Austrian business magazine “trend”.
Being ranked first in the "Economic Informativeness" category the jury honours the clear financial reporting of VIG as the best of all listed Austrian companies.
In the overall rating the VIG Group Annual Report received fifth place, making it the highest rated financial service provider in Austria.