The FINANCIAL -- In a challenging environment, Allianz in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE)1 reported solid results for 2014.
Total revenues decreased to 3.2 (previous year: 3.5) billion euros driven by the decision to reposition the property-casualty business in Russia and Ukraine and to focus on commercial business lines in both countries. Total operating profit was 106 (252) million euros. Excluding Russia and Ukraine, CEE achieved a remarkable operating profit of 300 (290) million euros, according to Allianz.
“Our business in the CEE region weathered a challenging economic and political environment in 2014. The extremely difficult insurance business conditions in Russia and Ukraine forced us to realign our business. These measures impacted our results. All other operating entities in Central and Eastern Europe delivered very solid results, which is an achievement considering the headwinds we faced in 2014,”said Manuel Bauer, Member of the Board of Management of Allianz SE responsible for growth markets.
Property and Casualty insurance
Excluding Russia and Ukraine, gross premiums in the CEE region increased by 1.5 percent to 1,677 million euros. Adjusted for foreign exchange effects premiums grew by 3.2 percent compared to 2013. Strong growth of the motor business in the Czech Republic and good performance of the corporate business in Slovakia compensated for lower premium volumes in Poland, where fierce competition put pressure on market prices.
In Russia and Ukraine, Allianz wrote 550 million euros in premiums, which is 274 million euros less than the previous year and a result of the refocused business in those countries. In total, gross premiums written in the Property and Casualty insurance business in CEE for 2014 amounted to 2,227 (2,477) million euros. This corresponds to a decrease of 10.1 percent.
Operating profit (excluding Russia and Ukraine) stood at 168 (165) million euros. Favorable claims development in Slovakia more than compensated for negative effects from natural catastrophes in Bulgaria. The combined ratio, again excluding Russia and Ukraine, improved to 93.3 (93.9) percent. In total, CEE recorded a loss of 27 million euros at a combined ratio of 104.4 percent driven by restructuring measures in Russia and Ukraine.
“Addressing the adverse market conditions and the worsening economic and political situation in Russia was a necessary step to take. The decision to exit the retail market allows us to focus on our corporate business there as well as on the additional opportunities in the other CEE markets,” saidManfred Knof, regional CEO of Allianz in Central and Eastern Europe.
Life and Health insurance
Adjusted for foreign currency effects, premiums rose by 2.2 percent.Stronger sales of single premium investment-oriented products in Poland, Croatia and Bulgaria drove this development. The currency effects in the region compensated this positive development so that total premiums in the Life and Health business for 2014 declined by 0.4 percent to 909 million euros.
Operating profit of our life and health insurance operations stood at 119 million euros including 42 million euros from our pension fund and asset management operations. CEE life and health stand-alone operating profit remainedstable at 77 (78) million euros.
Operating profit of our pension funds and asset management business increased by 5 million euros to 42 million euros. This development includes one-off effects related to the acquisition of Warta pension fund, the nationalization of pension assets in Poland as well as performance fees driven by increased value of assets under management and a low yield environment in Slovakia. Overall assets under management of our pension funds exceeded 10 billion euros for the first time.
Manfred Knof: “Our life business is facing an economic environment with falling interest rates in most countries. Such an environment remains a challenge. However, the good results in 2014 reflect the strong reputation of our brand and the high demand for Allianz products in CEE.”