Chairman of the Supervisory Board
Dear shareholders, customers and business partners,
In 2010, the showed signs of a general recovery after years of recession. This growth, however, fuelled as it is by a strong increase in exports, is not on a secure foundation yet. In addition to weak domestic demand, mainly rising government debts are responsible for this uncertainty. Public debt has exploded due to economic stimulus packages, and the eurozone has fallen into one of the most severe crises since the introduction of the euro, leading to a massive crisis of confidence in the entire currency. Overcoming and containing public debt is at present the greatest challenge facing European states and the USA. Successfully coping with these problems is the first step towards sustainable, broad economic growth.
For the , 2010 was an ambivalent year. The encouraging growth in nearly all and the significant improvement in are the positive side of the picture. On the other hand, the Group profits were reduced by large increases in claims, as well as the continuing high volatility of profit depending on extraordinary claim events, such as storms or floods. This is due not least to sub-optimal market shares in a series of markets, as well as premiums that have become insufficient due to risk profiles changing because of natural occurrences.
The development of earnings is encouraging in Austria, where the stabilisation of financial profits and the absence of storm claims contributed to a significant increase in profits. This is even more important because stable positive development in our home market provides the foundation for the further expansion of our market shares in foreign markets.
At the beginning of 2013, will pose new challenges to the UNIQA Group. This refers not only to the question of a sufficient supply of solvency capital, but also the creation of efficient corporate structures from the perspective of the new regulatory requirements, and the further development of the risk management process. We initiated comprehensive preparatory work on this topic years ago. These measures focus on implementing efficient organisational structures and processes as well as evaluating the business model and product policy. One of the most important challenges we have to deal with now is to create optimal conditions in terms of Solvency II by the end of 2012. We view Solvency II as an opportunity and as an optimal preparation for further successful development and strengthening the Group in our markets. At the same time, our focus will remain on profitable business and the continued improvement of our income situation, to bring UNIQA to the level of our international peers in this area as well.
CEO Konstantin Klien has shaped the successful development of the UNIQA Group over the last ten years. With a policy of expansion guided by his sound judgement, UNIQA has spread from its Austrian roots to become an insurance group of European character. As of 30 June, Konstantin Klien will step down to a well-deserved retirement and hand over the company leadership to Andreas Brandstetter. On behalf of the Supervisory Board, I would like to thank him for his tremendous commitment and the company’s success.
Vienna, April 2011