Achmea posts strong operational result of €585 million over 2021
- Higher result Non-Health activities due to autonomous growth in the Netherlands and abroad, positive development of the real estate and equity markets
- Result Health activities affected by the €392 million contribution of reserves to limit increases in premiums
- Market leadership in Health reinforced, market position in Non-Life and asset management strengthened; AuM increased to €247 billion
- Raised sustainability ambitions with focus on accelerated climate-neutral business operations, investments and products
- Solvency ratio robust and increased to 214%, even after provisioning for setting 2022 health premiums and recent share buyback
- Free Capital Generation increased to €740 million based on strong results and positive financial markets developments
Bianca Tetteroo, Chair of the Executive Board:
Achmea stands for Sustainable Living. Together.
We want to make a long-term contribution to an inclusive society in which we live alongside each other in harmony and good health without anyone feeling excluded. This starts with peaceful coexistence. It is almost impossible to imagine how drastic it is for people when that is at stake. But the surreal situation in Ukraine shows how little this can be taken for granted, and how vulnerable we are as a society and as human beings.
The situation in Ukraine is, of course, in stark contrast to developments in Dutch society. For the Netherlands, the past year was again dominated by Covid-19, which led to new issues in healthcare and increasing social polarisation. These trends cannot be viewed separately from the other major social challenges we face as a society. The impact of climate change, shortage of affordable housing and tight job market combined with continued pressure on healthcare: these affect people’s daily lives, sometimes radically. Many of our colleagues talk to customers every day and hear this at first hand.
It makes us constantly aware of the contribution that Achmea can and wants to make to a world in which we live together sustainably. We do this by insuring existing and new risks and focussing on prevention. By constantly developing innovative, sustainable solutions. And by joining forces with our customers, Vereniging Achmea, Rabobank and other strategic partners to solve major social challenges in the domains of health, living and working, mobility and income. In doing so we create sustainable value for our customers, employees, the company and society. In the Netherlands and abroad.
Considering our many millions of customers we have not just a right, but also an obligation to speak up. We do this through a continuous dialogue with the companies and sectors in which we invest on widely-accepted principles, such as human rights, labour standards and the climate. In 2021 we continued to call on the pharmaceutical industry to assume responsibility in the Covid-19 pandemic and make vaccines more widely available on a global scale. At the end of last year, we also made our position on a firework ban clear in a national campaign.
Sustainability ambitions raised
Making society more sustainable is also an important component of Achmea’s mission and we raised our ambitions in this respect in 2021. These ambitions are climate-neutral business operations by 2030, a climate-neutral investment portfolio by 2040 and climate neutral insurance portfolio no later than 2050. In the new Collective Labour Agreement we have included that all colleagues can use a one-off climate budget worth €2,500 net. An extra incentive to make their homes more sustainable. We are also encouraging our customers to live in a more climate-aware manner by offering energy-saving solutions such as green roofs and solar panels. By doing so we are providing valuable services to complement our insurance products.
Despite the energy transition, we will continue to experience more extreme weather phenomena in the future, such as the subsequent storms that hit the Netherlands in February 2022 and the floods in Limburg last summer. There, we were immediately on site to support our customers and take action to repair damages and provide compensation, so that our customers could get back to their lives as quickly as possible. The Maas River was also on the verge of breaking through. Fortunately, this did not happen. Flooding from large rivers is currently not covered in the Netherlands. We believe that all Dutch people should be able to be properly insured against the risk of flooding from the major rivers, the sea and the large inland waterways. As Achmea and through the Dutch Association of Insurers, we are looking together with the government for a suitable solution to this flood risk. It is important to look for a solidarity-based insurance solution, whereby the risk can be insured at a reasonable premium in areas with a relatively high risk of flooding.
Strong financial performance in 2021
In 2021 we realised a strong financial result with a growth in new customers, stable income and an increase in assets under management (AuM). The result on the Non-Health activities increased to €575 million (last year: €395 million) due to autonomous growth and higher investment income. We reinforced our market leadership in Health and strengthened our market position in Non-Life and Asset Management, with AuM growing further to €247 billion. Our Health activities generated a small positive total result of €10 million, despite the contribution of €392 million in reserves to limit increases in premiums. The number of health insurance policyholders grew by about 300,000 to 5.1 million in 2022. In our Non-Health activities Pension & Life in particular earned a sharply higher result, boosted by sound investment results. In Non Life the result remained stable and robust, despite the higher number of claims arising from natural disasters and provisions for personal injury claims from previous years owing to lower interest rates. At International the result increased in part due to robust growth in the number of customers, premium growth (14%) and an improvement in results in Greece and Slovakia. The result at Retirement Services was affected by the ongoing investments in digitisation, improved customer services, growth and efficiency while the number of customers and revenue continued to grow steadily. The Group’s solvency ratio increased to 214% and Free Capital Generation increased to €740 million partly driven by favourable financial market developments.
High customer satisfaction with increased Net Promoter Scores
An important foundation for us is the trust our customers have in our products and services and the high level of appreciation for our customer service. While we operated more hybrid and there was more digital customer service in 2021, the Net Promoter Scores of our biggest brands increased. For example, Centraal Beheer Schade's NPS rose from +23 to +28.
Strategy The Sum of Us aimed at growth
Our solid capital position creates capacity for us to continue investing in growth and customer service, accelerating our strategy The Sum of Us and helping solve social issues. Achmea focuses on growth and has sharpened financial goals for the coming years. To accomplish our goals we operate as one Achmea, with clear roles and responsibilities for all business units. We are strengthening the synergy within the company, optimising our balance sheet, continuing to invest in the development of our engaged employees, and achieving economies of scale in the areas of data and technology, innovative solutions and indirect costs. In addition to growth opportunities in Health and Non-Life, we see opportunity to grow in Retirement Services. We are preparing for the new Dutch pension agreement and support our institutional clients in the transition to the new pension system by providing both asset management solutions and pension services. In this way, we continuously improve the services to our millions of clients with new, innovative products and solutions. We are also expanding our international business with a focus on organic growth in direct distribution channels, targeted acquisitions, the roll-out of InShared in Germany, and growth in Agribusiness.
Sustainable employability employees important
2021 was a year in which Covid-19 still had a major impact on society. A year in which we still mainly served our customers from our 17,000 home offices. The involvement and dedication was no less, as was demonstrated by the high scores of our Employee Engagement Survey. I would like to thank all my colleagues warmly for this. Sustainable employability is very important to us at Achmea. This is reflected in our employment practices and in the employer promise that we have drawn up together with the Central Works Council. This pledge emphasizes the utilization of talents and employee development. The current trends in the labour market only underline the importance of this. It is very rewarding for people to be able to develop themselves throughout their lives. It contributes to individual job satisfaction, healthy businesses, and advancement in the labour market.
As Chair of the Executive Board, I am proud and grateful for being given the opportunity in April 2021 to succeed Willem van Duin. In the same period, Aad Veenman stepped down as Chair of the Supervisory Board and Mijntje Lückerath as member of the Supervisory Board. We welcomed Jan van den Berg as the new chair and Tjahny Bercx as a new member of the Supervisory Board. The Executive Board was strengthened in October last year by the appointment of Daphne de Kluis. As of 1 March this year Henk Timmer resigned from the Executive Board. I am happy that we recently could announce that as of 12 April Michiel Delfos will be appointed as member of the Executive Board and Chief Risk Officer. I would like to offer Willem, Aad, Mijntje and Henk my sincere thanks for their enormous contributions to the company that Achmea is today. It is a huge privilege to be able to head this wonderful company and to steer it in the role we envisage for ourselves. Our vision of Sustainable Living. Together will be our guide over the next few years. Anchored in our strategy, this is the driving force behind our goal of creating a sustainable and inclusive society. For today’s generation and all those still to come.