Baloise Holding AG / Key word(s): Annual Results
09-March-2023 / 07:00 CET/CEST
Release of an ad hoc announcement pursuant to Art. 53 LR (SIX) and pursuant to Art. 16 KR (BX)
The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.
Basel, 9 March 2023.
“The global economy faced persistent challenges in 2022 that will affect the business activities of many companies this year too. Against the backdrop of these market conditions, I am especially proud that we can once again present solid financial results for 2022. In the attractive non-life business, Baloise generated growth in local currency terms and improved the profit contribution despite the strengthening of reserves to reflect inflation. We achieved an excellent level of earnings in the life business. This resulted in profit attributable to shareholders of CHF 548.0 million. Based on the high operational profitability and reliable cash remittance, we intend to request to increase the dividend by CHF 0.40 to CHF 7.40. This confirms once again that Baloise is a reliable and attractive investment. Over the past 20 years, we have continuously increased the dividend, one of only a very few European insurance companies to do so.”
Gert De Winter, CEO of Baloise
Annual financial results in brief
Profit attributable to shareholders for 2022 amounted to CHF 548.0 million (2021: CHF 588.4 million). The rapid rise in inflation in 2022 resulted in non-recurring effects in the non-life business that had a net negative impact of CHF 37.2 million on profit.
The volume of business amounted to CHF 8,760.9 million owing to a lower volume of premiums in the traditional life insurance business and unfavourable currency effects (2021: CHF 9,591.1 million). Adjusted for currency effects, this equated to a decrease of 5.1 per cent.
The volume of premiums in the non-life business rose by a healthy 2.4 per cent, adjusted for currency effects. In Swiss francs, the volume of premiums fell slightly to CHF 3,969.1 million (2021: CHF 4,063.4 million).
The net combined ratio of the Group was 91.9 per cent (2021: 92.6 per cent). Non-recurring effects during the reporting year, particularly the strengthening of reserves in view of inflation, had a negative impact on the net combined ratio, adding 1.4 percentage points.
Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) in the non-life business came to CHF 321.7 million, which represented a good year-on-year improvement of 5.9 per cent (2021: CHF 303.9 million).
The level of gross premiums in the life business reflected the continuing trend towards partially autonomous occupational pension solutions. As a result, the volume of premiums in the traditional life insurance business fell by 6.8 per cent year on year to CHF 3,160.8 million (2021: CHF 3,389.7 million).
EBIT attributable to the life business came to a very healthy CHF 376.7 million, which was down only slightly on the exceptionally strong prior-year figure (2021: CHF 406.7 million).
The new business margin in the life business stood at a very solid 53.5 per cent in 2022 (2021: 39.0 per cent). The interest rate margin improved to 117 basis points (2021: 108 basis points) thanks to a rise in current income.
Asset management delivered a net return on insurance assets of 2.0 per cent (2021: 2.2 per cent). Net new assets from third parties increased once again, rising by around CHF 1 billion.
Baloise’s capitalisation remained robust. We expect the SST ratio as at 1 January 2023 to be over 230 per cent (2021: 220 per cent). Consolidated equity amounted to CHF 4,552.1 million (30 June 2022: CHF 5,021.0 million).
In June 2022, Standard & Poor’s confirmed its rating of A+ for the Baloise Group.
In 2022, the cash remittance increased by 9 per cent to CHF 471 million (2021: CHF 431 million). The Board of Directors intends to request to increase the dividend by CHF 0.40 to CHF 7.40 per share.
Reporting in accordance with the new IFRS 17 and 9 accounting standards will be published for the first time in the half-year financial statements on 20 September 2023. We will provide an update for capital market participants on 29 June 2023. Initial information on the transition can be found in this PDF.
Overview of key figures
CHF million as at 31 December
Profit attributable to shareholders
Non-life – gross premiums written
Non-life – EBIT
Non-life – net combined ratio
Life – gross premiums written
Life – investment-type premiums
Life – EBIT
Average investments (insurance)
Net investment yield (insurance)
Asset Management & Banking – EBIT
SST ratio (as at 1 January)
Dividend per share (gross)
Baloise is sustainably successful in a challenging environment
Profit attributable to shareholders for 2022 amounted to CHF 548.0 million, a year-on-year fall of 6.9 per cent (2021: CHF 588.4 million). There was a non-recurring positive effect on profit from reserves that were no longer needed in view of the planned sale of the German hospital liability business and from the interest-rate-related reversal of reserves for the accident and health insurance business in Switzerland. Conversely, the strengthening of reserves to reflect the increase in inflation had an adverse effect on profit. These effects together had a net negative impact of CHF 37.2 million on profit. There was a particularly strong profit contribution from the Swiss life business, which benefited from a rise in interest rates and the continual optimisation of the life insurance portfolio. Overall, all operating segments contributed to Baloise’s sound profit.
The Group’s earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) amounted to CHF 705.3 million (2021: CHF 722.5 million).
The Group’s business volume declined year on year owing to shifts within the traditional life insurance business involving occupational pensions, lower volumes in the investment-linked life insurance business and currency effects. The total volume of business went down by 8.7 per cent to CHF 8,760.9 million (2021: CHF 9,591.1 million). In local currency terms, the decrease was 5.1 per cent.
Higher profit contribution from non-life business; strengthening of reserves to reflect inflation takes its toll on the combined ratio
Adjusted for currency effects, the non-life business generated organic growth in all markets. In Swiss francs, there was a fall of 2.3 per cent to CHF 3,969.1 million (2021: CHF 4,063.4 million), whereas the increase in local currency terms was 2.4 per cent.
Gross premiums written in the Swiss market rose by a healthy 2.7 per cent to CHF 1,429.9 million (2021: CHF 1,392.7 million).
The Belgian unit recorded modest year-on-year growth of 0.7 per cent in local currency terms. In Swiss francs, gross premiums written decreased by 6.4 per cent to CHF 1,538.9 million (2021: CHF 1,644.3 million).
In Germany, we achieved very satisfying growth of 5.2 per cent in local currency terms. In Swiss francs, there was a fall of 2.2 per cent to CHF 802.5 million (2021: CHF 821.0 million).
Business in Luxembourg recorded gross premiums written of CHF 141.8 million. This amounted to growth of 2.7 per cent in local currency terms and a decrease of 4.5 per cent in Swiss francs (2021: CHF 148.5 million).
Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) in the non-life business rose by 5.9 per cent to CHF 321.7 million despite the strengthening of reserves to cushion the effects of inflation (2021: CHF 303.9 million). The aforementioned non-recurring effects added 1.4 percentage points to the net combined ratio. Nonetheless, this ratio improved to a robust 91.9 per cent (2021: 92.6 per cent), partly due to the lower level of claims incurred compared with 2021 and partly due to a reduction in costs.
Another very good profit contribution from the life business thanks to the improved interest-rate situation and optimisation of the business mix
The volume of life insurance business fell by 13.3 per cent in Swiss francs and by 10.6 per cent in local currency terms to stand at CHF 4,791.8 million (2021: CHF 5,527.7 million). This decrease was primarily attributable to the emerging trend of a preference for partially autonomous solutions in the Swiss group life business over the comprehensive insurance model.
We are therefore seeing a reduction in premiums in the traditional life insurance business, which declined by 6.8 per cent to CHF 3,160.8 million in 2022 (2021: CHF 3,389.7 million). The bulk of this decrease was attributable to business in Switzerland, which registered a fall of 7.9 per cent to CHF 2,512.6 million (2021: CHF 2,727.8 million).
In Germany, the volume of premiums grew by 4.2 per cent to CHF 385.4 million in local currency terms (2021: CHF 397.9 million) as a result of increased new business involving biometric products and pension products. In Swiss francs, the volume of premiums contracted by 3.1 per cent.
Gross premiums written in the life business in Belgium rose by a good 3.4 per cent to CHF 195.7 million (2021: CHF 189.3 million). In local currency terms, the increase was a substantial 11.2 per cent.
Business declined in Luxembourg, resulting in a premium volume of CHF 66.9 million (2021: CHF 74.5 million).
The volume of investment-type premiums slumped by 23.7 per cent year on year to CHF 1,631.0 million (2021: CHF 2,138.0 million). As observed in the recent past, the ‘freedom of service’ business – which is mainly operated from Luxembourg – is sensitive to market uncertainty and tends to react with a high level of volatility. Capital market conditions in 2022 and the significant uncertainty provoked by the war in Europe resulted in a sharp fall in premiums in the reporting year.
EBIT in the life business remained at a high level, amounting to a very healthy CHF 376.7 million in 2022 (2021: CHF 406.7 million). Although this was down slightly year on year, the prior-year figure had been exceptionally high owing to the very upbeat conditions in the capital markets in 2021. The profit contribution was excellent once again in 2022 thanks to continual optimisation of the business mix, profit contributions from our property portfolio and the improved interest-rate situation.
The new business margin in the life business swelled to 53.5 per cent in 2022 owing to the rise in interest rates (2021: 39.0 per cent).
The interest rate margin improved to a solid 117 basis points (2021: 108 basis points). This increase was due to higher current income, whereas the average guaranteed rate of return was on a par with 2021.
Buoyed by the trend towards partially autonomous collective foundations, the performance of the Perspectiva collective foundation was very satisfying in 2022. Perspectiva’s customer base continued to see steady growth in its eighth year of operation and included 4,427 companies with around 19,600 policyholders at the end of 2022. The foundation assets stood at approximately CHF 1.4 billion. Despite the prevailing cautious sentiment, the trend towards partially autonomous pension solutions remains intact.
Insurance assets: solid investment yield despite highly challenging market conditions
The war in Ukraine and rising inflation dominated the global economy in 2022. This triggered sharp rises in interest rates in the bond market. Moreover, the global equity market lost almost 20 per cent in value over the course of the year. Given the very challenging market conditions, the gains on the investment of insurance assets were at a healthy level at CHF 1,123.0 million (2021: CHF 1,351.2 million). Moreover, current income was on a par with the prior-year level at CHF 1,085.7 million as a result of further reallocations from bonds to private debt (2021: CHF 1,088.0 million). Gross impairment losses were up by CHF 76.9 million year on year and were mainly attributable to adverse market movements. The gain of CHF 414.0 million recognised in the income statement was therefore very satisfying (2021: CHF 507.4 million). Higher currency hedging costs and the depreciation of the euro against the Swiss franc caused an additional year-on-year reduction in profit of CHF 66.1 million. Nonetheless, the investment yield on insurance assets held up well at 2.0 per cent (2021: 2.2 per cent). Unrealised gains fell by CHF 5.7 billion due to significantly higher interest rates and spreads and due to the correction in the equity markets. The IFRS investment performance on insurance assets– which includes unrealised net gains and losses on investments but excludes gains and losses on held-to-maturity debt instruments – was minus 8.1 per cent, representing a decrease compared to the 1.4 per cent IFRS investment performance in 2021.
As at 31 December 2022, the total assets under management (AuM) at Baloise Asset Management stood at CHF 55.8 billion, a decrease of 15.1 per cent compared with the end of 2021 (31 December 2021: CHF 65.7 billion). This reduction was attributable to rising interest rates and the resulting decrease in value of the bond portfolio in the insurance assets, the downtrend in the equity markets, and the weakness of the euro against the Swiss franc. The favourable business mix meant that fee income remained at a good level despite the decrease in AuM.
Continued expansion of third-party business
The existing growth trend remained intact in spite of the generally difficult investment market. Net new assets in the business with external customers amounted to CHF 960.0 million in 2022, which matched the volume of growth in the prior year. Assets under management declined by 5.9 per cent, from CHF 13.4 billion to CHF 12.6 billion, owing to market conditions. Activities in the institutional investor business included the successful launch of a private market strategy for debt finance of infrastructure, in connection with which the first transaction was completed in an amount of EUR 75 million. The Group-wide Baloise brand was launched in the reporting period and, fittingly, collaboration between Asset Management and Banking again contributed to the volume of net new assets in 2022. We were entrusted with the management of assets of CHF 268.5 million in the reporting period.
An attractive investment for the past 160 years – Baloise raises its dividend for the 13th time in 20 years, taking it to CHF 7.40
Consolidated equity went down from CHF 5,021.0 million as at 30 June 2022 to CHF 4,552.1 million at the end of 2022. As communicated in August 2022, the significant rise in interest rates during the year led to downward adjustments of the valuation of fixed-income investments. This in turn had an adverse effect on equity from an accounting perspective. In the previous ten years, equity had generally grown continuously due to falling interest rates and the resulting higher valuation of investments with more attractive yields. As expected, 2022 saw the inversion of this effect for the first time in a while owing to the sustained increase in interest rates.
However, Baloise’s capital adequacy remains comfortable, as was evident when Standard & Poor’s reaffirmed its rating of A+ for the Baloise Group in June 2022. It awarded this credit rating in recognition of Baloise’s excellent capitalisation – which is comfortably above the AAA level according to the S&P capital model – as well as its high operational profitability, robust risk management and solid competitive position in its profitable core markets. The complete report is available at www.baloise.com/ratings.
In the Swiss Solvency Test (SST)*, a ratio of over 230 per cent is expected as at 1 January 2023.
The Board of Directors of Bâloise Holding Ltd is optimistic about Baloise’s long-term success in view of its strong operational profitability. It therefore proposes to the 2023 Annual General Meeting that the dividend be raised by CHF 0.40 to CHF 7.40 per share. This means that Baloise will have raised its dividend a total of 13 times in the past 20 years. The average annual dividend increase over the past ten years is over 5 per cent, underlining that we are an attractive investment with long-term success.
*The SST ratio will be published at the end of April 2023.
Further growth through innovation, advancement of the sustainable business strategy, first cost savings achieved
In the first year of the new strategic programme, Simply Safe: Season 2, Baloise gained around 173,000 new customers. Ecosystem innovation initiatives played a major part in this increase.
The innovation projects and the Home and Mobility ecosystems generated revenue of CHF 82.5 million (2021: CHF 70.4 million). Baloise’s digital insurer FRIDAY made a significant contribution, with a premium volume of CHF 51.9 million. In local currency terms, FRIDAY grew by 5.9 per cent.
In addition, we are also seeing the first efficiency gains, which – adjusted for growth – have amounted to around CHF 50 million since launch of the second phase of Simply Safe.
In 2022, existing sustainability criteria were tightened and embedded in more of the Company’s business processes. They were also reviewed from a quality and usability perspective. In this context, we are introducing more transparent reporting on sustainability criteria in our underwriting processes. With a view to the future, we updated our Responsible Investment Policy to reflect the changing regulatory environment and it came into effect on 1 January 2023. The ESG ratings from MSCI and Sustainalytics improved once again in 2022. Baloise now holds an AA rating from MSCI, which is the second highest level in MSCI’s rating system. Sustainalytics lowered Baloise’s risk exposure again, and it now stands at 20.4.
In 2022, Baloise entered a new strategic phase, Simply Safe: Season 2, which continues until 2025. We are building on the successes of the first strategic phase and continuing to focus our ambitious objectives on our stakeholders: customers, shareholders and employees. By the end of 2025, we are aiming to have gained a total of 1.5 million new customers, to have generated CHF 2 billion in cash (of which 60–80 per cent is to be distributed as dividends) and to be in the top 5 per cent of the best companies to work for in Europe. A substantially expanded benchmark of companies from various sectors across Europe was used to measure the latter target in 2022. The baseline measurement places us in the top 36 per cent of these companies.
“Our Company is celebrating its 160th anniversary this year. Over the past century and a half, Baloise has repeatedly demonstrated its resilience and ability to adapt. I firmly believe that this will help us to live up to the expectations of all our stakeholders despite the impact of the war in Europe, stubbornly high inflation and disrupted supply chains, and we will continue to build on the successes we have achieved in the past. This would not be possible without the huge commitment shown day after day by all Baloise employees, and I would like to offer my sincere thanks to them for their efforts,” concludes CEO Gert De Winter.
09:15 – 10:15 CET: Annual results media conference
Microsoft Teams video call
Dial-in number: +41 (0)43 210 5719, conference call ID: 782 875 668#
11:30 – 13:00 CET: Conference call for analysts
Dial-in number: +41 (0)58 310 5000
Link to webcast
Tuesday, 28 March 2023
Thursday, 29 June 2023
Baloise, Aeschengraben 21, 4002 Basel, Switzerland
Email: email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
Media Relations: Tel: +41 (0)58 285 8214
Investor Relations: Tel: +41 (0)58 285 8181
The focus is firmly on the future at Baloise. We aim to make tomorrow more straightforward, safer and more carefree for our customers, and we are taking responsibility for this today. Baloise is more than just a traditional insurance company. Through our smart finance and insurance solutions, complemented by a whole host of innovative offerings for the home and personal transport, we offer a complete service package. Dependable support, reliable cooperation and trust-based relationships are key aspects of our stakeholder interaction. We take care of financial matters so that our customers can concentrate on the important things in their lives and can find inspiration in the everyday. Baloise, a European company founded in 1863, currently employs 8,000 people at its headquarters in Basel (Switzerland) and across its subsidiaries in Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg. Our services generated a business volume of around CHF 8.8 billion in 2022 and a profit of CHF 548 million. Bâloise Holding Ltd shares (BALN) are listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange.
End of Inside Information