Customers benefit from solid financial basis
Annual results 2012
Net profit over 2012 € 255 million. Dividend € 88 million.
The stable profit development and strong solvency position underline how important providing security for customers is to a.s.r. The aim of a.s.r. is to play a useful role in society, by helping consumers and businesses. In the contracting Dutch insurance market a.s.r. focuses on efficiency in business operations. This caused a 6% drop in operating expenses, amongst others.
Customer interests key in new positioning and new products
• a.s.r.’s new positioning underlines the focus on efficient operations and is aimed towards supporting others and being useful to society. Helping by doing, without waste;
• Changing customer needs were successfully responded to with the introduction of the ‘lijfrente opbouwrekening’ (annuity savings account), the renewed savings-linked mortgage and Ditzo’s health insurance;
• The compensation process for customers with an individual unit-linked policy is fully completed. 900,000 customers have been informed about their compensation. At year-end 2012 this process concerned € 894 million.
Net result rises by 20% to € 255 million (2011: € 212 million)
• a.s.r. pays out € 88 million dividend;
• The Non-life segment is influenced by difficult economic conditions. The profitability of the non-life business decreased to € 59 million (2011: € 145 million). The combined ratio stayed below 100% at 99.2%;
• The net result in the Life segment increased to € 275 million (2011: € 135 million), primarily due to higher investment results and lower costs due to the completion of the compensation process;
• The net result in the Other segment decreased by € 11 million compared to 2011, to € -79 million. This result is influenced by a one-off release of a tax provision and the recognition of a provision for real estate development, amongst others.
Solvency remains strong at 293%
• Starting 30 June 2012, the Ultimate Forward Rate (UFR) must be used to calculate DNB solvency. Based on the UFR, the DNB solvency at year-end 2012 is 293%;
• On a comparable basis, the DNB solvency (excluding UFR) stayed virtually the same at 231% (2011: 230%) due to sound risk management, amongst others.
Gross insurance premiums decreased by 3%, from € 4.4 billion to € 4.3 billion; growth in Non-life, contraction in Life
• Gross insurance premiums in the Non-life segment rose by 6% to € 2,487 million primarily due to Ditzo’s success;
• Gross insurance premiums in the Life segment decreased by 13% to € 1,891 million. In a contracting Life market, a.s.r. opts for return over premium, particularly for single premiums.
Continued focus on efficiency resulted in a 6% decline in operating expenses
• The operating expenses decreased by 6% to € 585 million (2011: € 621 million) due to the continual attention for cost-savings opportunities. Including a one-time € 30 million provision for restructuring expenses, the operating expenses amounted to € 615 million;
• The cost-premium ratio for the insurance business in 2012 ended up being 10.2%;
• The number of FTEs deceased by 4% to 4,088.
Jos Baeten, CEO: ‘We are a solid insurance company that independently perseveres as one of the largest insurers in the Netherlands. We consider helping people to be to the core of insuring. That forms the basis of our mentality and positioning. A modest role suits in this respect, which is part of our purpose in society.
The direction that we initiated with a.s.r. in 2008, shows positive results in 2012 as well. Under continually difficult financial-economic conditions, we concluded the year for the fourth time in a row with a solid net result, a sound solvency and structurally lower expenses. We paid a dividend in 2012. We intend to do the same this year.
Market conditions continue to be tough. This is precisely why we are satisfied with, for example, the success of Ditzo’s health insurance. After its highly successful introduction in 2011, the health insurance portfolio grew again in 2012. In the Occupational Disability insurance market, a.s.r. retained its position as market leader in 2012 with the De Amersfoortse brand.
However, we are not satisfied with the increased claims expenses in the non-life business. Therefore in 2013, measures to control operating and claims expenses will be taken, as an extension of the actions taken in 2012.
Barely any traditional life insurance products are being sold in the asset accrual market. What we are seeing instead, is that more and more customers are choosing for our ‘lijfrente opbouwrekening’ and our new ‘WelThuis hypotheek’ (mortgage), combined with term life insurance.
There is still a lack of confidence in the financial sector. Recent developments did not increase confidence in financial service providers. By being efficient in our operations, we want to show that we take the call for change seriously. For example, we choose to standardize our products, and are continuously diligent for ways to further structurally reduce our expenses, while at the same time improving our services and increasing our efficiency. Sustainably renovated of our offices in Utrecht allows us to reduce the number of offices and therefore permanently reduce our housing costs.
Our efforts most certainly produced results in 2012. For example, our products are appreciated by customers and on price comparison websites. The fact that Standard & Poor’s adjusted the outlook on our ratings from negative to stable is another sign for us that we are on the right track with our operations.
We are not there yet, but we are determined to succeed in our aim of becoming a useful and socially desirable insurer. An insurer that fits in today’s world and the continuously changing market conditions.’