2021 at a glance
The VIG Group achieved more growth and more innovation, made more investments and developed the new VIG 25 strategic programme in 2021. This shows that the Group is a reliable partner for its stakeholders even in turbulent times.
VIG Holding strengthened its Managing Board team in 2021 and successfully recruited experienced experts and managers for new areas that were created as part of the VIG 25 strategic programme.
Hartwig Löger: Deputy General Manager
Hartwig Löger has been a member of the Managing Board of VIG Holding since 1 January 2021. As of 15 Septmeber, he was appointed Deputy for General Manager Elisabeth Stadler. He has more than 35 years of experience in the insurance industry and was the Austrian Minister of Finance from December 2017 to June 2019.
Markus Deimel: Head of VIG Corporate IT
Since 1 January 2022 Markus Deimel, who has a degree in business engineering, is the head of the VIG Corporate IT division as Group Chief Information Officer. He will continue to hold his previous position as co-managing director of the internal Group software company twinformatics and ensure coordination with the VIG Group.
Carsten Dehner: Head of VIG Holding IT
Since 1 January 2022 Carsten Dehner is the head of the new VIG Holding IT department. He was previously responsible for the Data Management and Processes department in the Group. Carsten Dehner holds a degree in mathematics and will also retain his position as a member of the managing board of VITEC, which develops and implements SAP solutions for the VIG Group. He has held this position since 2017.
Bernhard Pfahnl: Head of Digitalisation, Finance and Risk
Bernhard Pfahnl is the head of the new Digitalisation, Finance and Risk department, which is in the area of responsibility of Managing Board member and Chief Financial and Risk Officer (CFRO) Liane Hirner. In the long run, the department will function as a competence centre for further development of Group systems in the risk and finance area. Pfahnl was previously an assistant to Managing Board member Liane Hirner and head of the IFRS 17/9 programme, among other things.
Robert Wasner: Head of Insurance Life/Non Life Retail
Robert Wasner is the head of the Insurance Life/Non Life Retail department, which is in the area of responsibility of Managing Board member and CTO Peter Thirring. The department will provide assistance with actuarial matters within the Group. Wasner has a degree in mathematics and many years of international experience in the insurance industry, including recent managing board positions.
Process optimisation and the use of new technologies are driving the digital transformation in the VIG Group and contributing to the continuous further development of services. VIG Holding forces the exchange of best practices between companies in order to promote innovation in the Group.
Around 70 ideas submitted to VIG Xelerate
The Group-wide innovative competition VIG Xelerate promotes a culture of openness and curiosity. VIG companies have submitted around 70 projects since the beginning of the initiative in 2017 and VIG Holding has provided around EUR 9 million in support for the most promising projects. Prizes were awarded for seven forward-looking ideas in 2021.
Digital household insurance
The fully digital "WohnenNext" household insurance from Austrian VIG insurance company Donau Versicherung allows customers to easily purchase insurance tailored to their needs in a few minutes – any time and anywhere. "Austria's quickest insurance" focuses on innovative design, customer experience, user-friendliness and automated background processing of required processes without human intervention for the benefit of customers and the company. This idea was also recognised with a prize in the internal Group innovation competition VIG Xelerate in 2021.
Vehicle assessment by photo
The Drive X service allows customers of the company BTA Baltic who have purchased own damage insurance to have a digital assessment performed for their insured vehicles. Instead of visiting a BTA branch as was previously required, they now receive a link on their smartphones that can be used to upload photographs which are then processed by artificial intelligence software to record any damages.
More than 100,000 Beesafe customers
At the end of 2021, Beesafe already had more than 100,000 customers. The first purely digital motor insurance company in the VIG Group was founded in Poland at the end of 2020 and performs fully automated claims processing. The product has now been expanded to include household insurance. An international roll-out is planned for Beesafe.
Austria's best insurance app
The losleben app allows customers of the Austrian VIG insurance company Wiener Städtische to easily process invoices for treatments, medicine, remedies and certificates for health spa or rehabilitation centre visits with a few clicks under their health insurance. Claims can also be easily submitted for household and homeowner insurance. The app was named Austria's best insurance app in 2021.
In addition to custom-tailored insurance solutions, Wiener Städtische is also developing a wide range of intelligent services for the customer journey in the healthcare ecosystem. In addition to its losleben app, it offers other services such as XUND, a free digital symptom checking tool that identifies the most likely cause of complaints. One service seamlessly connects to the next. In this way, Wiener Städtische also helps with the selection of appropriate doctors. If questions remain unanswered, customers can take advantage of the "results interpreter" for laboratory results, the digital consultation or the second opinion. Fitness fans can use free training videos on the website and customers can also receive a free screening for long COVID.
The VIG Group cooperates with Erste Group in eleven CEE countries. Around EUR 1.4 billion in premiums was generated this way in 2021, representing an increase of 5.3%. In addition to traditional bancassurance, e.g. in bank branches, the Erste Group now also offers VIG products via its digital platform George in six countries – Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary and Croatia. Accident, health, homeowner and household insurance have also been available through this distribution channel since 2021. Around 100,000 policies were purchased online via George in 2021.
Investments in start-ups
The VIG Group systematically searches for innovative solutions and also works with start-ups to achieve this objective. Cooperations with the innovation platform Plug and Play and Digital Impact Labs Leipzig, for example, provide access to new impulses.
Establishment of InsurTech funds
The VIG Group established the Cologne-based investment company Venpace with three other insurance companies in 2021. This InsurTech fund invests in early-stage start-ups that are working on predefined topics. The initial focus is on life insurance and digital points of contact with customers.
New deep tech investment
The VIG Group has made a seven-digit investment in IST Cube (EuVECA). This venture capital fund works together with the IST Austria research institute in Klosterneuburg. It invests in deep tech companies whose product ideas are based on science and technology research.
Housing ecosystem with Gropyus
VIG Insurance Group has acquired an interest in the real estate start-up Gropyus. The company plans, builds and manages buildings. Sustainable materials, especially wood, reduce the environmental footprint, while automation and digitalisation reduce costs. Gropyus aims to make sustainable and, going forward, affordable housing possible for everyone and currently operates in Austria and Germany. As part of the VIG participation, these activities are to be expanded to other countries in the CEE region.
Motor ecosystem with car subscriptions
Wiener Städtische is the insurer for all vehicles booked through the Vive la Car platform. The VIG Group acquired an interest in the German start-up in the previous year. It currently offers "subscriptions" for cars, i.e. for a certain period of time at a fixed monthly price, in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Expansion into Poland is planned for 2022. The car subscription platform will become part of a VIG motor ecosystem in the future.
The strategic objectives of the VIG Group include expanding the leading market position in the CEE region, sustainability objectives and the creating sustainable value. The VIG 25 strategic programme helps to achieve further dynamic growth of the Group.
VIG 25 strategic programme
After Agenda 2020, the VIG Group set a course for the next five years in its VIG 25 strategic programme. Numerous initiatives are aimed in three focus areas: more efficiency, more customer proximity and more value added. The programme was developed with the CEOs of the Group companies. More information on VIG 25 is available here.
Joining the UN Global Compact
The VIG Group joined the Global Compact in March 2021, thereby making a commitment to the ten principles of this UN initiative for corporate responsibility and sustainability – including the areas of environmental protection, labour standards and human rights. As impressively shown in this year's sustainability report (link to the PDF), sustainability plays a central role in the VIG Group.
Aegon business in the CEE and cooperation with Corvinus
The VIG Group is always open to opportunities to expand its leading position in Central and Eastern Europe, including by suitable acquisitions. It signed a share purchase agreement for the acquisition of the CEE business of the Dutch company Aegon N.V. at the end of 2020. The Hungarian Ministry of the Interior, however, refused to provide the necessary regulatory approval. After intensive negotiations, the Group entered into a cooperation agreement with the Hungarian state-owned holding company Corvinus at the beginning of 2022. Corvinus will hold a 45% interest in a specially established VIG holding company in which with the Group company Union Biztosító and local Aegon companies will be merged in several stages. The VIG Group will assume operational management with a controlling majority interest of 55%.
A war in Europa is taking place in Ukraine. The VIG Group is part of the world community standing united in the spirit of humanity. VIG insurance companies will, of course, offer support and help whenever possible.
VIG Family Fund
The VIG Group is represented by three insurance companies in the Ukrainian market. Right after the war started, support activities got coordinated with employees from the Ukrainian companies. VIG management also proactively set up a VIG Family Fund in which all Group companies and employees can participate. As a basis, it was endowed with EUR 5 million, around 1% of the pre-tax profit in 2021. The goal of the fund is to support directly affected families of Ukrainian Group companies, especially in the rebuilding process.
Insurance companies have effective ways to help shape a future worth living. Investments play a major role.
First sustainability bond
In March 2021, the VIG Group became the first insurance company in Europe to issue a sustainability bond. The bond had a volume of EUR 500 million. In addition to improving the long-term financial planning of the Group, the capital is also being used for investments in both social and environmental projects. A sustainability bond framework specifies the criteria these projects must fulfil. More information is available here.
More green bonds
The VIG Group considerably increased its investment in green bonds in 2021. At the end of the year, it held EUR 436.5 million in "green" bonds used to fund environmentally friendly projects. In 2018, it was EUR 70 million. This shows that the VIG Group is systematically implementing its investment strategy of consciously increasing environmental investments.
VIG shares have traded on the Vienna Stock Exchange for more than 25 years. The Company has shown it is a reliable partner by paying shareholders a dividend each year in the past without exception. The shares have had a second listing on the Prague stock exchange since 2008.
VIG share performance in 2021
VIG shares started the year well, but underperformed the STOXX® Europe 600 Insurance sector index during the 1st quarter. VIG shares outperformed the sector index, at times significantly, in the 2nd and 3rd quarters of 2021, while once again underperforming in the 4th quarter. VIG shares closed the year at a price of EUR 24.90. This represents a year-on-year increase of 19.7%, which is significantly higher than the performance achieved by the sector index.
Rating: A+ with stable outlook
The international rating agency Standard & Poor's again confirmed its A+ rating with stable outlook for the VIG Group in December 2021. As a result, the Group remains the best-rated insurance company in the ATX index. The report by the rating agency refers to the stable operating performance achieved by the VIG Group, which benefited from good organic growth, continued strict underwriting discipline and a conservative reinsurance policy.
VIG shares in sustainability index
VIG shares also continued to be listed in the VÖNIX sustainability index in 2020/21, which includes companies listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange that are leaders with respect to environmental and social activities. VIG shares have been included in the index since it was launched in 2005. They were also listed in the international FTSE4Good sustainability index starting in mid-2007, but were removed from the index in 2021 because the Company's market capitalisation was too low.
Key figures for 2021
VIG Insurance Group demonstrated its reliability again in 2021. Significant improvements were recorded for all key figures compared to the previous year.
EUR 11.0 billion group premiums (+5.5%)
EUR 11 billion threshold exceeded for the first time.
EUR 511.3 million result before taxes (+47.8%)
Strong result approaching the pre-crisis level of 2019.
EUR 2.94 earnings per share
Top result in spite of the pandemic
Dividend of EUR 1.25 per share
A dividend of EUR 1.25 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.
94.2% combined Ratio
Combined ratio improved to a very good level in spite of weather-related claims.
Solvency ratio of 250%
VIG Insurance Group therefore continues to have excellent capital resources.
10.9% operating return on equity (operating RoE)
This key figure shows the profitability of the Group and was first calculated for financial year 2021.