Utrecht,
22
February
2017

Delivering on promises: a.s.r. reports successful 2016

 

Strong financial performance throughout 2016

  • Operating result at € 599 million, up 11.5%, driven by strong business performance and income from acquired businesses.
  • Combined ratio at 95.6%, ahead of targeted 97.0%.
  • Gross written premiums up 5.8%, rising to € 4,328 million, reflecting increases in both Non-life and Life segments. In particular, P&C gross written premiums rose 7.8% to € 1,083 million.
  • Operating expenses down to € 569 million from € 575 million last year, while absorbing the additional cost base of acquired businesses.
  • Net result up 6.3%, rising to € 659 million, primarily reflecting the increase in operating result.
  • Operating ROE at 14.1%, above the medium-term target of up to 12%.

Robust Solvency II ratio and strong balance sheet

  • Increase in Solvency II ratio[1] (standard formula and post-dividend) to 189% from 180%[2] at the beginning of 2016. Before proposed dividend, the Solvency II ratio was 194% at the end of 2016.
  • Organic capital creation of € 301 million, 9.0% of required capital, in line with guidance at IPO.
  • Holding cash position of € 354 million at year-end 2016 (target € 350 million).
  • Financial leverage at 25.2% (target <30%) and double leverage at 102.9%.

Proposed dividend of € 187 million exceeding guidance

  • Proposed full year 2016 dividend of € 187 million, up from € 170 million last year and exceeding the previous guidance of a discretionary dividend for 2016 of € 175 million.
  • Proposed cash dividend of € 1.27 per share, up 12% (2015: pro-forma € 1.13).[3]

Execution of strategy on track

  • a.s.r.’s performance in line with or better than financial targets.
  • Further increase in customer satisfaction led to a positive Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 4.6 at the end of 2016 from a minus 5.4 at the end of 2015.
  • Cost reduction initiatives on track to achieve medium term target of € 50 million.
  • Integration of funeral insurer AXENT (2.4 million policies) completed, well ahead of schedule.
  • Finalization of legal mergers of insurance entities into the single Non-life entity (excluding Health) and into the Life entity.
  • General pension fund ‘Het nederlandse pensioenfonds’ initiated by a.s.r., obtained its authorization and signed its first customers.
  • Acquisitions of SuperGarant and Corins (both in the Distribution and Services segment), announced in July, have been closed.
  • Acquisition of BNG asset management completed, adding third-party asset management capabilities and € 5 billion in assets under management.
  • SOS International and real estate development projects were divested.

Jos Baeten, CEO of a.s.r.: ‘Clearly, 2016 was a successful year for a.s.r. Our strategy of ‘value-over-volume’ delivered on its promises. a.s.r. reports a strong set of financial results. Our results are in line with or even better than our medium term targets. The group’s operating result was up 12% to almost € 600 million and this yielded an operating return of more than 14%, versus a target of up to 12%. Our efforts to enhance customers’ satisfaction are paying off. Customers continue to give us higher scores in customer satisfaction surveys and our Net Promoter Score has become positive. This is recognized in the AFM yearly report on financial institutions surveying their focus on customer interests. Key in achieving this has been our longstanding relationship with the intermediaries, which continuous to be our most important distribution channel.

In the Non-life segment, our underwriting expertise is reflected in our results, including the impact of hail and water damage claims we have been able to keep the combined ratio in the 95% range, better than the target of 97%. Market developments towards more rational pricing allowed us to both grow our top-line with an overall growth of 6% in P&C and Disability and to gradually enhance the quality of our portfolio by being prudent in the risks we underwrite.

The Life segment showed a strong increase in operating result which was driven by higher income from the realized gains reserve and from a higher contribution from acquired businesses as well as higher investment related result on swaptions. In our DC-pension business we have been able to double the sales. The integration of AXENT was well executed, ahead of time and on budget.

The various activities in non-insurance are performing in line with expectations. We have acquired SuperGarant and Corins and we expect them, together with the existing distribution entities of VKG and Dutch ID, to gain further traction next year. The acquisition of BNG asset management has been completed and showed success in winning an asset management mandate of € 1.7 billion. The operating result of a.s.r. Bank was lower than expected reflecting further strengthening of the organization.

Our organic capital creation of € 301 million was in line with guidance at IPO. Our solvency ratio is robust at 189%. This enables us to remain entrepreneurial, to pursue profitable growth and pay an attractive dividend to our shareholders.

Driven by the strong financial performance, we propose to pay in cash a dividend of € 187 million. This is exceeding the earlier guidance of a discretionary dividend of € 175 million for 2016 and significantly up from € 170 million last year. The proposed dividend is in line with the new dividend policy that became effective as of 1 January 2017.

Following the successful IPO last year, the Dutch State reduced its stake in a.s.r. to 50.1% this January. This placement was also well received by the market. a.s.r. participated in this transaction and acquired three million shares, the maximum amount our mandate allowed us to. At the upcoming AGM we will request a new and market consistent mandate to buy back our shares, that may provide us the flexibility to participate in future sell down by the State.

In 2016 we delivered the proof points that we are executing our strategy diligently and consistent with our equity story. We appreciate the recognition that, while balancing the interests of all our stakeholders, we are taking the right steps to enhance long-term shareholder value and we are grateful to the investment community for their continued trust and confidence in our company and strategy.

Our employees are the driving force that make our strategy of ‘value-over-volume’ a successful reality. On behalf of the Executive Board, I would like to thank all our employees right across the organization for their commitment and dedication in serving our customers and in helping a.s.r. to move forward.

Looking ahead, I believe that 2017 will be an exciting year and I am confident that, with our customer focus, underwriting expertise, financial discipline and robust solvency, we are well positioned to benefit from sound business opportunities in a challenging and competitive market. We are well on track towards achieving our medium-term targets.’

a.s.r. key figures (amounts in € million unless stated otherwise)

2016

2015

restated

Delta (%)

Operating result

599

537

11.5%

Operating return on equity

14.1%

14.4%

-0.3%-p

Net result

659

620

6.2%

Return on equity

17.0%

17.8%

-0.8%-p

Gross written premiums

4,328

4,092

5.8%

Operating expenses

-569

-575

-1.0%

Combined ratio, Non-life

95.6%

95.0%

0.6%-p

New business, Life (APE)

152

92

65.2%

 

 

 

 

 

31 Dec. 2016

31 Dec. 2015

restated

Delta (%)

Total equity

4,471

4,259

5.0%

Total equity attributable to shareholders

3,780

3,574

5.8%

Solvency II (standard formula – post- (proposed) dividend)

189%

(day-one)180%

9.0%-p

Financial leverage

25.2%

25.1%

0.1%-p

Holding cash position (ring-fenced)

354

201

76.1%

Number of FTEs (internal)

3,461

3,650

-5.2%

 

 

 

 

 

2016

2015 restated

Delta (%)

Operating result per share (€)

2.77

2.46

12.6%

Dividend per share (€)

1.27

1.13

12.4%

Basic earnings per share (on IFRS basis) (€)

4.17

3.91

6.6%

Notes

  • The financial information for 2015 has been restated due to retrospective adjustments to the provisions related to the acquisitions (one year window) and immaterial adjustments related to the accounting for a.s.r.’s employee benefits.
  • The operating result represents profit or loss before tax adjusted for (i) investment income of an incidental nature (including realized capital gains, impairment losses and realized and unrealized changes in value) and (ii) incidental items not relating to ordinary activities, e.g. as a result of changes in accounting policies, consulting fees for acquisitions, restructuring expenses, start-up costs and shareholder-related expenses.
  • The operating ROE is calculated by dividing the operating result before tax less interest on hybrid capital and taxes (tax rate: 25%) by the annual average of equity attributable to shareholders less the reserve for unrealized gains and losses and equity for real estate development (discontinued operations).
  • Operating result per share and basic earnings per share are based on 150 million issued and outstanding ordinary shares. Dividend per share 2016 is based on 147 million shares.

[1] The Solvency II (standard formula) ratios reported at day-one 2016 and 2016 are post-dividend (resp. € 170 million and proposed € 187 million). The ratios are presented excluding a.s.r. Bank.

[2] The eligible own funds (at day-one) stood at € 6,076 million and the required capital at € 3,374 million. The reported year-end 2015 midpoint estimate was 185%.

[3] Proposed dividend per share of € 1.27 based on 147 million shares. Dividend 2015 of € 1.13 based on 150 million shares (pro-forma).

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photo:Daan  Wentholt
Daan Wentholt
Press Officer
+31 (0)6 53 35 41 56
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