The Talanx share made its stock-market debut in autumn 2012 and three years ago, the share marked its all-time high at 48.34 euros. Less than one month later, the share price had plummeted to below half of that value at 22.36 euros. At the start of the coronavirus crisis, the business model of the Hannover-based multibrand insurer with its focus on institutional clients also came under pressure. However, the stock returned to the MDax at the end of October 2021 and the value is now just shy of the record level achieved on 19 February 2020.
The earnings and dividend targets announced at the Capital Markets Day as the performance goals Talanx intends to achieve by 2025 have recently also been exerting an impact on investor behaviour and share-price performance. Since the announcement of the new medium-term goals on 6 December of last year, the share price of the third-largest German insurance group has been going up and recorded a robust rise by 8 % to 46.34 euros on 20 January. Over the same period of time, the Stoxx Europe 600 Insurance sector index rose by 4.5 %. In the meantime, the performance curves have now crossed. Yet on Thursday of last week, the presentation of provisional figures for Talanx in the previous financial year indicated that after the rise in the Group’s net income by 16 % to 1.17 billion euros in 2022 and following the forecast of around 1.4 billion euros for the current business period, the Group was “entirely on track” to achieve earnings of 1.6 billion euros by 2025. Shareholders should then be able to look forward to receiving a dividend of 2.50 euros per share – after 2 (previous year: 1.60) euros for the period under review.
30 individual measures
Talanx provided further information on its Capital Market Day by announcing that the launch of a new personnel strategy was intended to contribute to achieving the financial goals. "A new personnel strategy with a focus on recruiting skilled professionals and making use of the opportunities offered by diversity and new work is going to support these strategic objectives of the Group,” was the message from the company employing a workforce totalling some 24 000 people. The insurer presented this strategy comprising more than 30 individual measures in mid-January in a one-hour livestream beamed from the in-house TV studio in Hannover.
In response to a question from finance newspaper Börsen-Zeitung, Caroline Schlienkamp, Member of the Talanx Board of Management since May of last year and responsible for human resources as Director of Labour Relations since July, explained that "HDI X" was going to confront today’s challenges characterised by a continuously changing, volatile environment through the implementation of new working practices, and she added that the company would also find solutions to counteract the shortage of skilled professionals. The first – and currently only – woman on the seven-strong executive board of the insurance group heads a newly created division with responsibility also for the areas Compliance, Legal, Data Protection, Procurement and Internal Services. She commented that employees and corporate culture were “key factors for achieving our ambitious goals”. She continued by saying that the new personnel strategy defined cultural priorities as an essential component of the Group strategy and emphasised that they were the overriding focus. She stressed that it created the enablers for ongoing development of the corporate culture.
Shortage of skilled professionals
At Talanx, the focuses of strategy in human resources are perceived to be concentrated primarily in talent management, the development of leadership, in diversity and in new forms of work. "As a result of demographic change and the associated shortage of skilled professionals and labour in general, there is a tense situation in the employment market,” opined Schlienkamp. While recruitment of IT specialists was particularly fraught a number of years ago, Talanx is currently also experiencing strong demand for personnel in the areas of mathematics, underwriting and law. As the Director of Labour Relations explained, measures are being adopted in Hannover to target specific groups as a means of addressing this shortfall.
First of all, the search for new staff is being extended beyond the confines of the company. Schlienkamp explained that experts from outside the company were increasingly being directly recruited in a proactive approach, for example through social media. She continued by highlighting that today, Talanx had a much bigger presence in networks like LinkedIn, Instagram and TikTok than in the past. “We are where our potential employees congregate.” Secondly, Talanx is making increased efforts to develop the careers of their own staff and in the area of apprenticeship training.
New integrated degree programme
In line with this approach, the insurer this year intends to launch three new integrated degree programmes in the areas of business IT with focus on data science, IT security, and business mathematics and actuarial sciences. In 2023, the annual number of new placements for apprentices and students taking a twin-track degree course with in-service training is projected to rise by 30 to around 130. Schlienkamp continued by saying that junior staff would be built up through actuarial apprenticeships with in-service training, development programmes for managers’ career pathways, university programmes, along with internships and work placements for students, and she concluded by saying that internal appointments from within the Group would be made.
Management at Talanx is also well aware that agility and imagination are required in the competition for human resources, that it is important for individual employers to have a distinct profile and give exciting narratives in order to attract specialists and talent – but also to remain interesting for the employees within the company. "A clearly defined and inspiring strategy, an appealing culture and the Purpose embedded deeply within the company – ‘Together we take care of the unexpected and foster entrepreneurship’ – makes the HDI Group absolutely unique,” commented the Director of Labour Relations. She predicts that over the upcoming ten years, the average age of employees at Talanx will fall from the current level of 45.8 years and the average length of service with the company of currently 15 years will also decline.
More women in top positions
Schlienkamp says that the company helps employees achieve an appropriate work-life balance reconciling family, career and leisure time with measures ranging from flexible working hours and the opportunity to engage in mobile working for up to 60 % of the time in every quarter, through childcare in the company’s own daycare centre to support for care of family members and assistance packages in a variety of different life situations. Leadership on a part-time basis was also being facilitated. The Director of Labour Relations at Talanx perceives progress on the roadmap for getting more women into management positions. From the end of 2020, the proportion of female managers at Talanx in Germany went up from 21.3 % to 24.3 % as at 31 December of last year. But the insurer by no means believes that it is over the finishing line yet: The so-called “Succession Quota” was increased from 25 % to 50 % in order to significantly expand the proportion. The aim in future is for every second vacant management post to be filled by a woman.
At the same time, Schlienkamp emphasised that as an employer, HDI was committed to equal pay for all genders. Alongside regionally appropriate, competitive salaries, employees were able to have a stake in the Group’s profit through a share programme for employees. Outstanding performances were also rewarded. Beyond financial benefits, Schlienkamp also noted an identifiable trend for the meaning of work, the culture and the atmosphere to be increasingly foregrounded among potential employees. "We are able to score big here as the HDI Group."
The 48-year-old lawyer and insurance practitioner highlighted that the corporate culture was key for generating loyalty to the company among employees over the long term – she herself has spent almost her entire professional career in the Group. As a Member of the Board of Management, she said that she “had started out with the vision of promoting the cultural transformation in the Group and increasing the appeal of the HDI Group as an employer". The new personnel strategy was the embodiment of the way she saw herself as a “culture maker”. She believed it was important for people to see meaning in the work they do and for them to be able to devote their entire personality and creativity to the job in hand. "If everybody knows what their contribution to success is, this fosters motivation, performance orientation, and last but by no means least enjoyment of their work.”
This news release contains forward-looking statements which are based on certain assumptions, expectations and opinions of the Talanx AG management. These statements are, therefore, subject to certain known or unknown risks and uncertainties. A variety of factors, many of which are beyond Talanx AG’s control, affect Talanx AG’s business activities, business strategy, results, performance and achievements. Should one or more of these factors or risks or uncertainties materialise, actual results, performance or achievements of Talanx AG may vary materially from those expressed or implied in the relevant forward-looking statement. Talanx AG does not guarantee that the assumptions underlying such forward-looking statements are free from errors nor does Talanx AG accept any responsibility for the actual occurrence of the forecasted developments. Talanx AG neither intends, nor assumes any obligation, to update or revise these forward-looking statements in light of developments which differ from those anticipated.