Vienna Insurance Group reaps successes of its CEE strategy
Vienna Insurance Group has published its financial results from 2017. The insurer noted the growth of its business , especially in the CEE region.
“Our success in 2017 was achieved by systematically pursuing our business strategy. We were the first Austrian company to expand eastwards after 1989 and take advantage of the potential in Central and Eastern Europe. Now when everyone is talking about the major economic opportunities available in the CEE economies, we are already reaping the successes of our long-term strategy. We entered these countries with the intention of staying, with a long-term view, regardless of economic ups and downs. We intentionally rely on local entrepreneurship and a multi-brand strategy. We live this diversity out of conviction and make use of it in our markets, which increasingly demand rapid decision-making. This especially applies to issues like digital transformation. We began implementing important measures for this and other initiatives starting last year under our strategic ‘Agenda 2020’ work programme. They are making us fit for the future, while also achieving results that show we are a stable and reliable partner”, stated Elisabeth Stadler, General Manager of Vienna Insurance Group.
Premiums gained in the Polish market increased by 8.2 percent in 2017. Better results were noted in Slovakia, Hungary and Bulgaria. Poland recorded a particularly large increase in profits, due in part to a successful stabilization of the motor insurance business. The companies in the CEE region are already contributing around 57 percent to the overall profit (before taxes). Also increases in the underwriting result in Austria and Poland played a major role in the improvement of the combined ratio.
In the VIG’s annual report the functioning of the strategic “Agenda 2020” work programme was taken into consideration. The project for optimizing claims management was implemented for motor and household insurance in the Polish and Lithuanian Group companies in 2017. Initial results show a potential reduction in claims expenses in the middle single-digit percentage range. At the same time, the project also helps efforts to reduce unjustified claims in the insurer’s opinion. “These measures are helping us further reduce our combined ratio to 95 percent”, emphasised Elisabeth Stadler.
Health insurance and the bank insurance business are the business areas that VIG wants to expand to ensure its future viability. Health insurance is already being offered by 38 of the around 50 companies in the Group. Premiums increased by around EUR 11 million or 32 percent in 2017 in the five countries where VIG specifically aims to expand health insurance (Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, Turkey and Hungary).
In 2017 the Polish Group company Compensa tested the use of robot technology and artificial intelligence for automating workflows in the project “Genesis”, the Group’s largest digitalisation project, and has automated four routine processes since the beginning of 2018. The use of telematics in the motor line of business and bots to autonomously answer customer questions are currently being tested. Agents and customers in Poland now use an app to purchase motor insurance easily. Compensa in the Baltic states will also apply in future the programme “Klara”. This is the digital advisory programme in compliance with the Insurance Distribution Directive.