UNIQA increases its 2021 earnings expectations

Leading Austrian insurer UNIQA has announced an improved business outlook for 2021, buoyed by strong performance in the first half-year.

The UNIQA Group, which is one of the leading insurers in Austria and central and eastern Europe, will publish its half-year results on 19 August. However, the indicators one month ahead of time show that the company’s performance exceeds expectations.

It had been anticipated that pre-tax earnings for 2021 would be on a par with 2018 at about €295m. That figure has now been revised upwards to between €300m and €350m. The company said this was due to improved performance in the core insurance business.

Kurt Svoboda, chief financial and risk officer, commented: “Earnings were driven by excellent loss ratios in the retail and corporate segment in non-life, despite the weather-induced losses in the first half of 2021 as well as good asset management results and costs remaining well within budget.”

The company is thus in a strong position as it embarks on a strategic growth programme, ‘UNIQA 3.0 – Seeding The Future’, which runs from 2021 to 2025.

As the name suggests, the programme is designed to equip UNIQA for the future by, as the company reported, focusing explicitly on customer-centricity and maintaining considerable investment in digitalisation, IT and data.

There is also a strong emphasis on sustainability. “For us, sustainable business is a central and absolutely critical part of our corporate orientation for success,” said René Knapp, chief HR and brand officer.

The programme includes a number of ambitious targets, for example constant premium growth of 3% a year along with a simultaneous considerable reduction in costs, which the group hopes will bring the combined ratio below 95% on a sustained basis. A solvency capital ratio consistently above 170% is also targeted.

Could this strategy result in improved shareholder dividends based on a sustainable, forward-looking and technology-oriented business model? If so, it would make a strong statement.

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