Baloise’s unique business model in Switzerland meets customer needs

Basel/Solothurn, March 28, 2019. In times of wide-ranging and therefore increasingly complex offers for financial and insurance services, Baloise is positioning itself with a unique business model in Switzerland that combines insurance and banking. In the context of the Simply Safe strategy, Baloise Insurance and Baloise Bank SoBa consistently focus their services on the benefit to the customer: by incorporating experts from insurance, financial planning, pension provision and asset management, they guarantee integrated and personal advice from a single source throughout Switzerland. Financing of home ownership forms a crucial part of this comprehensive advisory service. It results in tailor-made solutions that are geared towards customers’ life situations and financial requirements. The combination is proving to be a success, as can be seen from the figures for the 2018 financial year.

Highlights of the annual financial results 2018 of Baloise Insurance and Baloise Bank SoBa

Insurance*

  • Very positive results despite the continued challenging low interest rate environment:
    Very good technical results and outstanding net combined ratio of 84.5% in the non-life business, despite a higher claims burden. The challenging market volatility impacted on the financial results.

  • Focus in the group life business on semi-autonomous personal provision solutions:
    Continued strong growth with the semi-autonomous Perspectiva product line. Within the comprehensive insurance model, Baloise is pursuing a selective underwriting policy as a result of the statutory and economic conditions.

  • Measures aimed at acquiring new customers are making an impact:
    Encouraging growth in the number of customers in 2018. The main drivers in the insurance business are the younGo product lines and the insurance solutions in partnership with KASKO.

* All figures in accordance with IFRS.

Bank**

  • Increase in net profit: Baloise Bank SoBa also continued its growth trend in 2018 with an increase of 1.3% to CHF 23.7 million.

  • Dual “insurance and banking” business model as a driver of growth: Asset management and consultancy mandates increased by 38% to 2,193 mandates.

  • Interest-related business defies the historically low market rates: The Bank managed to maintain interest-earning business at CHF 77.6 million in an environment that remains challenging.

  • Good development in deposit volumes: New deposits rose by CHF 217 million.

** All figures in accordance with local GAAP.

Contact

Portrait Roberto Brunazzi

Roberto Brunazzi

Head of Media Relations

Phone

+41 58 285 82 14

Email

media.relations@baloise.com

“I am very happy once again with this very positive development of our business model that is unique in Switzerland. The major innovative strength shown by our employees meant that in 2018 we were able to launch forward-looking insurance solutions, break new ground in claims prevention and simplify certain aspects of the claims notification process for customers. Yet it is not just in the area of insurance benefits that we are bringing our Simply Safe strategy to life for our customers. While the notion of ‘ecosystem’ is only just making its way into the financial industry, our customers are already benefiting today from a large number of insurance and financial services,” says Michael Müller, CEO of Baloise Insurance Switzerland of the 2018 annual financial results.

Jürg Ritz, CEO of Baloise Bank SoBa, adds: “The insurance and banking business model is on the road to success. We managed to show strong growth once again in 2018 in consultancy mandates, which is indicative of the high customer benefit here. Integrated advice is crucial in terms of avoiding gaps in cover in all of our customers’ life situations. With the prime example of property purchases for instance, financing and risk coverage considerations play an equivalent fundamental role.”

Summary of business performance in the Swiss market

Business performance for Baloise Insurance and Baloise Bank SoBa

Figures in CHF million      
  2017 2018 +/-%
Business volume Baloise Switzerland* 4,341 4,190 -3.5
Of which: life 3,016 2,840 -5.8
Of which: non-life 1,325 1,349 +1.9
Profit before borrowing costs and taxes
Baloise Switzerland*
618 554 -10.4
Total assets Baloise Bank SoBa** 7,519 7,708 +2.5%
Net profit Baloise Bank SoBa** 23.4 23.7 +1.3

* All figures in accordance with IFRS.
** All figures in accordance with local GAAP.

Overview of business performance

The level of profit at Baloise Switzerland was again outstanding this year, although below the record result of the previous year that had been impacted by major one-off effects. The banking business with Baloise Bank SoBa continues to perform successfully and reflects the unique insurance and banking business model in Switzerland. Asset management and consultancy mandates saw record growth to 2,193 mandates (+38%). New funds at Baloise Bank SoBa brokered by insurance field sales rose to CHF 99.4 million. Deposits rose by CHF 217 million (6%) overall. The trend towards asset management mandates remains steady despite turbulent developments on the markets.

The high quality of the non-life portfolio could be seen once again in the insurance business through the excellent combined ratio and the good technical results. This was despite the fact that major claims along with other factors resulted in a higher claims burden. Business volumes fell overall by 3.5% to CHF 4,189.5 million. This decline is exclusively down to developments in the traditional life insurance business, which is only being entered into under restrictions in line with the strategy based on the interest rate situation.

Premium volumes in the non-life segment increased once again on the previous year and were 1.9% higher in 2018 than the previous year at CHF 1,349.2 million. The increase in new customers which was also achieved through the younGo product line is also welcome. At the same time, EBIT increased by 5.8% in the non-life business to CHF 317.5 million. At an outstanding 84.5%, the combined ratio is just 1.0 percentage points above the extremely good figure for the previous year. The claims burden was higher in 2018 compared with the previous year, e.g. as a result of Storm Eleanor.

A fall in premium volumes is recorded in the life segment for the 2018 financial year in line with the strategy. This fall amounted to CHF 176.3 million or 6.1% lower at CHF 2,728.0 million (2017: CHF 2,904.3 million). Volumes of single premiums fell in the individual life business, with the regrouping in an investment vehicle of Baloise Bank SoBa and therefore rising deposits at the Bank the main cause of this effect. At CHF 382.3 million, single premiums in the period were at a similar level to the previous year (2017: CHF 383.5 million). The semi-autonomous Perspectiva Collective Foundation continues to show strong growth: it included 1,345 affiliated companies at the end of the 2018 financial year (2017: 749 companies). EBIT in the life business amounts to CHF 176.9 million (2017: CHF 264.8 million). The significant difference compared with the previous year is attributable to lower earnings from investments as a result of market volatilities in 2018 and gains realised on investments.

The positive earnings trend at Baloise Bank SoBa continued with an increase of1.3% to CHF 23.7 million**. Interest earnings remained largely stable at CHF 77.6 million (-0.8%). Aside from an excellent credit risk performance, the lower interest expense also supported interest earnings. Earnings from commission and service fees fell on the previous year to CHF 18.7 million (-8.6%). Increased costs of acquisition for the new volumes generated were reflected in the commission expense.

Innovation in insurance and banking as a growth driver

Baloise continued to strengthen its core business in 2018 with new simple and digital insurance solutions: For instance, in partnership with the start-up KASKO, it is now offering insurance for a range of more than 60 individual items of property. Taking out the insurance is an intuitive process that takes less than two minutes. In addition, cyber insurance for SMEs followed on from the cyber insurance launched successfully for private costumers in 2017. Targeted prevention is also used to raise awareness in companies of the new risks posed by cybercrime. Partnerships with banks, the car service direct comparison site Carhelper, and the party platform Club City also enabled further interfaces with the customer to be established, which form part of the Group’s efforts to expand the four ecosystems “Mobility”, “Home”, “Life/Pensions/Health” and “Business Services” even further.

Strengthening of the core business through innovative insurance solutions

Within the claims area, Baloise’s new online claims notification system is revolutionising interaction between the customer and the insurer: customers file their claims directly via their smartphone in just a few minutes with the help of guided chat. No technical jargon or policy numbers required. Baloise launched its “Cloud Seeder” in 2018, a project set up for three years aimed at exercising hail suppression from the air in order to minimise hail damage. The project was tested thoroughly beforehand to ensure its harmlessness to humans and the environment, and ETH Zurich (Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science) is providing scientific support.

Radical process simplifications for the customer, plus prevention of hail damage

Following on from the launch of the online and mobile mortgage, Baloise Bank SoBa has expanded its range of mortgages to include the individually customised modular mortgage. This is a mortgage product that allows for individual customer features. Customers can acquire flexibility and security through optional modules, e.g. safeguards against rising interest rates or traditional insurance coverage. E-banking has also been simplified and made more secure in order to take into account customers’ digitalisation requirements in the area of payment transactions. The new and intuitive e-banking includes a simple and secure fingerprint or facial recognition login procedure as chosen by the user. Unlike with other banks, customers of Baloise Bank SoBa can use Twint and Apple Pay or Samsung Pay as payment options.

Innovation in banking: Modular mortgages and new e-banking successfully launched

The Baloise Group is more than just a traditional insurance company. The changing security, safety and service needs of society in the digital age lie at the heart of its business activities. The 7,200 or so employees of Baloise therefore focus on the wishes of their customers. The best possible customer service, combined with innovative products and services, makes Baloise the first choice for people who want to feel ‘simply safe’. Located at the heart of Europe, with its head office in Basel, the Baloise Group is a provider of prevention, pension, assistance and insurance solutions. Its core markets are Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg. In Switzerland, with Baloise Bank SoBa, the Group also operates as a specialised financial services provider, offering a combination of insurance and banking services. The Group offers innovative pension products to retail customers throughout Europe from its competence centre in Luxembourg. Bâloise Holding Ltd shares are listed in the main segment of the SIX Swiss Exchange.

Other news

Annual Results

May 23, 2019

A solid result in Group Life: Baloise is committed to its comprehensive product range

In the 2018 financial year, Baloise Life Ltd achieved a net return on investment of 1.96% in the occupational pension segment. Interest on retirement assets at a total rate of 1.00% will ...

Annual Results

March 28, 2019

Baloise Group 2018 annual report published

Following the publication of the provisional financial results on 7 March 2019, the Baloise Group 2018 annual report is now available for download or for ordering.