UNIQA Group Austria has succeeded in increasing retained consolidated premiums earned in the first half of 2009 by 2.6% to 2,369 million euro. Adjusted for the effects of exchange rate fluctuations in Eastern and South Eastern Europe, this gives a growth rate of 4.0%.
In Austria, the companies of the UNIQA Group have increased the retained premiums earned by 3.3% to 1,540 million euro, without additional acquisitions. In property and casualty insurance, they even managed to increase premiums by 5.3% to 651 million euro. The combined ratio (gross) was held at an encouragingly low level of 90.8%, despite the frequent bad weather. The growth in life insurance in Austria by 0.7% to 503 million euro is also very encouraging, given the stagnating to shrinking market. In health insurance, premiums in Austria rose by 3.6% to 386 million euro.
In Eastern and South Eastern Europe, the earned premium volume of the UNIQA Group also fell only marginally by 0.4% to 487 million euro. On the basis of local currencies, this equates to a growth of 6.1% and gains in market share.
A significant increase in premium volume was achieved in property and casualty insurance, with premiums rising on a euro basis by 14.7% to 319 million euro. However, there were clear falls in life insurance - at 163 million euro, the premium volume is 21.3% below the value for the first half of 2008, but still around 127% higher than that of 2007. Health insurance premiums in the region increased by 37.2% to approximately 4.6 million euro in the first half of the year.
In Western Europe as well, the UNIQA Group managed to significantly increase retained premiums earned by 3.7% to 342 million euro. Premiums in property and casualty insurance fell by 6.2% to 165 million euro; those in health insurance (due to a change in the way premiums are reported in Switzerland) by 17%. At the same time, however, premiums earned in life insurance increased by 65.1% to 99 million euro.
The Group premium volume written (including the savings portion of premiums from unit- and index-linked life insurance) fell by 1.6% to 2,955 million euro due to the muted demand for unit-linked life insurance and fewer single premiums.
As of 30 June 2009, the portfolio of investments of the UNIQA Group rose slightly compared to the same period in 2008 to 21,772 million euro. Net investment income increased in the first six months of 2009 by 71.9% to 334 million euro. It must be noted here that the clear rise in capital income was more than offset by a strong rise in the amounts allocated to deferred profit participation in favour of policyholders and therefore had no positive impact on the results.
Due to the above mentioned developments, profit on ordinary activities of the UNIQA Group fell in the first half of the year to 35 million еуро compared to 110 million euro in the same period for the previous year.
Given the ongoing high degree of volatility on the capital markets and the uncertainty surrounding the underlying conditions, it is not currently possible to provide a reliable forecast for the financial year 2009 and beyond.