39. Risk strategy
UNIQA’s strategic objectives are directly linked to the company’s risk strategy. The cornerstones of the risk strategy are based on the business strategy and the risks it entails. A clear definition of the risk preference creates the foundation for all business policy decisions.
UNIQA’s core business is to relieve customers of risk, pool the risk to reduce it and thereby generate profit for the company. The focus is on understanding risks and their particular features. To ensure a strong focus on risk, UNIQA has created a separate risk function on the Group’s Management Board with a Group Chief Risk Officer (CRO) who is also acting concurrently as Group Chief Financial Officer (CFO). In the Group companies, the Chief Risk Officer is also a part of the Management Board. This ensures that decision-making is risk-based in all relevant bodies. UNIQA has established processes that make it possible to identify, analyse and manage risks.
The risk profile is regularly validated at all levels of the hierarchy and discussions are held in specially instituted committees with the members of the Management Board. Internal and external sources are consulted to obtain a complete picture of the risk situation. UNIQA regularly checks for new threats both in the Group and in the subsidiaries.
Risk-bearing capacity and risk appetite
UNIQA assumes risk in full awareness of its risk-bearing capacity. This is defined as the capacity to absorb potential losses from extreme events so that medium- and long-term objectives are not put in danger.
At the centre of the risk decisions is UNIQA’s economic capital model (ECM), by means of which risks are quantified and own economic capital is determined. The ECM is based on the standard model according to Solvency II and also reflects the company’s own risk assessment. This is expressed in the quantification of the risks from the non-life sectors such as market risks, in which the focus is placed on a stochastic cash flow model. UNIQA also uses this model for the regulatory risk calculations according to the Solvency II framework. Based on this model, UNIQA strives to maintain the risk capital cover (capital requirement ratio) within the range of 155 to 190 per cent. Immediate steps will be taken to improve the capital position if the marginal value falls below 135 per cent. Details for the reporting date as at 31 December 2019, including a detailed analysis of changes, can be found in the Group Economic Capital report.
Non-quantifiable risks, in particular operational risk, litigation risk and strategic risk are identified and assessed as part of the risk assessment process. This assessment is then used as the basis for implementing any necessary risk mitigation measures.
UNIQA’s risk strategy specifies the risks the company intends to assume and those it plans to avoid. Within the scope of the strategy process, risk appetite is defined based on UNIQA’s risk-bearing capacity. This risk appetite is then used to determine tolerances and limits, which provide a sufficient early warning system for the company to initiate prompt corrective action in the event of any deviation from targets. UNIQA counters risks that fall outside the defined risk appetite, such as reputational risk, with proactive measures, transparency and careful assessment.
Risk also means opportunity. UNIQA analyses trends and risks that influence the society and thus customers and the company itself. Employees throughout the company are involved in order to recognise and analyse trends at an early stage, produce suitable action plans and develop innovative approaches.