Utrecht,
20
August
2014
|
00:00
Europe/Amsterdam

Improved results driven by sustainable strategy

Interim results 2014

Summary

The strategy of meeting customers’ needs is bearing fruit. a.s.r. looks back on an excellent first half of 2014 and is right on schedule for the upcoming privatization. Net result rose to € 161 million, predominantly due to an improvement in underwriting result. Operating expenses decreased by 3%. In the Non-Life segment, the combined ratio improved to 93.7%. Net result of the Life segment remained more or less stable. DNB solvency ratio was up 16%-point on year-end 2013, rising to 284%.

a.s.r. invests in product innovation and sustainable business practices

  • One example of a successful product innovation is the updated Voordeelpakket (package of non-life insurance policies). Both intermediaries and customers increasingly benefit from this policy.
  • With non-life insurance policies for businesses, a.s.r. works closely with intermediaries in prevention and managing claims, to be able to offer attractive premiums to customers.
  • In the occupational disability business, a.s.r. focuses on prevention and reintegration efforts, which is helpful for both employers and employees. Employees return to work faster and claims are managed better, which ultimately benefits the customer, for instance by offering more attractive premiums.
  • The Werknemers Pensioen (Employee Pension) was successfully launched late last year. The main features of this product are simplicity with low costs, fully online and offering employees freedom of choice.
  • The WelThuis Hypotheek (mortgage) has been modified so that the interest paid by customers decreases as they redeem their mortgage.
  • The Ditzo ‘Kijk kanker de wereld uit’ (Fighting Cancer) campaign met broad acclaim and has received various awards (Esprix Awards, Online Video Award 2014 and SAN Accent).
  • Doorgaan.nl, De Amersfoortse's crowd funding platform for business owners, was a success from the start. Several young entrepreneurs have received help with funding their business activities.
  • The Dutch Consumers’ Association has named a.s.r. the best complaints-handling organization of all banks and insurance companies.
  • The Eerlijke Verzekeringswijzer (Fair Insurance Guide) ranks a.s.r. as the most sustainable investor among insurers.
  • The renovation of the a.s.r.’s head office is in full swing. The first wing has been completed. This is an important step towards a cost-efficient office that meets the strictest sustainability requirements.

Increase in net result to € 161 million

  • Net result for the first half of 2014 increased by 46% on H1 2013, rising from € 110 million to € 161 million. When adjusted for the additional WGA-ER (Return to work of the partially disabled – own risk) expense of € 39 million, which affected the 2013 net result, the increase amounted to 8%.
  • In the Non-Life segment, net result strongly increased to € 90 million (H1 2013: € 6 million; excluding the additional WGA-ER expense: € 45 million). The strong improvement in the combined ratio in this business to 93.7% is mainly attributable to better claims prevention and handling, and lower costs. Overall, the combined ratios of a.s.r.'s various non-life businesses were well below 100%.
  • At € 164 million, net result of the Life segment was more or less the same (H1 2013: € 165 million).
  • In the Other segment, net results declined from € -61 million in H1 2013 to € -93 million due, in part, to preparations for the privatization, a number of provisions and investments in new initiatives.

Operating expenses again decreased; down 3% to € 267 million

  • Operating expenses fell to € 267 million in H1 2014 (H1 2013: € 276 million), partly due to a 5% decrease in the number of internal FTEs from 3,812 at 30 June 2013 to 3,630 at 30 June 2014.

DNB solvency remains strong at 284% (year-end 2013: 268%)

  • In H1 2014, DNB solvency ratio rose by 16%-point, reaching 284%, predominantly due to developments in the yield curve.

Premium income stable in Non-Life segment; premium income in Life segment down in line with market

  • At € 1,415 million, premium income in the Non-Life segment was more or less stable (H1 2013: € 1,410 million), which is partially the result of growth in the occupational disability and health insurance businesses.
  • Premium income in the Life segment decreased by 10% to € 916 million (H1 2013: € 1,013 million), in line with market developments and the choice of value creation over volume. Income from single premiums (€ 131 million) and regular premiums (€ 785 million) fell at more or less the same rate.

Jos Baeten, CEO of a.s.r.: ‘The interests of customers comes first to a.s.r. That’s why I am pleased with what we have achieved over the past six months with regards to our initiatives for customers and businesses, the launch of new and simple products, and our efforts to help business owners. Our updated Voordeelpakket is clearly meeting a need in the non-life market aimed at consumers. The same goes for our new Werknemers Pensioen (Employee Pension), which is enjoying increasing interest from businesses. The first seven projects by start-ups, that together with De Amersfoortse went looking for co-investors, proved to be a success as well. Via the crowd funding website doorgaan.nl, these start-ups received a lot of positive response. That we are at the heart of society is best illustrated by our socially responsible investment policy. This is what earns us recognition in independent surveys and pushes us into the top three of several rankings.

And while we are serving our customers as best as we possibly can, we are continuing our preparations for our privatization. Our financial performance in the first half year of 2014 gives us confidence in a successful return to the private market. Our net results and profitability improved compared to the first half of 2013, our costs were further reduced and our DNB solvency ratio continues to be robust. We also see investments in claims prevention and handling bearing fruit in the form of a strongly improved result of our non-life business, combined with a considerable improvement in the combined ratio.

In the context of the opportunity offered to us by the Ministry of Finance and the Dutch Parliament, we are seriously exploring a merger with SNS REAAL's insurance business. First and foremost, our focus is on finding potential investors, as minority shareholders in a.s.r., to fund such an acquisition. When exploring our options, we make a very careful assessment of the interests of our current and future customers. The outcome of our assessment will be one of the factors in deciding whether or not we will submit a bid. But we don’t want to bid at any cost. Since even in its current form, a.s.r. is strong enough for an independent private future.’

a.s.r. key figures (€ million)

H1 2014

H1 2013

Net result

161

110 1

Return on equity

12.3% 2

8.8%

Gross written premiums

2,250

2,345

Operating expenses

-267

-276

Provision for restructuring expenses

-15

-6

Combined ratio, Non-Life

93.7%

104.0% 3

New insurance policies sold, Life (APE)

28

19

 

 

 

 

30 June 2014

31 December 2013

Total equity (including revaluation of real estate)

3,482 4

3,799

DNB solvency ratio

284%

268%

Total number of internal FTEs

3,630

3,789

1 Including the additional WGA-ER expense of € 39 million.

2 The increase in return on equity is explained by the sharp increase in net result and the decrease in IFRS-based equity.

3 The combined ratio for H1 2013 was 99.3%, if adjusted for the additional WGA-ER expense.

4 The decrease in IFRS-based equity is mainly explained by the dividend distribution to shareholders and the valuation of the company pension liability in accordance with IAS 19.

Notes to a.s.r. key figures

  • Net result represents the profit attributable to holders of equity instruments.
  • Return on equity is calculated as net result attributable to shareholders divided by the average total IFRS-based equity attributable to shareholders.

The unrealized revaluation of real estate included in total equity amounted to € 782 million at 30 June 2014 and to € 784 million at 31 December 2013.