March 13, 2020. “Great innovative strength, a very healthy core business and two acquisitions were the main features of an extremely successful 2019. Last year marked the half-way point in our current strategic phase, and we laid firm foundations for the future.” Gert De Winter, Group CEO
Progress with the Simply Safe strategic targets in 2019
- Employee satisfaction: top 15 per cent of most popular employers in the industry (2018: top 23 per cent; target for 2021: top 10 per cent)
- Customer growth in 2019: 209 thousand new customers in 2019, which is 12 per cent more new customers than in 2018 (2018: 186 thousand); total (2017–2019): 514 thousand new customers (target for 2017–2021: one million additional customers)
- Generation of cash in 2019: CHF 455 million in 2019, which is slightly more than in 2018; total (2017–2019): CHF 1,319 million (target for 2017–2021: CHF 2 billion)
2019 annual financial results in brief
- Profit attributable to shareholders for 2019 amounted to CHF 694.2 million, a year-on-year increase of 32.7 per cent (2018: CHF 523.2 million). The figure for 2019 includes a non-recurring tax effect that boosted profit by around CHF 148.5 million.
- The volume of business jumped by 9.6 per cent to CHF 9,509.9 million (2018: CHF 8,678.2 million). As well as robust organic growth, there were two main reasons for this increase: firstly, a far greater volume of premiums in the traditional life business due to the withdrawal of a competitor from business involving comprehensive insurance solutions for occupational pensions in Switzerland and, secondly, the acquisition of Fidea in Belgium.
- Baloise generated an increase in premium income in the non-life insurance business thanks to the acquisition of Fidea NV in Belgium. In 2019, gross premiums rose by 4.0 per cent to CHF 3,542.1 million (2018: CHF 3,405.9 million). EBIT in the non-life business advanced by 7.3 per cent to CHF 398.9 million (2018: CHF 371.7 million). The net combined ratio for the Group improved by 1.3 percentage points to an excellent 90.4 per cent.
- In the life business, gross premiums rose by 20.8 per cent to CHF 4,060.3 million (2018: CHF 3,360.3 million). EBIT attributable to the life business came to CHF 274.8 million. This is lower than the very good prior-year figure of CHF 333.2 million, which had benefited from non-recurring effects. The new business margin in the life business equated to a very satisfying 37.3 per cent thanks to the selective underwriting policy and an improved business mix.
- Baloise’s asset management was in good shape with a net return on insurance assets of 2.3 per cent (2018: 2.2 per cent). This slight increase was attributable to the small year-on-year rise in realised gains. Net inflows from external customers amounted to CHF 841 million (2018: CHF 801 million).
- Strong balance sheet: In 2019, Standard & Poor’s affirmed Baloise’s exceptionally robust capitalisation with an ‘A+’ credit rating. Equity rose to a very healthy CHF 6,715.6 million (31 December 2018: CHF 6,008.2 million), mainly owing to higher unrealised gains on fixed-income investments. In the SST*, a ratio of around 200 per cent is expected as at 1 January 2020.
- The repurchase of three million treasury shares will be completed in April 2020.
- The Board of Directors of Bâloise Holding Ltd intends to ask the 2020 Annual General Meeting to increase the dividend to CHF 6.40 per share (2018: CHF 6.00).
*The SST ratio will be published at the end of April 2020.
Read the whole press release here.