“Faces for UNIQA” united in Vienna
Since the introduction of the UNIQA brand in the year 1999, the Group has relied on partnerships with successful sports personalities to improve its recognition and image. This strategy was expanded to the new markets as part of the international expansion. UNIQA has now entered into advertising partnerships with locally known and well-liked athletes in almost every region in which the Group is active. In 2009, UNIQA invited eight of these personalities to Vienna to exchange ideas and participate in a media-focused presentation. In attendance were ski racers Stephan Eberharter, Benjamin Raich and Marlies Schild from Austria, Veronika Zuzulová from Slovakia and Ivet Lalova, world class sprinter from Bulgaria. Other participants at the highly regarded and well attended event included Krisztián Pars, hammer thrower from Hungary, Aleksandar Djordevic, basketball legend from Serbia, and Bogdan Wenta, trainer of the Polish national men’s handball team.
As in Austria, the UNIQA brand is represented in growth markets of Eastern and South Eastern Europe primarily through partnerships with high-performance athletes. One very successful example of this is the cooperation with the Slovakian ski racer Veronika Zuzulová.
Alongside Konstantin Klien at the roadshow in Zagreb was Slaven Bilic, a national football player and
National and international advertising partners from the world of sports met with the media in Vienna.
EBRD supports continuous internationalisation
The internationalisation of the UNIQA Group is actively promoted by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which expanded the framework agreement concerning the proven cooperation extending back to 1998 from €70 million to €150 million in November 2007. This provides a significantly expanded financial scope for acquiring minority investments by the EBRD in existing UNIQA subsidiaries in Central and Eastern Europe up until the end of 2017.
Ongoing process optimisation continued
To promote the sustained expansion of the Group by constantly increasing its earning power, UNIQA started what is already the Group’s third profit improvement programme in the year 2007. The goal of the programme was and is to achieve a significant improvement in the profit on ordinary activities during the time period 2007–2010. As part of the comprehensive and specific measures, the claim and cost ratios should continue to be clearly reduced, structures should be compressed, redundancies within the Group eliminated and certain tasks cost-effectively outsourced to international Group companies. Due to the success of these optimisation measures, UNIQA continued implementation of this programme again in 2009, although the specific target values were adapted to reflect the current conditions.
Standard & Poor’s again confirms A rating with stable outlook
The internationally recognised rating agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) renewed and confirmed the “A” rating for the UNIQA Group with a stable outlook in December 2009. The key rating factors and strengths of the Group once again impressed S&P, such as the significant competitive position as one of the market leaders in Austria and the impressive sales capacities. The successful bank assurance sales via the Raiffeisen banks were also emphasised, as was the organic growth in Central and Eastern Europe at above the market average.
The confirmation of the stable outlook was based on the expectation of a further improvement in the operational performance through the already successfully implemented and ongoing efficiency programme, leading S&P to expect a return to higher profits as of 2010. Additional reasons for the positive rating from S&P can be found in the continuously strong market position in Austria and the further growth potential in Central and Eastern Europe. In terms of developments in Eastern Europe, the rating agency attributed great importance to the “Preferred Partnership” with the Raiffeisen bank group.