Highlights of 2018
CHERRISK: local innovation with international potential
UNIQA Hungary launched a pilot project in September 2018 known as “CHERRISK”, aimed at making the insurer a round-the-clock service provider rather than a pure product provider, completely repositioning the traditional business. Customers can take out insurance solely using digital and automated resources and process any claims at www.cherrisk.com. Yet they also collect cherries there as a type of digital currency, e.g. by changing to winter tyres in good time. Cherries are collected as reward for risk-conscious behaviour, with around one million collected in the first few months alone, and are then transferred to social projects, or customers may also use them to reduce their premiums.
UNIQA continues to invest in infrastructure
In 2018, the UNIQA Group continued to expand the scope of its infrastructure investments. Two solar energy projects are co-financed in Spain, for example, and the Group invests in a motorway in France. It also subscribes to three infrastructure funds. As a result, the UNIQA Group had investments of around €310 million in infrastructure bonds and loans in 2018.
UNIQA expands venture capital initiative
UNIQA Ventures, which invests in market-ready start-ups in the fintech, health tech, smart home and mobility sectors, plans to expand its partnerships with European venture capital stakeholders and innovators from other industries. To that end, venture capital activities are being combined within UNIQA Ventures GmbH, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the UNIQA Group, and investment capital increased by €25 million.
Profitable growth in CEE
We gained 640,000 new customers in Central and Eastern Europe in 2018 alone, while at the same time increasing our earnings before taxes in the region by just under 30 per cent to €55 million. This confirms our long-term strategy: in addition to our profitable Austrian business we are also gradually establishing a stable second geographic pillar in CEE with growth potential and do not let ourselves be deterred by short-term challenges presented by politics, regulators or the competition.
UNIQA Austria makes life insurance cheaper and more profitable
After UNIQA Austria revolutionised classic life insurance as a first step in 2014, a fundamental reorientation of unit-linked life insurance followed in 2018. UNIQA Austria has thus entirely repositioned both product types: acquisition costs were drastically reduced, and the products have been made generally more flexible. Aside from the new flexibility in the products, benefits with both types of insurance include the possibility of withdrawals and additional payments during the term without the incurring of any additional costs. Furthermore, the costs for the new products are charged on an ongoing basis, so a larger portion of the premium flows directly into the investment. This means the customer is able to generate a higher return over the long term.
UNIQA Austria launches a mobile customer portal
In addition to the myUNIQA web portal, UNIQA customers now also have easy, around-the-clock access to the portal’s most important features via the myUNIQA app introduced in 2018. For example, they may conveniently review their insurance policies, report any damages or submit doctor invoices and medication receipts (easily photographed with a mobile phone). All sensitive data provided is of course protected by fingerprint or password. With the new app, UNIQA is taking another step towards becoming an integrated service provider rather than a pure provider of insurance products and is also satisfying its customers’ demand for 24-hour online availability via mobile.
UNIQA pulls out of coal-based business models
The UNIQA Group heralded the start of its gradual exit from coal-based business with its voluntary commitment that was decided on in 2018. As of 2019, it will no longer enter into any new customer business with companies from the coal industry. UNIQA will proactively support existing customers with transformation of their coal-based business models. What is more, social and ecological criteria are being taken into account in investment decisions: UNIQA’s investment portfolio is already free of coal-based investments as of the end of January 2019. As a result of this, UNIQA was the first insurance company in Austria to be awarded a bronze sustainability certificate for investment strategies from the Austrian Society for Environment and Technology (ÖGUT) in March 2019.
UNIQA Insurance Platform: first product goes live
An important milestone was achieved in June 2018 when the first product went live in UNIQA Insurance Platform, the biggest programme in our history, aimed at upgrading the core systems in all our business lines. Unit-linked life insurance policies taken out with UNIQA Austria by customers of bank sales partner Raiffeisen are now being managed via the new IT core system. This new modern platform solution will dramatically reduce product development time (time to market), massively increase flexibility in the product design, and also significantly reduce the operating costs of all data processing in the medium term.
UNIQA sells shares in Casinos Austria
The sale of UNIQA’s indirect stake of 11.35 per cent in Casinos Austria Aktiengesellschaft to CAME Holding GmbH, which was decided in January 2017, was legally completed in the first quarter of 2018. UNIQA realises an extraordinary accounting profit of €47.4 million from the sale.