Highlights 2023

Standard & Poor’s affirms rating and upgrades outlook

Twice in 2023, the international ratings agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) confirmed its ratings for the UNIQA Group and even improved the outlook: on 1 March 2023, S&P reaffirmed the “A” rating for UNIQA Österreich Versicherungen AG and UNIQA Re AG, as well as the “A–” rating for UNIQA Insurance Group AG. At the same time, S&P raised the outlook for the three companies from “negative” to “stable”. All ratings as well as the outlook “stable” were reaffirmed on 8 November 2023. S&P particularly highlighted UNIQA’s customer-oriented approach, the cooperation with banks (bancassurance), the successful integration of the companies acquired from AXA in CEE, the sustained robust profitability and capitalisation despite geopolitical and macroeconomic challenges, as well as the expected further expansion of the Group.

myUNIQA app: more digital services for over 500,000 customers

In the summer of 2023, UNIQA presented the enhanced version of the myUNIQA app. The updated app offers customers even more attractive features, such as fingerprint unlock, greater convenience in the electronic mailbox, and more intuitive operation. In addition, the app is available in English and now also provides access to the advantage club myUNIQA plus. The myUNIQA app should by no means reduce or replace personal advice for customers, but rather targets customers who prefer, for example, to quickly and easily handle damage reports themselves. Personal contact to provide advice remains an important pillar of the individual support that UNIQA offers customers.

Integration of former AXA companies in CEE exceeds expectations: synergy targets achieved ahead of schedule

The integration of the former AXA subsidiaries in Poland, Slovakia and Czechia, acquired in 2020, into the UNIQA Group is progressing better than planned. The strategy behind this acquisition, at €1 billion the largest in our Group’s history, is proving its worth: the consolidation of our reciprocal expertise is generating significant advances in many areas and is putting us in a leading position in terms of insurance expertise and profitability. The success story of the post-merger integration continued in 2023. The focus was on process simplification, integration and a cultural and operational transformation. Three years after the acquisition – and therefore earlier than planned – we were able to realise synergy effects of €50 million per year from the assimilation. All strategic goals of this major integration project should be achieved by the end of 2024. This puts us in an ideal position to meet the challenges of the future.

New photovoltaic system: Vienna headquarters becomes the Energy Tower

With the commissioning of a new photovoltaic system, we have transformed the UNIQA Tower in Vienna into an “Energy Tower”. The new installation will produce 100,000 kWh of solar power annually. This not only reduces the electricity consumption for the UNIQA Tower by up to 40 per cent, but also eliminates 21 tonnes of carbon emissions. UNIQA is thus setting another example of environmental awareness and resource conservation: since 2020, the installed photovoltaic capacity has been increased from 50 kWp to over 400 kWp, multiplying it by a factor of eight within a few years – further evidence that the UNIQA Group is seriously pursuing its sustainability goals. This is also evident in the transformation towards “Green Finance”: since 2019, UNIQA has no longer been providing property insurance for new coal industry businesses and, in the next step, plans to withdraw from investments in oil (by 2030) and natural gas (by 2035) in the industrial business.

Iris Brachmaier appointed as Group Chief People Officer

Iris Brachmaier as the new Group Chief People Officer (Photo)

In August 2023, we were able to win Iris Brachmaier for the newly created position of “Group Chief People Officer” as part of a reorganisation of the management structure of our HR department. The lawyer, who most recently held a senior position in Strategy, HR & ESG at the international GG Group, has now taken on responsibility for personnel matters within the entire UNIQA Group. At the same time, Robert Linke, who has been significantly shaping and professionalising the human resources department at UNIQA since 2016, takes on the role of the new “Head of People Austria” with a focus on the employees in Austria. This strengthens the foundation for an effective and employee-oriented approach to HR matters and brings UNIQA a decisive step closer to becoming the best employer in the industry.

Comprehensive advertising campaign “Active together – living better”

Two people pick up trash from the beach (Photo)

Since June 2023, UNIQA has been running a broad-based advertising campaign on television, digital media and posters in Austria. UNIQA wants to raise awareness among Austrians that each individual can contribute to a better life for all through small actions. This is also emphasised by the overarching motto “Living better together – living actions together”. The campaign simultaneously reflects UNIQA’s commitment to a sustainable future. The collaboration with Admosfy, an initiative to create climate-neutral media campaigns, serves this purpose. The carbon emissions caused by the advertising campaign can be fully offset.

Partnership with ÖSV extended

The successful partnership between the UNIQA Group and the Austrian Ski Federation (ÖSV) has been in existence for 50 years and was extended for yet another three years in 2023. The agreement was signed at the end of September by Austrian Ski Federation Secretary General Christian Scherer and UNIQA Management Board member Kurt Svoboda. The extensive cooperation not only regulates the provision of advertising space, but also the broad support of the Austrian Ski Federation’s young talent and co-operation in the area of insurance. UNIQA not only wants to use this partnership to promote top-level sports, but also to continue to actively support skiing as a popular sport, especially for young people.

Burkhard Gantenbein succeeds Walter Rothensteiner as Chairman of the Supervisory Board

Dr. Burkhard Gantenbein and Dr. Walter Rothensteiner (Photo)

On 6 June 2023, Burkhard Gantenbein was elected Chairman of the Supervisory Board of UNIQA Insurance Group AG, succeeding Walter Rothensteiner, who retired from this position after eleven years due to the age limit specified in the Articles of Association. Burkhard Gantenbein has been a member of the UNIQA Supervisory Board since 2017. Prior to that, he served among other things as a member of the Management Board of Generali Insurance Group and CEO of Helvetia Insurance in Austria. With the Swiss native, who also holds German citizenship, an experienced expert in the insurance industry is at the helm of the Supervisory Board.

International corporate business: premium volume exceeds €1 billion

In 2023, premium revenues in international corporate business exceeded the €1 billion mark for the first time. With a 20 per cent increase in premium revenues, we were once again able to outperform our competitors. And this segment also holds great strategic potential for the future. We see significant growth opportunities in property and casualty insurance for corporate clients in particular – especially in Central and Eastern Europe, where the number of companies is constantly increasing.

We presented a new Group-wide B2B strategy in 2023 to leverage these opportunities. The goal is to further expand and scale our strong market position with a 360-degree range of services for corporate clients. In addition to industry-specific insurance solutions and the development of omni-channel sales, our offers also include advisory services that go beyond traditional insurance, e.g., on the topics of ESG and risk management, as well as offers in the areas of affinity and employee benefits. As we also see great opportunities in the SME sector, we are diversifying our portfolio in this direction, too.

Science Based Targets initiative confirms ambitious climate goals

As a pioneer in the Austrian insurance industry, UNIQA is committed to ambitious climate goals. We specifically plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040 in Austria and by 2050 in all of our markets. We are also consistently aligning our investment portfolio with the 1.5°C target. These UNIQA targets were validated in December 2023 by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), a collaboration of leading international environmental organisations. The validation covers emission reductions both in our own operations and in our investments. This makes UNIQA the only Austrian insurance company to date whose climate targets have been recognised by SBTi as science-based.

Private hospitals in Austria: UNIQA invests €245 million

In addition to the €65 million that are already being invested in the expansion and modernisation of Döbling Private Hospital, we are currently investing €180 million in the merger and new construction of the Confraternität and Goldenes Kreuz Private Hospital in Vienna’s ninth district. In Döbling, we celebrated the topping-out ceremony in October 2023, just nine months after the foundation stone was laid. The five-story extension, which will include new operating theatres, more space for the maternity ward, a lounge for staff and additional single rooms for patients, is scheduled to commence operations in 2026. The new building for Confraternität and Goldenes Kreuz will be one of the most modern private hospitals in Austria when it opens by mid-2028. Plans include, among other things, six operating theatres, two endoscopy rooms, four delivery rooms and an outpatient and doctors’ office centre, in addition to 120 beds on four wards. In addition to the important focus on prevention, which we address under our second brand Mavie, with these extensive investments in the private hospitals of our PremiQaMed Group, we are setting new standards in medicine and care.

South East Europe: excellent results

For the second year in a row, UNIQA recorded double-digit growth in the SEE5 region in 2023, which is well above the market average. With almost two million customers, a premium volume of €305 million and around 1,600 employees, this is the third-largest region in the UNIQA Group. To improve the operating performance of the insurance companies operating in this region, UNIQA had already combined the five markets of Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Bulgaria into a single region under the title SEE5 in March 2022.

A year and a half later, the targeted transformation was clearly successful: in addition to the premium growth achieved, profitability has also increased significantly, with a 90 per cent increase in EBT in 2023 alone. This was based on initiatives designed to exploit the region’s full potential, including the introduction of regional governance, the acceleration and simplification of all processes, the targeted development of synergies, the harmonisation of regional brand activities and the launch of measures to promote the company culture and employee experience.

Telemedicine: Mavie with significant acquisition in Poland

By acquiring a majority share in the Polish company Telemedi, our healthcare holding Mavie has secured a significant position in the growing European telemedicine market and at the same time has given a new impetus to innovation in the healthcare sector. The market volume for telemedicine in Europe is currently estimated at €12 billion, with annual growth rates of up to 14 per cent. Teleconsultation platform Telemedi holds a market share of 23 per cent in the Polish teleconsultation market, serving doctors, health insurance companies, laboratories and patients. More than 300,000 patients rely on the services of Telemedi, and more than 500,000 medical enquiries are processed annually through the platform. The goal now is to unlock the shared potential by expanding and strengthening Telemedi’s portfolio through existing services from UNIQA, as well as by expanding into additional markets. From the increased use of telemedicine, we expect not only to generate additional revenue, but also to see cost savings in the insurance business.

Dynamic development in Poland: premium volume exceeds €1 billion for the first time, UNIQA Poland being built up as an international corporate centre of excellence

Uniqa Tower (Photo)

In 2023, we continued our trend in Poland – with 6 million customers, our largest market in terms of customer numbers – with a premium increase over that of the insurance market as a whole at 17.5 per cent. And in doing so, we reached an important milestone: not least thanks to the successful integration of the former AXA companies, premium volume exceeded €1 billion for the first time. Particularly pleasing is the fact that this growth was not at the expense of profitability. Here, too, we continue to outperform the majority of our competitors.

Poland is also becoming increasingly important for our international business: in 2023, we started preparations for a hub for international insurance programmes, with the launch scheduled for 2024. From here, we will service companies with multinational branches and manage their entire insurance coverage across borders. This will make the newly created hub a key centre of excellence for 15 countries in Central and Eastern Europe. UNIQA Poland’s extensive experience in this area is a valuable asset.