Achmea result €200 million despite January storms
- Higher result for Pension & Life due to higher investment returns and lower expenses
- Health result higher due to lower operating expenses and healthcare costs. Premiums for basic health insurance still below cost price
- Result for Non-Life lower due to January storms. Higher underlying result due to improvement measures
- International growth in digital channel; Achmea enters Canadian insurance market
- Solvency ratio robust and increased to 191%
Willem van Duin, Chairman of the Executive Board:
“Achmea is well on track to achieve its ambitions in the period up to 2020. In order to further improve our services to our customers we are investing in innovation and continue to evolve into a leading financial services provider, one which will remain relevant to its customers and to society in the future as well.
The results over the first half of this year were strongly affected by the claims arising from two severe storms that passed over the Netherlands in January. The storms caused a great deal of distress and damage to our customers, who we were able to provide with good assistance. The total claims resulting from these storms amounted to €116 million. Adjusted for these costs, our operational result increased over the first half of this year. Our result improved due to higher premiums, further cost reductions and higher investment returns. Our solvency ratio is robust and increased to 191%.
For our retail property & casualty insurance, we saw an increase in both the number of customers and the amount of premiums. This is partly due to new services and the good online customer service by Centraal Beheer, Interpolis and FBTO. These services are also highly rated by our customers. Illustrations of this are Centraal Beheer being awarded the title of most customer-friendly insurer and FBTO obtaining the highest score for the customer-oriented insurance quality seal. Thanks to a strategic partnership with Google, Centraal Beheer is the first Dutch insurer to be included in Google Assistant, which uses innovative speech technology in services for customers.
Premiums for basic health insurance are still offered below cost price. In spite of this, the result from our health insurance activities has increased due to a lower use of healthcare services than expected for both basic and supplementary health insurance and because we have succeeded in further reducing our operational expenses while maintaining the high standard of service. The integration of De Friesland Zorgverzekeraar and Zilveren Kruis is already leading to lower costs for our customers. All these measures are contributing to keeping healthcare expenditure at manageable levels in the Netherlands.
Our revised pension strategy further develops with the increase of new customers. The market highly appreciates the overall range of solutions offered by Centraal Beheer General Pension Fund (Centraal Beheer GPF). Internationally we are mainly growing through our services offered via digital channels. In Canada we are preparing the launch of an online insurance company via the Onlia brand, together with Fairfax. This further expands the innovative range of property & casualty insurance products, capitalizing on the InShared platform and Achmea’s experience in online direct distribution.
We continue to evolve from an insurer into an all-round financial services provider. Smart use of data and digitisation allows us to serve our customers in many different areas. Our services contribute to a healty, safe and future proof society. Zilveren Kruis, for example, conducted a campaign in the corporate market to promote a healthy organisational culture. With BlueLabel we launched the world’s first water vulnerability scan on the market. Interpolis' ThuisWacht helps keep people’s homes safe in their absence, and through Centraal Beheer GPF, pension scheme members are given full insight into their financial future. With the objective of reducing traffic accidents by 25% by 2020, Interpolis has intensified its campaign against the use of mobile phones while driving. Furthermore, through our investment policy we aim to contribute to a more sustainable society: Achmea ranks a good third place in the 2018 Ethical Insurance Guide and has the ambition to further improve the ranking.
Notwithstanding the sound progress made over the first half of this year, continued focus on realising our ambitions and further improving our result remains important. After all, insurance is inherently linked to dealing with uncertainties. One recent example being the widespread damage caused by the January storms. We are well prepared for such situations and will continue to implement our strategy towards 2020, which enables us to create sufficient future capacity to continue investing in improving our services to our customers. A continuous focus on cost reductions is a significant part of this. Our expectation is that the execution of our plans will lead to a further improvement in our result.”