Hartwig Löger joins the Managing Board
Hartwig Löger has been a member of the Managing Board of VIG Holding since 1 January 2021. Löger has more than 35 years of experience in the insurance industry, including Head of Sales at VIG company Donau Versicherung and Chairman of the Managing Board of Uniqa Österreich AG. He was the Minister of Finance for Austria from December 2017 to June 2019.
Franz Fuchs leaves the Managing Board
Franz Fuchs left his position as Member of the Managing Board and Deputy General Manager for VIG Holding at the end of June 2020. He held a variety of managing board positions in the Group for around 17 years. Franz Fuchs will continue to maintain a close relationship and provide advice to the VIG Group and will continue to hold supervisory board positions in VIG insurance companies.
Successful expansion: 30 years, 30 countries
In 1990, VIG Insurance Group was one of the first insurance companies in Western Europe to venture into Central and Eastern Europe after the fall of the Iron Curtain. Today, 30 years later, the Group is operating in 30 countries and has increased its premium volume more than ten times to over EUR 10 billion since the start of its expansion. “We are also taking advantage of opportunities in specific lines of business in countries like Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein and Northern Europe. Our focus, however, remains firmly on the CEE region and the major growth potential it offers”, stated Chairwoman of the Managing Board Elisabeth Stadler.
Acquisition of Aegon companies: VIG Insurance Group expands its market leadership in CEE
In November 2020, VIG Insurance Group signed a purchase agreement with the Dutch company Aegon to acquire its companies in Hungary, Poland, Romania and Turkey for EUR 830 million. The transaction includes insurance companies, pension funds and asset management and service companies. The acquisition will increase the Group’s customer base by 4.5 million, consolidate its leading position in the CEE region and move it up from 6th place to market leader in Hungary. Acquiring the Aegon pension fund companies in Hungary, Poland and Romania will strengthen Group activities in the area of retirement provisions. Due to demographic change, great opportunities are seen in the pension business in these markets. The acquisition allows the Group to enter the life insurance market in Turkey. The transaction is subject to the approvals required under supervisory and competition law and is expected to be formally concluded in the 2nd half of 2021. The acquisition of the Aegon companies is the second largest transaction in the history of VIG Insurance Group’s expansion. The largest was the acquisition of the insurance companies of Erste Group and Sparkassen 13 years ago.
Pilot project: Completely digital motor insurance in Poland
VIG Holding and the Polish VIG company Compensa Non-Life founded the start-up Beesafe that began offering a completely digital motor insurance with optional supplementary modules on the Polish market at the end of 2020. The heart of the project is an IT platform that allows fast and flexible adaptations to meet changing customer needs and market conditions. Both sales and claims settlement take place completely online. This is intended to appeal to a growing digitally oriented customer segment. Poland is the largest property and casualty market and the largest online insurance market in Central and Eastern Europe. If successful, this insurance model shall be expanded to other countries in the Group.
Investment in an innovative car subscription platform
The ViveLaCar start-up from Stuttgart, Germany, offers cars on a subscription basis. People who only want to be mobile for a certain period of time simply pay a fixed monthly fee and can use the car of their choice. VIG Insurance Group acquired around 20% of the shares in this innovative mobility fintech start-up. Among other things, this will provide support for expansion into Austria and Switzerland. “The solution is based on the concept of a sharing economy, and the flexible, fully digital product captures the spirit of the times for unbureaucratic mobility solutions”, stated VIG Managing Board Chairwoman Elisabeth Stadler.
Joint venture for asset management in Poland
The five Polish VIG companies Compensa Life and Non-Life, InterRisk, Vienna Life and Wiener and C-Quadrat Investment AG, which is headquartered in Vienna, jointly founded the company VIG C-Quadrat, located in Warsaw. The joint venture will offer investment services and investment funds in Poland. Growing prosperity in Poland is creating increased demand in this area. “Having our own asset management company in Poland offers better possibilities for creating an attractive range of savings and investment products”, stated Harald Riener, Member of the Managing Board of VIG Holding and Chairman of the Supervisory Board for the joint venture.
VIG Holding invests in Apeiron Biologics AG
VIG Holding has invested around EUR 7 million in the Vienna biotechnology company Apeiron Biologics AG. The investment will be used to fund a study of a drug for severely ill COVID-19 patients co-developed by Upper Austrian Josef Penninger, and for cancer immunology projects. VIG Holding mainly sees this as a social investment and an active contribution to a future worth living. It was the anchor investor in the June 2020 financing round that secured EUR 11.9 million in funding for Apeiron, and now holds slightly more than 3% of the company’s shares.
VIG share price in financial year 2020
VIG shares recorded a good start to the year 2020, reaching their high of EUR 26.35 on 10 January 2020. Stock markets fell dramatically when the coronavirus crisis began at the end of February 2020 and VIG shares were pulled down with them, recording their low for the year of EUR 13.90 on 18 March. In the 2nd to 3rd quarters, VIG shares outperformed the ATX index and the two international sector indices MSCI Europe Insurance and STOXX® Europe 600 Insurance. In the 4th quarter 2020, however, they lost ground and did not benefit from the upswing as much as other shares, gaining around 10% in the last three months of the year, while the ATX index rose by almost a third and the sector indices by around a fifth. VIG shares ended the financial year 2020 at a price of EUR 20.80, corresponding to a loss for the year of 18.1%.
The insurance sector did not have an easy time in the capital market in 2020. Performance was negatively affected by both the recessionary environment and the direct effects of the pandemic on business. Other sectors were admittedly also affected. The industry, however, also suffered greatly due to the low interest rate environment and regulatory interventions.
Current share price information is available via the Share Price Monitor on the VIG website.
Rating: A+ with stable outlook
The international rating agency Standard & Poor’s reaffirmed its A+ rating with stable outlook for VIG Insurance Group in November 2020. As a result, the Group continues to enjoy the best credit rating of all companies in the Austrian index ATX. Its leading market position in most of the Central and Eastern European markets, multi-brand strategy, established distribution networks and broad diversification across countries and products were rated positively. In addition, VIG Group’s capital adequacy was considered excellent and was listed as one of its key strengths in the rating report. It will also be possible to maintain this capital buffer at least at a very strong level in 2021. According to Standard & Poor’s, VIG Group’s property and casualty line of business is less susceptible to losses due to COVID-19 than some of its competitors.
VÖNIX and FTSE4Good: VIG shares included in sustainability indices again
VIG shares remain in the VÖNIX index again in 2020/2021. This Austrian sustainability index includes companies listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange that are leaders with respect to their environmental and social activities. VIG shares have been included in the index since it was launched in 2005. The listing in the international FTSE4Good Index was also reconfirmed in 2020. VIG Insurance Group’s sustainability strategy applies to all of its business activities. The climate change strategy was adopted in 2019 and requires the use of environmental criteria for investments and underwriting in order to promote the transition to an environmentally friendly low-carbon future.
More investments in green bonds
VIG Insurance Group considers social and environmental criteria in its investment strategy. The Group held EUR 238.2 million in green bonds at the end of 2020.
MORE under "Managing board views on ESG" in the statement by Gerhard Lahner
Group premiums of EUR 10.4 billion (+0.3%)
10 billion threshold exceeded in 2020 in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Result before taxes of EUR 345.9 million
Solid result before taxes despite COVID-19-related impairments.
Combined ratio (net) of 95.0%
As a result, the goal of reducing the combined ratio to 95% in the medium term was achieved in 2020.
Dividend per share of 75 cents
A dividend of 75 cents per share will be proposed at the Annual General Meeting under the dividend policy which foresees a distribution of 30 to 50% of Group net profits to shareholders.
MORE on page 149 of the notes to the financial statements
Solvency ratio of 238%
VIG Insurance Group therefore continues to have excellent capitalisation.
MORE on page 130 of the notes to the financial statements