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 7,900 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, 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.
2018 was characterised by a volatile market development. The stock markets witnessed a marked correction back in February on the back of nascent inflationary fears in the US. Baloise Life Ltd achieved a solid result of CHF 49.9 million in an environment that remained extremely challenging. At 1.96%, the net return on investment was down slightly in a year-on-year comparison (2.09%). The occupational pension environment in Switzerland remains unsatisfactory: on the basis of the current statutory framework, funds are still being reallocated from active employees to the pension recipients. “This meant that we had to set up reserves in excess of CHF 150 million in 2018 alone, i.e. more than CHF 1,000 per insured person. This wasn’t how Pillar 2 was originally intended to work when the idea was conceived – and it’s still not actually how the system is supposed to work. More has to be done again to make occupational pensions in Switzerland better equipped for the future and to boost their acceptance as a result,” says Patric Olivier Zbinden, Head of Product Management Corporate Clients. Due to its selective underwriting policy for comprehensive insurance, Baloise Insurance’s premiums have fallen by 7.00% to a premium volume of around CHF 2.3 billion.
Baloise makes a commitment to its comprehensive product range
Last year was an eventful one for the occupational pension landscape in Switzerland. Two pension funds embarked on a strategic repositioning exercise: one of them has abandoned comprehensive insurance and the other has discontinued its semi-autonomous offering. “While this has caused turbulence and also a degree of uncertainty on the market, it also shows that there are various ways of tackling the challenges associated with Pillar 2. We are committed to our comprehensive product range,” says Thomas Schöb, Head of Product Management Group Life.
Customers are always the focal point
More than 15,000 companies place their trust in Baloise when it comes to the pension assets of their 160,000 or so employees. Customers want to put the issue of pension provision in safe hands and a large proportion of them also want cover for all of the risks they are exposed to. This means that comprehensive insurance remains a popular product that Baloise offers its customers today, and will continue to offer its customers in the future – in line with the high quality standards that they have become accustomed to. The offering is rounded off by semi-autonomous solutions. 92.4% of the total income will benefit the insured persons in the form of interest on their retirement assets (total interest in 2018: 1.00%) and stronger provisions. Baloise has a solid position and is well equipped to tackle the challenges that lie ahead.
The success story of the semi-autonomous Perspectiva Collective Foundation continues
The semi-autonomous Perspectiva Collective Foundation, which will soon be celebrating its fifth anniversary, is growing strongly and significantly outperforming the market. “With more than 1,700 affiliations and an investment volume of more than CHF 600 million, this is a strong indicator that semi-autonomous pension solutions are also becoming increasingly attractive to smaller companies,” concludes Patric Olivier Zbinden.