“Our pleasing business performance in the first quarter of 2015 is a clear sign that our diversification and internationalisation strategy is bearing fruit. In light of this, we are confirming our target of generating Group net profit of at least EUR 700 million in 2015”, said Herbert K. Haas, Chief Executive Officer of Talanx AG. “The persistent low interest rate environment and competitive markets for industrial insurance and reinsurance continue to pose significant challenges. Nevertheless, we are confident of successfully overcoming them.”
The Group recorded catastrophe losses of EUR 156 (41) million in the period under review, higher than in the prior-year quarter. The first quarter was dominated by major losses from storm “Niklas”, the crash of Germanwings flight 4U9525 and several fire losses in the Industrial Lines Division. Major losses of EUR 94 (10) million were attributable to primary insurance, while the figure for reinsurance was EUR 62 (31) million. However, at EUR 156 million, losses were within the Group’s forecast major loss budget of approximately EUR 230 million.
The higher losses saw the combined ratio rise to 96.5 (94.3) percent. The underwriting result for the Group as a whole widened to EUR –389 (–370) million. Overall, this was once again dominated by the participation of German life insurance customers in investment income, which reduces the underwriting result under IFRSs. Net investment income remained unchanged at EUR 1.0 (1.0) billion. Write-downs on Heta Asset Resolution bonds reduced Group net income by approximately EUR 4 million in the first quarter of 2015.
A significant improvement in net foreign exchange gains had a positive impact on operating profit (EBIT). This rose by 16.1 percent to EUR 643 (554) million due in particular to the good results posted by Life/Health Reinsurance.
Group net income improved by 16.2 percent to EUR 251 (216) million. Earnings per share amounted to EUR 0.99 (0.86) in the first quarter.
The solvency ratio in accordance with Solvency I was 243 percent as at 31 March 2015 (31 December 2014: 228 percent).
Talanx also published its risk management reports at the same time as the quarterly results. The Group’s economic solvency ratio as at 31 December 2014 for the internal model developed according to the future Solvency II regime is 194 (333) percent. Talanx achieved this figure despite changes to the model made necessary by stricter regulatory requirements and despite the continuing low interest rate environment. Including hybrid capital and surplus participation funds, the ratio was 271 percent. These results underline Talanx’s solid capitalisation. The Group is on track to implement the internal model for Solvency II in good time for the 1 January 2016 deadline and to submit a corresponding application to BaFin in June.
Development of the divisions
The Industrial Lines Division saw continued premium growth of 7.1 percent in the first quarter of 2015. Gross written premiums amounted to EUR 1.9 (1.8) billion. The increase in local currency amounted to 3.9 percent. Growth was once again driven by the division’s international subsidiaries and branches, since market penetration in the Group’s home market of Germany is already at a high level.
The combined ratio rose to 98.9 (87.7) percent as a result of higher major losses. The underwriting result declined to EUR 6 (51) million. Net investment income dropped by 26.4 percent to EUR 53 (72) million due to continuing low interest rates and unusually high realised gains in the prior-year quarter. Operating profit amounted to EUR 72 (106) million. Industrial Lines contributed EUR 47 (67) million to Group net income.
Talanx is to change the name and company form of its subsidiary HDI-Gerling Industrie Versicherung AG to reflect the increasingly international focus of the Industrial Lines Division and of the subsidiary in particular. As announced by the Group in March 2015, the industrial insurer will operate under the name HDI Global SE in future. The change is expected to be implemented at the end of 2015/beginning of 2016.
Gross written premiums in the Retail Germany Division increased by 5.3 percent to EUR 2.1 (2.0) billion at the beginning of the year. In the life insurance business, premium income rose by 12.6 percent to EUR 1.4 (1.2) billion due in particular to higher single premiums. This was also reflected in new business: measured using the annual premium equivalent (APE), the segment grew by 27.0 percent to EUR 127 (100) million. The property/casualty insurers posted premium income of EUR 762 (808) million as a result of a highly disciplined approach to underwriting in the motor insurance line. In contrast, net premiums earned in the property/casualty business were on a level with the previous year, at EUR 342 million.
The underwriting result improved to EUR –392 (–430) million. The negative result was again primarily attributable to the participation of life insurance customers in net investment income. This was down slightly in the period under review, declining by 11.2 percent to EUR 445 (501) million. The fall was due in particular to capital gains realised early in the prior year to finance the additional reserve for policies with guarantees (Zinszusatzreserve). The segment’s combined ratio was virtually unchanged at 100.5 (100.2) percent in spite of higher storm-related losses.
EBIT improved slightly by 5.6 percent to EUR 57 (54) million despite the impact of storm “Niklas”. The division contributed EUR 35 (29) million to Group net income.
The Retail International Division recorded a 3.6 percent increase in gross written premiums to approximately EUR 1.2 (1.2) billion. The property/casualty insurance business generated significant growth of 16.1 percent. This was attributable to organic growth of 12.4 percent, as well as to the first-ever contribution by the Chilean Magallanes Group, which was acquired in February 2015. The Magallanes Group accounted for a premium volume of approximately EUR 28 million and an EBIT contribution of approximately EUR 2 million. Premium income in the life insurance business declined by 15.7 percent, mainly due to lower single premiums in Italy. In local currency, the division recorded a 3.1 percent increase in premium income.
The Brazilian unit saw premium income improve by 10.8 percent to EUR 210 (189) million. Adjusted for currency translation effects, the figure was 11.5 percent. At EUR 57 (44) million, HDI Mexico generated premium growth of 31.3 percent measured in euros, or 23.3 percent after adjustment for exchange rate effects. In Poland, gross written premiums rose by 12.4 percent year-on-year to EUR 420 (374) million. Our Turkish company lifted income by 42.0 percent to EUR 71 (50) million thanks to growth in the motor insurance business in particular. This corresponds to an increase of 32.1 percent in local currency.
The segment’s underwriting result was EUR 8 (8) million, on a level with the previous year. At 94.6 (95.1) percent, the combined ratio improved slightly due to lower loss ratios. Net investment income increased by 6.8 percent to EUR 79 (74) million as a result of higher investments in particular. In contrast, EBIT declined by 9.7 percent to EUR 56 (62) million on the back of negative exchange rate effects. The segment’s contribution to Group net income was EUR 33 (39) million.
Gross written premiums in the Non-Life Reinsurance Division rose by 24.1 percent to EUR 2.6 (2.1) billion amid continued fierce competition. This was due to the strong US dollar, among other factors. Adjusted for exchange rate effects, premium income increased by 13.0 percent. The underwriting result declined by 15.1 percent to EUR 73 (86) million following significantly higher major losses compared with the prior-year quarter. Net investment income was down slightly on the prior-year figure, at EUR 199 (211) million. EBIT amounted to EUR 279 (286) million at the end of the first quarter. The segment contributed EUR 87 (95) million to Group net income.
In the Life/Health Reinsurance Division, increased global demand from primary insurers lifted premium income by 17.5 percent to EUR 1.8 (1.5) billion, or 6.5 percent in local currency. The underwriting result improved slightly to EUR –85 (–87) million. Net investment income rose by 44.1 percent to EUR 219 (152) million due to a one-off effect. Operating profit amounted to EUR 176 (64) million. Life/Health Reinsurance contributed EUR 66 (21) million to Group net income.
Outlook for 2015
Talanx is confirming its outlook for financial year 2015. Based on constant exchange rates, it aims to generate gross premium growth of 1 to 3 percent, the bulk of which will be generated in international markets. The return on investment should be in excess of 3.0 percent. The Group is continuing to aim for consolidated net profit of at least EUR 700 million, despite another significant year-on-year increase in the major loss budget, especially in primary insurance, a challenging capital market environment and investments designed to improve profitability in primary insurance in Germany. The return on equity is expected to be around 9 percent in 2015, in line with the Group’s strategic target of 750 basis points above the average risk-free interest rate. These targets assume that exchange rates remain constant, that there are no negative developments on the capital markets and that catastrophe losses are within the major loss budget. This has been adjusted upwards and now stands at EUR 290 (185) million for primary insurance in 2015. Talanx’s stated goal is to distribute 35 to 45 percent of Group net income as a dividend payment for the 2015 financial year, as in the past.
Key figures from the Talanx Group income statement for Q1 2015, consolidated (IFRS)
Figures in EUR million
Gross written premium
Net premium earned
Combined ratio in property/casualty
insurance and non-life reinsurance
Net investment income
Operating profit (EBIT)
Group net income
(after non-controlling interests)
Return on equity 1
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.