The most important details about the 2022 interim financial statements at a glance:
Profitable growth and strong technical results
helvetia 20.25 strategy: improved business mix and strengthened international orientation
"Helvetia can look back on a successful first half of 2022. We continued along the growth path of recent years, gained market share across the board and achieved strong technical results in doing so. The implementation of our helvetia 20.25 strategy was also very pleasing. We further improved the business mix in Spain and increased our share in Caser. Furthermore, we are successfully accessing additional sources of income with the fee business", explains Philipp Gmür, Group CEO of Helvetia.
Good earnings thanks to extremely robust technical results
Operating in a challenging environment, Helvetia generated a strong IFRS result after tax of CHF 219.5 million in the first half of 2022 (first half of 2021: CHF 262.4 million). This good result was based on extremely robust technical results in all three segments Switzerland, Europe and Specialty Markets. Helvetia increased its technical result in the non-life business to CHF 183.3 million (first half of 2021: CHF 150.2 million). The reason for the improvement was the very good portfolio quality and the successful growth in attractive business lines. In life insurance, Helvetia posted a stable margin after costs of CHF 216.1 million (first half of 2021: CHF 223.3 million). Stronger savings and cost results contributed in particular to that.
Meanwhile, the investment results in the non-life and life business were impacted by financial market developments. These were shaped by uncertainties and volatility in the first half of 2022 relative to the strong performance in the previous year. As a result, the Group's IFRS result after tax was somewhat lower overall than in the successful prior-year period.
Non-life business and fee business post significant growth
The Helvetia Group successfully continued on its growth path with a focus on profitable business areas during the first half of 2022. The business volume amounted to CHF 6,799.9 million (first half of 2021: CHF 6,940.6 million). On a currency-adjusted basis, this represents an increase of 1.1%.
Overall, the Group's non-life business proved a strong growth driver with currency-adjusted growth of 6.6% to CHF 4,170.5 million. In this business area, Helvetia posted gains in all segments on a broad basis across various lines of business. Growth exceeded the market in all country markets. Helvetia was thus again able to expand its market shares in its profitable core business.
In life insurance, business volume amounted to CHF 2,629.4 million (–6.7% in original currency). Here, Helvetia is continuing to pursue its strategy with a focus on capital-light business. For example, the business volume with investment-linked insurance products in the individual life business in Switzerland, Germany and Austria grew considerably, while Helvetia, in line with its strategy, was cautious in selling traditional guarantee products.
The fee business again developed strongly in accordance with the helvetia 20.25 strategy. Fee and commission income was 22.3% up over the prior-year period in original currency at CHF 193.4 million. Helvetia is making very good progress towards achieving its goal of annual fee income of over CHF 350 million by the end of the strategy period. The successful growth can chiefly be attributed to the expansion of the Health & Care ecosystem in Spain and commission income from the Helvetia (CH) Swiss Property Fund.
Improved combined ratio thanks to a resilient portfolio and lower costs
In the non-life business, the Group net combined ratio came to 93.6% (first half of 2021: 94.5%) and thus improved by just about one percentage point. The value is within the strategic target range of 92 to 94 percent. Overall, the non-life business posted strong technical development. The portfolio thus proved resilient in the face of growing inflationary pressure and the further normalisation of claims frequencies in individual business lines following the pandemic. The non-life business also developed positively on the cost side, as the ongoing efficiency measures made their presence felt as did economies of scale due to the profitable growth.
New business margin improves further
The new business margin rose to 3.4% (first half of 2021: 3.0% without Caser), driven by a more beneficial business mix and higher interest rates. It thus exceeded the target range of 2-3%.
Strong capitalisation and comfortable economic dividend capacity
Helvetia's capitalisation remains excellent. Helvetia estimates that its SST ratio rose to above 280% as at 30 June 2022 (1 January 2022: 260%). The strong capitalisation is also reflected in the "A+" rating of rating agency S&P Global Ratings (S&P) as well as the comfortable economic dividend capacity of CHF 0.8 billion (as at 31 December 2021).
Successful strategy implementation enables further profitable growth
A prominent feature of the helvetia 20.25 strategy is profitable growth: with the sale of Sa Nostra Vida in Spain, Helvetia reduced the share of life business in its total business volume, which reduces the capital requirement. At the same time, Helvetia increased its stake in the Spanish insurer Caser to 80%. With both transactions, Helvetia has strengthened the significance of the non-life business and will in future increasingly benefit from the dynamic growth of Caser in this business area.
Helvetia is developing into a European financial services provider for insurance and pension provision. As announced in March, the online insurer Smile is being rolled out in European markets, starting in Austria. Moreover, the business in Liechtenstein under the name Helvetia Global Solutions has been realigned in view of further international growth opportunities. The focus is being placed on the international specialty insurance and reinsurance business as well as the area of embedded insurance.
A further strategic priority is taking new opportunities, especially as regards the growth of fee business. Helvetia is thereby accessing new sources of income, differentiating its business mix and making itself more independent of interest rate developments. "The dynamic growth of the fee business is a particularly good example of the strong further development of Helvetia", explains Philipp Gmür.
Improved sustainability rating
Helvetia wants to contribute to the sustainable development of both the economy and society. Various sustainability successes have been achieved in the past. These achievements are also recognised externally, as shown by the recent upgrading of our ESG rating to "A" by MSCI.