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.
Highlights of the first nine months of 2020
- Baloise is on track to achieve its targets for the Simply Safe strategic phase. At the Investor Day on 29 October 2020, the company also outlined its goals and ambitions for the next strategic phase, ‘Simply Safe: Season 2’, in the period to 2025.
- The volume of business fell by 6.5 per cent to CHF 6,940.3 million in line with expectations. This is attributable to a non-recurring effect in the traditional life insurance business, which had a positive impact on the result for the prior-year period (a competitor in the group life business withdrew its comprehensive insurance products from the market).
- The premium volume in the non-life business increased by 7.9 per cent to CHF 3,133.4 million (Q1–Q3 2019: CHF 2,867.0 million).
- The combined ratio for 2020 is expected to be at the lower end of the target range of 90–95 per cent despite the adverse effects of the pandemic.
- Further expansion of the Home and Mobility ecosystems: Recent initiatives include the establishment of the second-hand vehicle leasing platform ‘aboDeinauto’ and an investment in the Home platform ‘Houzy’.
Strong growth in the non-life business – proof of resilience in the face of coronavirus
Premium income in the non-life business went up by a healthy 7.9 per cent to CHF 3,133.4 million (Q1–Q3 2019: CHF 2,867.0 million). This increase was driven by two transactions in Belgium – the acquisitions of Fidea and the non-life portfolio of Athora. But Baloise also generated organic growth of 2.2 per cent in the lucrative non-life business. This was attributable to launches of new products and increased use of distribution channels and partner channels.
In the 2020 half-year results, the anticipated financial effects of the coronavirus pandemic were quantified with gross claims incurred of up to CHF 200 million or net claims of around CHF 63 million. Provided no unexpected loss events occur in the last quarter of 2020, Baloise predicts that the combined ratio will be at the lower end of the target range of 90–95 per cent. This underlines the excellent quality of the non-life portfolio as a whole and, in particular, that of Basler Switzerland’s non-life business.
Normalisation of the volume of premiums in the traditional life business
The volume of premiums collected in the traditional life business fell by 23.0 per cent year on year to CHF 2,629.4 million (Q1–Q3 2019: CHF 3,395.3 million). In the prior-year period, the premium volume had benefited from the non-recurring effect of a competitor in the Swiss group life business withdrawing its comprehensive insurance products from the market. Most of the uplift from this effect was attributable to single premiums which were not collected again in 2020 and the volume of business therefore normalised this year.
More and more companies in Switzerland are putting their faith in Baloise Insurance’s partially autonomous pension solution Perspectiva, which continues to grow rapidly and has seen a sharp rise in the number of customers. As at 30 September, 2,890 companies with almost 12,500 beneficiaries had signed up to the collective foundation.
Investment-type premiums up compared with the prior-year period
The Group’s investment-type premiums increased by 6.3 per cent year on year to CHF 1,177.5 million (Q1–Q3 2019: CHF 1,107.9 million). This was predominantly driven by a revitalisation in the growth of sales of these products in Luxembourg compared with the prior-year period. Baloise in Luxembourg now has more than CHF 10 billion in assets under management. The decline in investment-type premiums in the Swiss business by 37.2 per cent to CHF 68.5 million is attributable to the fact that Baloise decided against offering a tranche product which had generated a positive effect in the prior-year period. This decision was taken in light of the prevailing market environment.
Excellent credit rating confirmed by Standard & Poor’s
Rating agency Standard & Poor’s confirmed the good A+ credit rating of the Baloise Group and its core companies at the end of August 2020. The complete report is available at www.baloise.com/ratings.
A bright future has to rest on a solid past – Simply Safe: Season 2
The volume of business shows that Baloise is continuing to operate in a prudently cautious and sustainably successful way despite challenging conditions. At the Investor Day on 29 October 2020, the Baloise Group presented the content of ‘Simply Safe: Season 2’, the next phase of its strategy that sets out the Company’s targets and ambitions for the period 2022 to 2025. By 2025, Baloise is aiming to be in the top 5 per cent of the best companies to work for in Europe, to have gained 1.5 million new customers and generated CHF 2 billion in cash. Of this cash, it intends to distribute 60 to 80 per cent as dividends. Baloise also wants to further exploit the substantial potential for growth of its digital insurance enterprise FRIDAY. And it is looking to establish the Home and Mobility ecosystems as a new third pillar of its business alongside the two existing pillars of insurance and asset management & banking. A value creation figure of CHF 1 billion is the target for this segment. The most recent initiative in the Mobility ecosystem is the establishment of the second-hand car leasing platform ‘aboDeinauto‘ in the German market. In September 2020, Baloise announced its latest initiative in the Home ecosystem – an investment in ‘Houzy’, a company that intelligently connects its customers with the right partners, whether they are buying, renovating, maintaining or selling their property.
Business volume as at 30 September 2020 (YTD)
CHF million; change (%), LC = local currency