We are focusing on standardising, simplifying and scaling our existing business as well as on maximum efficiency increases and the targeted development of new business segments in implementing these ambitious objectives. The significant strategic pillars of this programme are as follows:
Austria and CEE will remain our core markets
Our two core geographic markets remain Austria and CEE; here, the focus will be on Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. In the past, 65 per cent of all customers, 30 per cent of premiums and 25 per cent of income came from CEE. As a result of the successful integration of the AXA companies acquired in 2020, 75 per cent of customers will come from CEE in future, and we aim to generate more than 40 per cent of premiums and more than 50 per cent of our income with these customers. The CEE countries are therefore clearly gaining in strategic importance: this is because a wider diversification of our profit sources improves our economic stability and makes us less dependent on unexpected developments in individual markets.
Optimisation and expansion of the existing business
The Group restructuring already initiated in the previous year as well as thorough cost restructuring and optimisation form the basis for implementing the ambitious objectives of UNIQA 3.0. We defined a number of critical initiatives for this. These involved topics such as our processes, IT and data, the organisational structure, new business models, as well as attractive key financial figures we intend to achieve. In Austria these programmes are aimed at securing and expanding UNIQA’s strong market position, particularly in the area of health insurance, strengthening profitability in property and casualty insurance through the reduction of administrative costs, efficient claims processing and improved pricing, and stabilising the life insurance portfolio through an increased focus on capital-preserving and biometric products. The focus in CEE is on the integration of the AXA companies and further expansion of business based on the solid foundations created in the past and the positive growth and prospects for convergence in the region. We will consolidate and expand our position further among the top five here in the medium term.
In addition to massive savings in material costs in Austria, the reduction of around 600 existing jobs over the next 24 months, combined naturally with other accompanying measures, will ensure a net sustainable cost reduction of more than €50 million per year.
Access to new markets: structure in line with customer segments instead of business lines
By merging UNIQA Austria and UNIQA International into one company and thereby reducing the number of Management Board members, we have already taken a first step towards a customer-focused organisational structure in 2020. Effective 1 January 2020, all operational insurance companies of the UNIQA Group are now organised according to the customer segments Retail, Corporate and Affinity, and Banking instead of the previous business line structure. This enables us to address the individual customer groups in a much more focused manner across the boundaries of product lines or families and, in addition to further increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty, should also lead to a growth in premiums. The continuous strength of the UNIQA brand, an attractive and easy-to-understand product portfolio, transparent pricing, cross-border cooperation, customer-specific affinity programmes and a wide range of digital tools and services form the basis for this. Another key success factor is a corporate culture that is actually implemented in practice, through which UNIQA positions itself as an inspiring coach for its respective customer groups.
UNIQA had already launched the largest innovation programme in the company’s history in 2016 with an investment of more than €500 million. These investments – most of which are used for the purposes of redesigning our business model as well as for the necessary IT systems and digital innovations – are having a lasting effect. Covid-19 has most recently even accelerated the development of digital offers for UNIQA customers, particularly in the health sector.
Opening up attractive new business models: CHERRISK and SanusX
In addition to simplifying and optimising our business model and reducing our cost base, we are also focusing on two completely new and disruptive concepts as part of our company’s further development: the purely digital, app-based sales platform CHERRISK for simple travel, household and accident insurance policies that can be cancelled at any time, and the subsidiary SanusX, which was founded in April 2020 in the aim of driving development of our Group into a holistic healthcare provider. This means that we are specifically promoting innovation and developing new business models that go beyond pure insurance.
We have also invested around €40 million in start-ups in the FinTech, InsurTech and digital health sectors in recent years through the corporate incubator programme UNIQA Ventures and currently hold 26 financial investments here throughout Europe. In addition to providing us with an increase in value, these investments have even more significantly provided us with more than 25,000 new customers thanks to innovative business models.
Adjustments in asset management focused on earnings and sustainability
UNIQA will be investing more in illiquid assets going forward with more attractive yields, such as infrastructure debt & equity, private equity and mortgage loans, instead of in government bonds in order to support current earnings. Alongside this, UNIQA is also pursuing a clear sustainability strategy with its investments: supported by the high market power of insurance companies, it is consistently pursuing its exit from the coal business, which was decided in 2018 and has already largely been implemented, both as an investor and as an insurance company. UNIQA has already invested around €600 million in infrastructure investments today, with around €200 million of this in projects aimed at promoting the energy transition (wind and solar energy, hydropower, energy generation from waste). UNIQA also issued a green bond with a value of €200 million in July 2020. The plan is to establish a portfolio of €1 billion in sustainable investments by 2025.
Increased earnings for our owners
Safeguarding and strengthening the Group’s financial position is a central element of UNIQA 3.0, which should naturally also have a positive effect on UNIQA’s shareholders. We see it as our duty to offer our shareholders both an appropriate return on the capital invested as well as dividends that are consistently stable. This is based on the targets for premium growth formulated for 2025 (around 3 per cent), the combined ratio in property and casualty insurance (around 93 per cent), the total cost rate (around 25 per cent), the return on equity (>9 per cent), the solvency ratio (>170 per cent) and customer satisfaction rate (4.5 stars out of five). This should enable UNIQA to earn its capital costs on a sustainable basis, as well as to repay part of its liabilities and distribute solid dividends at the same time.
CHERRISK – digital expansion to Germany
With its digital second brand CHERRISK (cherrisk.com), UNIQA is expanding to Germany based on the positive experiences in Hungary, with further steps into other western European countries also possible in future. As a purely digital sales platform, CHERRISK provides simple travel, household and casualty insurance options that can be cancelled at any time. The CHERRISK GO app also promotes the health of customers in a fun way by rewarding health-conscious behaviour and thereby supporting charitable initiatives. This way, the journey leads back to the risk community, and therefore to the roots of insurance. This is because customers are able to use the bonus points collected – known as cherries – to protect their own assets and to avoid damage through risk-conscious behaviour, as well as to do good for society by making donations.
SanusX – rethinking health
Founded in April 2020, the subsidiary SanusX (sanusx.com) is responsible for the UNIQA Group developing into a holistic healthcare provider that goes beyond the pure insurance business. Placing people and their needs at the centre, SanusX develops and scales innovative business models that contribute to a healthier society, in line with the motto: “Stay healthy and get healthy.” We are aiming for turnover in the region of €100 million overall with SanusX by 2025.
UNIQA is able to build on its experience as Austria’s leading health insurer with the LARA network (comprising laboratories, physicians, X-rays, pharmacies) with more than 260 partners, around 100 VitalCoaches and five hospitals (PremiQaMed) and therefore already has a high level of expertise in the healthcare sector. SanusX has already launched its first product in response to the rising Covid-19 case numbers: SanusX Health Shield offers fast, easy and reliable Covid-19 testing to companies at individual locations throughout Austria.