Development of the Group segments

Industrial Lines

 

2010

2009

Figures in EUR million

   

Gross written premium

3,076

3,077

Net premium earned

1,413

1,405

Underwriting result

–57

134

Net investment income

231

240

Operating result (EBIT)

185

335

Combined ratio (net) 1) in %

104.1

90.5


1) Including deposit interest result

The Industrial Lines division is led by HDI-Gerling Industrie Versicherung AG. The company offers the entire spectrum of individual products and services for its clients from eleven locations in Germany. Through subsidiaries, dependent branches in 28 countries and network partners its activities span the globe.

Major companies in the Group segment
   

HDI-Gerling Industrie Versicherung AG

Germany

HDI-Gerling Australia Insurance Company Pty. Ltd.

Australia

HDI-Gerling Assurances (Belgique) S. A.

Belgium

HDI-Gerling de México Seguros S. A.

Mexico

HDI-Gerling Verzekeringen N. V.

Netherlands

HDI Versicherung AG

Austria

HDI Seguros S. A.

Spain

HDI-Gerling Insurance of South Africa Ltd.

South Africa

HDI-Gerling America Insurance Company

USA

As an internationally operating industrial insurer, HDI-Gerling Industrie supports its clients at home and abroad with bespoke solutions optimally tailored to their individual needs. The product range extends from casualty, motor, accident, fire and property insurance to marine, special lines and engineering insurance. Industrial clients in Germany and foreign markets profit from decades of experience in risk assessment and risk management, since the complex risks faced by industry and SMEs necessitate special protection. Comprehensive insurance solutions are assembled on the basis of customized coverage concepts, thereby providing the complete product spectrum needed to protect against entrepreneurial risks. Just as importantly, thanks to its many years of experience and proven expertise, HDI-Gerling provides professional claims management that delivers the fastest possible assistance worldwide in the event of loss or damage.

Stable premium volume

The gross written premium in the Industrial Lines segment amounted to EUR 3.1 (3.1) billion at the end of the year under review and was thus maintained on a stable level year-on-year.

Developments varied widely in the various submarkets: whereas in Germany it was possible in some instances to push through premium increases in industrial liability business for certain contracts in response to losses, lines such as marine insurance with turnover-based policies still suffered under the after-effects of the economic crisis; supplementary premium adjustments and lower renewal premiums led to premium erosion. The assumption of a legal protection portfolio from the Retail Germany segment accounted for premium growth of around EUR 18 million.

The development of business in the various submarkets abroad was mixed: our Dutch company HDI-Gerling Verzekeringen N. V. (+EUR 16 million) and our Belgian company HDI-Gerling Assurances S. A. (+EUR 8 million) held their ground well and recorded appreciable premium gains in fiercely competitive environments. The premium income booked by the Austrian company HDI Versicherung AG came in fractionally lower at EUR 192 (193) million. The challenging competitive state of the local market, which led to price cuts most notably in motor business and the turnover-based lines, was a factor here. The Spanish company HDI HANNOVER International España, Cía de Seguros y Reaseguros S. A. saw its premium volume contract by EUR 48 million. This can be attributed almost entirely to a fundamental change in the company’s orientation: since mid-2009 it has no longer been writing any new business with retail customers. Premiums from this business – especially in motor insurance – had still been recognized in the previous year.

The reinsurance premiums written in the segment remained stable at EUR 1.7 (1.7) billion. Net premiums earned tracked this development at an unchanged level of EUR 1.4 (1.4) billion.

Underwriting result impacted by claims expenditures and additional reserving

The net underwriting result of the Industrial Lines segment showed a loss of EUR 58 (previous year: profit of 134) million. With a net expense ratio of 22.1 (21.9)% and a loss ratio of 82.0 (68.6)%, the combined ratio stood at 104.1 (90.5)%.

Net underwriting expenses in the Industrial Lines segment climbed by an appreciable EUR 201 million to EUR 1.5 (1.3) billion. This rise was driven chiefly by the increase in claims expenditures for the financial year across virtually all market segments, although this should be viewed against the backdrop of an unusually favorable experience in the previous year. In addition, extensive steps were taken in the year under review to strengthen the loss reserves, especially for existing claims in the public liability line.

The reinsurers’ share of the claims and claims expenses remained on a par with the previous year at EUR 0.9 (0.9) billion despite the rise in gross expenses. On the one hand, the reinsurers participated to a disproportionately modest extent in the aforementioned strengthening of the reserves; on the other hand, reinsurers’ shares of the loss reserves totaling around EUR 13 million were released in connection with commutation of the reinsurance relationship with Global Re in the previous year. Not only that, in the 2010 financial year a sizeable reinsurance quota share treaty was commuted in the motor line in Germany, resulting in derecognition of the corresponding reinsurers’ shares in an amount of roughly EUR 28 million and hence reducing accordingly the relief afforded by reinsurance arrangements.

The gross acquisition costs and administrative expenses contracted by 9% to EUR 568 (622) million; this can be attributed to HDI-Gerling Industrie Versicherung AG (decrease of EUR 43 million) and HDI HANNOVER International España (decrease of EUR 16 million). The improvement at the largest company in the segment, HDI-Gerling Industrie Versicherung (HG-I), resulted from increased deferral of commissions; in the comparable period a smaller portion of the paid commissions had been deferred. The reduced acquisition costs and administrative expenses at the Spanish company were due to the drop in the business volume. The decrease of EUR 59 million in the reinsurers’ shares of the acquisition costs and administrative expenses slightly overcompensated for the positive trend in the gross expenses, as a consequence of which the net expenses were almost unchanged at EUR 312 (307) million.

Investment income just under the level of the previous year

The investment income retreated by a modest 4% to EUR 231 (240) million. Crucial here was the fall of EUR 17 million in the investment income booked by HG-I to EUR 195 (212) million. This was due to the fact that gains from the disposal of investments were lower than in the comparable reporting period; in the previous year substantial profits had been realized from the sale of equity funds in a sizeable volume. The other companies in the segment posted slightly to significantly higher investment income virtually across the board. The influence of the financial crisis had all but faded in the year under review.

Other income influenced by special effects

Other income improved to EUR 11 (–39) million. In this case, too, the change was attributable chiefly to HG-I; in both the previous year and the year under review its other income was influenced by special effects. In the previous year income from the reversal of impairments on reinsurance recoverables had been recognized in an amount of EUR 58 million. This had, however, been virtually offset by opposing expenditures from derecognition of an asset item which stemmed from the acquisition balance of the largest property/casualty risk carrier of the Gerling Group and constituted a contra item to the loss reserves assumed at carrying values at the time of acquisition. In addition, impairments of around EUR 30 million had to be taken on reinsurance recoverables. In the year under review it was possible to release a significant volume of sundry provisions, as a consequence of which the other income booked by HG-I improved to EUR 28 (–7) million.

Operating profit sharply lower

The operating profit generated by the Industrial Lines segment came in at EUR 185 (335) million, a reduction of 45%. The key factor in the decline in profitability was the development of the underwriting result owing to increased claims expenditures, which – with investment income remaining on a stable level – were not offset by the improvement in other income.