We have set ourselves ambitious goals in connection with our corporate strategy UNIQA 2.0. In summary, we are working towards sustainable and profitable growth. We are taking the initiative, optimising processes and building on innovations. We are doing this in order keep the promises we made to our customers, our shareholders and our employees. In addition, we make sure we have a business strategy that knows the right answer to all of our Company's risks. The Management Board has therefore adopted a risk strategy borne by four principles:
- We know our responsibility
- We know our risk
- We know our capacity to take on risk
- We know our opportunities
With these four principles, we will move confidently into the future and maintain a financial strength that allows us to achieve our corporate goals, keep our promises and fulfil our obligations even in turbulent times.
Our core business is to relieve our customers of risk, pool the risk to reduce it, and thereby generate profit for our Company. At the heart of this business is an understanding of risks and their specific attributes.
In order to ensure that we keep our focus on risk, we have created a separate risk function in the Group's Management Board with a Group Chief Risk Officer and made the function of Chief Risk Officer a part of the Management Board in our regional companies. This ensures that decision-making is risk-based in all relevant bodies. We have established processes that allow us to identify, analyse and manage risks. Our business involves a large range of different risk types, so we employ specialists to identify and manage them.
We regularly validate our risk profile at all levels of the hierarchy and hold discussions in specially instituted committees with the members of the Management Board. We draw on internal and external sources to obtain a complete picture of our risk position. We regularly check for new threats both in the Group and in our subsidiaries.
Risk-bearing capacity and risk appetite
We take risks and do so in full knowledge of our risk-bearing capacity. We define risk-bearing capacity as our ability to absorb potential losses from extreme events so that our medium- and long-term objectives are not put in danger.
Our risk decisions centre on our economic capital model (ECM), which we use to quantify risk and determine economic capital. The ECM is based on the standard model according to Solvency II and also reflects our own risk assessment. This is expressed in the quantification of the risks from the non-life sectors, in which we focus on a stochastic cash flow model, additional capital requirements of government bonds and a mark-to-market valuation of asset-backed securities. Based on this model, we are aiming in the medium term for risk capital cover (capital ratio) of 150–160 per cent in 2015. In the medium term, the capital ratio should be at least 170 per cent.
We also seek external confirmation of the path we have chosen. Standard & Poor´s has given us a credit rating of A–. One of our key objectives is to maintain the rating at least at this level and to improve it over the long term as the corporate strategy is implemented.
Non-quantifiable risks, in particular operational risk, litigation risk and strategic risk are identified as part of the risk assessment process and then assessed using scenario-based techniques. This assessment is then used as the basis for implementing any necessary risk mitigation measures.
Our risk strategy specifies the risks we intend to assume and those we plan to avoid. As part of our strategy process, we define our risk appetite on the basis of our risk-bearing capacity. This risk appetite is then used to determine tolerances and operational limits, which provide us with an early warning system sufficient for us to initiate prompt corrective action should we deviate from our targets. We also consider risks outside our defined appetite. We counter risks that fall into this category, such as reputational risk, with proactive measures, transparency and careful assessment.
We focus on risks that we understand and can actively manage. We divest ourselves of any investments in which the business principles are inconsistent with our core business. We consciously take on risk associated with life, health and non-life underwriting in order to consistently generate our income from our core business. We aim for a balanced mix of risk to achieve the greatest possible effect from diversification.
We analyse our income and the underlying risk, optimizing our portfolio using value-based principles. We therefore strive for a balance between risk and return.
Risk also means opportunity. We regularly analyse trends, risks and phenomena that influence our society and thus our customers and ourselves. We involve our employees in the whole of the business to identify and analyse trends at an early stage, produce suitable action plans and develop innovative approaches.