Operational result increases to €363 million
Well on the way to realising our strategy ‘The Sum of Us’
- Strong growth in result, supported by:
- Increased operational result and premium growth Non-Life, driven by strong brands, increased number of customers and high customer ratings; combined ratio 95.8%.
- Higher result Pension & Life due to higher investment income and further reduction in operational expenses.
- Higher result Health due to lower expenses for elective care and additional Covid-19- related government contributions from the statutory catastrophe scheme.
- New asset management and pension administration mandates; AuM €225 billion.
- Further premium growth International; distribution power in Slovakia strengthened with completion of acquisition Poštová poisťovňa.
- Robust solvency ratio of 211% and sound liquidity position.
- First estimates of water damage in Limburg are up to €50 million and are part of the result for the second half of 2021.
Bianca Tetteroo, Chair of the Executive Board:
“As the new CEO I present the results for the first time. We are well on the way with the realisation of the strategy ‘The Sum of Us’. The operational result increased to €363 million compared to €127 million in the first half year of 2020. A good start, but uncertainties remain in the second half of the year.
The increase in the result in the Netherlands was primarily driven by the results at Pension & Life, Health and Non-Life. The improved result at Pension & Life is mainly thanks to higher investment results due to the positive developments on the financial markets. Lower medical expenses and the additional Covid-19-related government contribution from the statutory catastrophe scheme largely account for the higher result on our health business. In line with the past few years, the positive result at health will be added to the reserves and used to control future premium increases and further improve the quality of healthcare in the future. The impact of setting the health insurance premiums for 2022 will be included in the second half of this year. The operational result at Non-Life increased in the first six months of 2021. The combined ratio climbed to 95.8% due to a higher cost of claims caused by snowstorm Darcy and additional provisions for personal injury claims from previous years. These developments are offset by higher investment results. The solvency ratio of the Group increased to 211%, making us a solid party for customers and partners.
The past few months were long dominated by a sense of a return to ‘normal’. Towards the end of the first half year however, uncertainty about Covid-19 again reared its head for many people as a result of the growing number of new cases. Despite this recent development in the number of infections, the number of Covid-19-related hospital admissions is currently under control, meaning there is again greater capacity for regular and catch-up care. We are actively involved in accelerating this catch-up care, for example via waiting list mediation. In the Non-Life market in the Netherlands as well we see the effects of a movement back to normal traffic volumes, while abroad there are important differences between the countries in which we are active.
In addition to the impact of Covid-19, we also noted an increase in weather-related claims in the past six months, including the snowstorms earlier this year and the floods in Limburg and elsewhere in the Netherlands in mid-July. We were immediately on the spot to assist our customers and take action to resolve the damage with the aim for our customers to resume their everyday lives as soon as possible. We were even able to help those customers who were not covered for their damage by offering them support. Settling claims arising from flood damage will take quite some time. This means that the exact impact of the floods on our results will only be fully known in the second half of this year.
Via our strategy ‘The Sum of Us’ we are putting the combined strength of our Group to use. We do this through more intensive collaboration between business lines and with our partners. This enables us to employ for example economies of scale and to consolidate knowledge within the Group. We further expand our leading position in mobile and online services via the application of chatbots, speak-to-text and open platform technology. This is applied in all brands through which we use our benefits of scale. Our customers are already profiting from this and we can see this reflected in our high customer ratings and growth in premium volume. Moreover, joining forces is leading to new innovations, insights and answers to a wide variety of social problems. A great example of this joining forces is the collective call from Zilveren Kruis and SAREF for ‘A healthy home for all senior citizens’, which aims for half a million new homes that can be used through the life cycle.
Despite the lower prices of fixed-income securities due to the increase in interest rates, the assets under management at Retirement Services remained stable, with underlying growth in terms of customers in both asset management and pension administration. Non- Life and International also saw premium growth thanks to strong brands, distribution and high customer ratings. Being ranked first as an insurer with the best reputation in the Management Team Top 500 is important to expanding our partnerships but also to us as an employer. Along with the fact that we are also seen as a progressive employer, this means we are successful at attracting and retaining talented employees.
We have prioritised three United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), ‘good health and well-being’, ‘sustainable cities and communities’ and ‘climate action’. These form a material component of our products and services with a view to helping our customers protect themselves against climate change. We are on course to make our own business operations carbon neutral by 2030. By using solar panels and geothermal heat, we are reducing the carbon footprint of our offices. The Achmea Innovation Fund assists sustainable companies in their growth paths. For instance, we recently acquired a stake in Onto, one of Europe’s biggest platforms for sharing electric vehicles, and in Landlife, a tech-driven reforestation company that uses a scalable method to plant trees. Sustainability is also increasingly leading in our investment policy. We are reducing our participations in polluting industries and via engaged shareholdership make our voice heard at shareholder meetings. In asset management we have a distinctive profile because of our focus on sustainability.
From our cooperative DNA, Achmea continues to focus on the ambition to create sustainable value for clients and therefore also for society. Based on our long term focus we continue to invest undiminished in the sustainable development of our company. The past year we again took important steps with our strategy. I have a lot of confidence in this movement and in our employees who are still communicating with our customers while largely working from home and implement large projects.”