The Austrian Generali Group in 2010

An Excellent Result combined with Profitable Growth

Vienna, 11 April 2011 – The Austrian Generali Group—Austria’s third-largest insurer with a market share of 14.7 per cent—posted an outstanding result and much stronger premium growth than the insurance industry as a whole in 2010.  As General Austria CEO Luciano Cirinà stressed during the press conference to present the annual financial statements in Vienna, “We are very happy with our group’s development in 2010.  All our performance ratios were good.  Neither the weak economy and falling savings rates that hit the life insurance segment nor the continuing drop in average premiums in the motor insurance segment as many car owners switched to less powerful and cheaper cars nor persistently stiff competition were able to slow our progress.”  All three insurance companies in the Austrian Generali Group and all three major lines of business—property/casualty, health and life insurance—showed growth.

 The Austrian Generali Group made a profit from ordinary activities of €133.3 million in 2010.  This was 17.9 per cent more than in 2009.  As Cirinà said, “Above all, the continuation of our risk-aware underwriting policy, the further cost savings caused by putting Generali Versicherung’s new structure into place and the group’s strong investment result made important contributions to this success.”  The group’s net investment income came to €527.1 million, which was 5.7 per cent up on the previous year.  Its consolidated investments grew by 1.1 per cent to €10,368.1 million.                                         

The Austrian Generali Group’s premium income from primary insurance (without premium from assumed reinsurance business) grew by 2.5 per cent to €2,478.9 million.  According to the Versicherungsverband (VVO: the Austrian insurance association), the market as a whole grew by 2.0 per cent.  Despite stiff competition, the group’s premium income from property/casualty insurance grew by 0.7 per cent to total €1,322.5 million.  Premium income in the health insurance segment grew by 3.7 per cent to €221.6 million.

The group’s premium income in the life insurance segment grew by twice as much as the market as a whole, namely by 4.9 per cent to €934.8 million.  This growth was driven by classical life insurance lines.  Austrians invested a total of €644.8 million in their classical life insurance policies with the Generali Group in the course of 2010, or 14.4 per cent more than in 2009.  As Cirinà said, commenting on this growth, “Life insurance is always being criticized for political reasons.  However, these numbers show the trust that people have in this way of providing for old age, which can be used to close the present gap between active incomes and state pensions.  No way of providing for the future is safer, more flexible or more versatile than life insurance.”

Following a small drop in gross premium income in 2009, Generali Versicherung AG achieved growth again in 2010.  Its gross premium income from primary insurance increased by 0.3 per cent to €2,152.5 million.

Premium income from primary insurance in the property/casualty segment grew by 0.3 per cent.  Aggressive price-based competition combined with large discounts that cannot be justified from an actuarial point of view continued to plague the motor insurance segment, causing another market-wide drop in the average premium per insured vehicle.  Nonetheless, Generali Versicherung’s premium income from motor insurance held steady (fall of just 0.2 per cent), and it acquired numerous new customers.

The increase in Generali Versicherung’s premium income from health insurance substantially outstripped the growth of the market as a whole, at 3.7 per cent.  This strong premium growth resulted, among other things, from increased demand.  It was particularly apparent in the areas of hospital cost, outpatient cost, long-term care and sick pay cover, with many new customers opting for the company’s products in those fields.

Despite the difficult economic climate, Generali Versicherung’s premium income from life insurance was virtually static on the previous year at a high €668.3 million (fall of 0.8 per cent).  Generali Versicherung recorded strong growth in the classical life insurance segment, where premium income increased by 5.9 per cent to €431.0 million and accounted for nearly two thirds of total life insurance premiums.

BAWAG P.S.K. Versicherung AG performed impressively to stay on its growth path in 2010.  Its written premium income grew by 22.5 per cent, which was far more than the rates of growth recorded in the insurance market as a whole.  As a result, its aggregate written premium increased to €266.5 million.

BAWAG P.S.K. Versicherung therefore accounted for 10.8 per cent of the Austrian Generali Group’s aggregate premium income from primary insurance and as much as 28.5 per cent of its premium income from life insurance.