In the first six months of the 2021 financial year, UNIQA Insurance Group AG (UNIQA) generated earnings before taxes of nearly €216 million. Premiums written rose by 17 per cent in the first half of 2021. This is predominantly due to the successful integration of the former AXA companies in CEE.
“Our Group’s underwriting result developed positively in the first half of 2021. Despite significant strains caused by hailstorms, storm damage and flooding ‒ particularly in Austria and the Czech Republic ‒ we improved the combined ratio to an encouraging figure of 92.6 per cent. 2021 marks the first year of implementing our ‘UNIQA 3.0 – Seeding the Future’ growth programme, and we are seeing pleasing development in our profitability, particularly in property and casualty insurance and in health insurance. The first six months of 2021 have been a successful milestone along the road as we work towards substantially improving the health and prosperity of our customers,” said Andreas Brandstetter, CEO of UNIQA Insurance Group AG.
There was a significant improvement in the investment result year-on-year as it rose from €215 million to €307 million. While write-downs on shares and fixed-income securities caused some heavy losses in the first half of 2020, in the first six months of 2021 UNIQA made gains from investments in shares and bonds in a strong capital market environment.
“Our cost programme in Austria is on target and the integration of the former AXA companies in CEE is showing great promise as well. This, together with the excellent results for the first half-year, prompted us to raise our outlook for the year as a whole as early as July. We are anticipating earnings before taxes of €330 million to €350 million for the 2021 financial year,” Brandstetter continued.
Under the ‘UNIQA 3.0 – Seeding the Future’ strategy programme, UNIQA has set itself ambitious growth targets for 2021 through to 2025. Average annual premium growth of 3 per cent, a reduction in the cost ratio to 25 per cent, a combined ratio of around 93 per cent on a sustained basis by 2025 and a return on equity that is consistently above 9 per cent form the basis of progressive dividend growth.
The programme is underpinned by an explicit customer focus and by maintaining high investments in digitalisation, IT and data. The first milestones have already been achieved with the successful integration of the AXA companies in CEE, a reduction in the cost ratio, the transformation of the corporate culture and the focus on innovations in disruptive business models.
Investment income increased by 42.8 per cent to €307.2 million in the first half of 2021 (January to June 2020: €215.1 million). While write-downs on shares and fixed-income securities pulled down investment income in the first half of 2020, in the first six months of 2021 UNIQA made gains from selling shares and fixed-income securities worth around €69 million in a strong capital market environment.
The UNIQA Group’s earnings before taxes went up accordingly by 289.1 per cent to €215.7 million (January to June 2020: €55.4 million).
Consolidated net profit (net profit for the period attributable to the shareholders of UNIQA Insurance Group AG) rose by 321.6 per cent to €170.7 million (January to June 2020: €40.5 million). Earnings per share were €0.56 (January to June 2020: €0.13).
The average number of employees at the UNIQA Group increased to 14,748 in the first six months of 2021 as a result of the first-time consolidation of the AXA CEE companies (January to June 2020: 12,777).