We conscientiously and resolutely continued
||In 2007, we conscientiously and resolutely continued
the expansion strategy of our insurance group with its
focus on consistent internationalisation and a sustained
increase in yields.
The success of our coordinated efforts to achieve these ambitious
goals can be seen in the exceptionally high increase in the earnings
before taxes, by over 42% to €340 million, the growth in
premium revenues from Eastern Europe by over 27%, as well as
the increase in earnings per share, by over 62% to €2.07.
Return goal achieved early
|The yield-focused growth strategy of expansion secures our independence as a Central European insurance group and takes advantage of the growth opportunities in the Eastern European markets.|
The return on equity, in particular, which not only reached the target of 20% but significantly exceeded it at over 26%, proves that the chosen path was the right one. This path will ensure the independence of the Group even in times of hard competition in the current age of globalisation. The strategy allows us to operate successfully in the largely saturated markets in Austria and Central Europe, as well as to take advantage of the exceptional opportunities presented by the rapidly developing regions encompassing 360 million people, both within and beyond the eastern border of the EU.
Under the management of the publicly traded company UNIQA Versicherungen AG, our European insurance group, active in 20 markets, succeeded in strengthening its position as one of the leading market players in Central, Eastern and south-eastern Europe with a premium revenue of €5.3 billion and capital investments totalling over €21.5 billion.
By extending our activities in south-eastern Europe to include Albania, Macedonia and Kosovo, and expanding our financial commitment in Bulgaria and the Ukraine, we have further strengthened our positions in these rapidly developing markets.
New markets in the East secure company goals
These markets currently contribute 15.5% of our premium revenue.
The share of total premiums generated in international
business is currently over 33% and will continue to rise until
2010, further driving the internationalisation of the business
volume as well as the Group results. In this way, we diversify
the risks of our company portfolio and achieve our ambitious
growth goals that exceed the market average.
Premiums volume written 2007
incl. the savings portion of premiums from unit- and index-linked life insurance
Share of target markets 2007
Share of international business 2007
We concentrate all of our company activities and decisions on the realisation
of these goals. Within the framework of our differentiated multi-region
strategy, we intend to maintain UNIQAs leading position in
Austria through segment-focused qualitative growth with higher
returns. The Western European markets, characterised by higher
insurance density, contributed roughly 18% of the Group premiums
in 2007. We hold profitable niches in these markets and succeed
through exclusive offerings.
|UNIQA operates in 20 European
markets. We are successful
in these regions because
we understand our markets
well, act flexibly and have
strong local partners.
We take advantage of the prospects in the future markets within and beyond
the eastern border of the European Union through optimisation
of our financial involvement, through dynamic growth projects
for increasing market shares between 5 and 7% in non-life segments
and 3% in life insurance, as well as through cooperative transitions
to majority participations in companies where we entered with
a minority interest. We employ uniform branding and advertising
concepts, shared IT and human resources policies as well as
development of management staff to support the expansion of
our presence in these markets.
The Preferred Partnership with the Raiffeisen bank group in
Eastern Europe and the regional Raiffeisen banks in Austria has
proven effective for the successful penetration of new insurance
markets. This cooperation now covers 13 Eastern and southeastern
European regions. It has proven to be a cost-effective
and efficient sales channel for accessing these underdeveloped
markets to the profit of both partners, while ensuring aboveaverage
growth in the future. The premium revenues generated
through the programme have nearly doubled since the start of
the cooperation in 2004, to reach over €100 million in 2007.
More potential for expansion created
Additional support for UNIQAs expansion comes from the
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
The EBRD has increased the scope of its financial cooperation
with us from €70 million to €150 million. This makes available
to us extensive funds for minority investments by the EBRD in
UNIQA subsidiaries in Central and Eastern Europe. As the first
project, the EBRD took over 20% of UNIQA Osiguranje, which
is currently the fifth-largest insurance company in Bosnia and
|Product innovation and
customer service are crucial
for sustained success. In 2008,
we will continue to impress
our customers with excellent
service and innovative
Additional potential for our sustained expansion is generated by
the third UNIQA Profit Improvement Programme 20072010.
The goal of this plan is to increase Group profits by €200 million
by 2010. As part of the programme, we would like to further
reduce our loss and cost ratios considerably, compress our structures,
decrease unnecessary work by eliminating redundancies
and save money by outsourcing to other international groups.
The Group profit before taxes should be improved by 2010 to
€430 million. We are already well on our way we have succeeded
in achieving the initial goals for 2007.
Employing our strengths as an innovation leader
of markets is one of
our key competitive advantages:
niche strategies in the
mature markets of Central
Europe and positioning as a
composite and bank insurer
in the eastern growth
We will make decisive use of our strengths as a product pioneer
and innovation leader to implement this expansion based on
controlling costs and improving efficiency, primarily in southeastern
and Eastern Europe. In addition, UNIQA will continue
to address the issues of the future today, confirming our reputation
as a trendsetter.
In 2007, for example, we achieved a milestone with a number
of product innovations: the first electronic, kilometre-based
automotive insurance rate that also offers customers additional
safety features. A box containing a GPS receiver registers the
driving profile of the insured within city traffic, on country roads
or motorways and uses this information to calculate the usagebased
premium. The insurance policy is supplemented with intelligent
assistance services in the event of an accident or theft
of the vehicle. This innovation secures for us a clear competitive
advantage on the market.
We have also implemented a very flexible and innovative product
version in life and health insurance. Our new style of product
for long-term old-age pension combines the elements of classic
and unit-linked life insurance with a completely new level
of flexibility. As market leader in health insurance, we set new
standards through a combination of extensive medical insurance
protection with effective preventive measures and useful
World of advantage ensures a competitive edge
|Continuous process optimisation
is a constant task
for every company. With
our Profit Improvement
Programme, we successfully
laid the foundation in 2007
for consistent improvement
in profits up to the year 2010.
The high competence in developing products with additional
benefits and unique features within the market is part of the
UNIQA world of advantage. It emotionalises the bare insurance
product, allowing customers to experience it more directly.
The bundling of intelligent additional benefits and effective
offerings differentiates us from our competitors as a
next-generation insurance company.
Innovative solution competence demands constant training and
education of our employees, as well as flexibility and mobility
beyond national borders. We rely on the outstanding quality of
our human capital at all levels as a central competitive factor
for the realisation of our company strategy, and we employ
principles of human resources management to develop
and serve our employees.
Social responsibility and corporate citizenship are also fixed
components of the UNIQA corporate culture, which emphasises
a broad perspective and attention to the bigger picture. We
consider our participation in the Raiffeisen climate protection
initiative to be a proactive response to the challenges of the
future. These efforts will pay off for our insurance group, our
employees and our shareholders.