The FINANCIAL -- Vienna Insurance Group’s (VIG) upward trend since the beginning of 2016 has been continued in the results for the first three quarters of 2017.
“Our commitment should be seen as being a stable reliable partner, as proved in these figures. In spite of the impact of natural disasters, we expect further positive performance in the fourth quarter, similar to the performance so far in 2017. Therefore, based on the situation today, we expect to significantly increase the good result previously achieved in 2016”, explained Elisabeth Stadler, CEO of Vienna Insurance Group. Due to outstanding claims, it is still unclear how large the impact from storm “Herwart” at the end of October will be on the results. “We expect gross claims in the magnitude of EUR 40 to 45 million. The storm mainly affected our companies in the Czech Republic, Austria and Poland”, outlined Elisabeth Stadler.
Gross written premiums rose by 2.7 percent in the first three quarters of 2017 to EUR 7,153 million. All lines of business achieved satisfactory growth, except for single-premium life insurance, where VIG intentionally continues to follow a cautious underwriting policy. Premiums rose by 5.6 percent when adjusted for life single-premium business. The increase was primarily due to the motor and other property and casualty lines of business, being predominantly contributed by Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Croatia and Serbia. Poland, Slovakia and Romania also reported increases in life insurance. In health insurance, which is a major focus of the “Agenda 2020”, the increase in premiums was primarily due to Austria, the Baltic States and Georgia.
Profit (before taxes) rose to EUR 331 million in the first three quarters of 2017. The CEE markets contributed more than 60 percent of the total. The year-on-year increase of around 10 percent was mainly due to an improvement in the combined ratio and good development of the financial result. The increase in earnings power in the property and casualty line of business has offset the impact of the low interest rate environment.
Significant year-on-year profit increases were recorded in Poland, Hungary and – in the Remaining CEE segment – primarily in Serbia. The rise in profit in Poland and Hungary were due to significant improvements in motor third party liability and in Romania due to motor own damage insurance and the long-term measures taken to increase profitability, according to Vienna Insurance Group.
Combined ratio improves
VIG had a combined ratio of 97.3 percent in the first to third quarters of 2017 (2016: 97.9 percent). Both the claims ratio and expense ratio improved year-on-year. Austria, Poland, Serbia and the Baltic States have primarily contributed to the reduction in the overall combined ratio, which was mainly due to increased profitability in the motor line of business.
Solvency ratio stable, financial result increases
The solvency ratio at the level of the listed VIG Group was 224.8 percent as of 30 September 2017, thereby reconfirming the outstanding ratio achieved in the first half of 2017 (224.5 percent). The financial result of EUR 732 million for the first three quarters of 2017 represents a year-on-year increase of 4.1 percent. The increase was the result of a rise in current income due to full consolidation of the non-profit housing societies and higher realised profits from the disposal of shares. Group investments including cash and cash equivalents rose to EUR 37.2 billion as of 30 September 2017 due to an increase in investing activities (31 December 2016: EUR 36.2 billion).