2019 was a historic year for Allianz with the completion of the purchase of the general insurance businesses of LV= and Legal and General. This positions Allianz Holdings as the second largest general insurer in the UK by premium with approximately 12 million customers and 8,800 employees. In Q4 the transfer of the final Commercial Lines business from LV= to Allianz was completed.
After a challenging fourth quarter, Allianz reported an overall Combined Ratio of 97.8%. Premium income was slightly down on 2018, impacted by strong underwriting action taken on under-performing business lines.
Operating profit of £110.6m fell by 35%, impacted by a number of factors including increased fire, theft and escape of water losses in the Commercial Property account as well as some one-off impacts including the Ogden discount rate change and PPI redress payments relating to historic business written.
This was compensated at the Net Income level where the result was in line with 2018 as a result of additional investment gains made on the successful acquisition of LV= GI.
Gross Written Premium increased by 9.3% driven by rate increases and volume growth supported by the positive impact of the transferred LV= commercial business. The LV= transfers have now completed in line with expectations and the original timeline.
Despite a competitive market-rating environment, rate increases were achieved across all accounts but were behind claims inflation overall and were not at the levels needed to sustain market profitability.
Motor business continued its record of strong performance with good profitability and growth as our new mini-fleet product made strong headway in the market.
Engineering, Construction and Power insurance grew strongly with a significant contribution from the newly introduced renewable energy propositions. We use Net Promoter Score (NPS) as a measure of customer satisfaction and our latest figures continue to show EC&P to be the clear loyalty leader in its market.
Commercial Property profitability was hit by an unusually high number of large claims and increased fire, theft and escape of water losses. After a prolonged soft market, which has seen claims inflation run ahead of price increases, we have seen some improvement in the market environment and greater rate strength in the last half of the year but there is still work to be done.
The transfer of Allianz’s motor and home business to LV= GI and the run off of some poorer performing accounts has seen Personal lines gross written premium reduce by 18.3% but an improving return in terms of COR.
Our Animal Health business performed strongly again, delivering profitable growth in an extremely competitive market.
Other personal lines include Allianz Musical Insurance(AMI) – the UK’s no. 1 specialist insurer of musical instruments – now celebrating its 60thyear of providing cover directly to customers and via brokers. AMI continues to go from strength to strength with year-on-year growth of 4.5% and robust profitability. Today AMI insures over 70,000 musicians, from beginners to internationally renowned artists.
Allianz Legal Protection continues to hold a leading position in the After the Event (ATE) market and also writes Before the Event (BTE) policies on a strictly controlled basis.
Allianz is one of the founding members of the UN-convened ‘Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance’ which aims to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. On a local level we are committed to being socially responsible and our Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategy is being embedded across our business. Our strategy is based on the five roles we believe Allianz plays in society as a sustainable insurer, responsible investor, committed corporate citizen, attractive employer and trusted company.
Within this programme our sustainable claims initiative has seen the introduction of green parts to replace non safety-critical parts in vehicle repairs, this was based on research which showed that 69% of motorists would choose a green replacement part. On the property side, our new partnership with the specialist restoration company Plastic Surgeon will mean that a variety of items from wooden surfaces to UPVC windows can be repaired rather than replaced which will bring further environmental benefits as well as cost and time efficiencies in the claims settlement process.
In 2019 we launched our corporate charity partnership with Mind, the mental health charity, for whom we have now raised more than £365,000 through employee fundraising and company contributions. As part of our wellbeing programme we have now trained 136 mental health first aiders, produced employee videos talking about mental health issues and have run activities for employees including mindfulness exercises.
Mental health is one of seven employee networks that Allianz has established, also covering disability, inter-generational, multicultural, LGBT+, working parents and gender balance issues. These offer colleagues the opportunity to share experience and ideas, remove barriers and promote diversity.
Chief Executive Officer, Jon Dye said:
“I look back on 2019 with great pride on behalf of everyone at Allianz Insurance. Whilst our operating profit fell short of our expectations, we achieved so much in positioning our business for a successful future. The completion of the transfers of business between Allianz and LV=, the establishment of shared services to support these businesses and the completion of the LV= and L&G deals have created a tremendously strong platform from which we can grow profitably.
“This success has not only been down to both the hard work and commitment of our colleagues at Allianz but also the support of our broker partners. 2019 was a year of unprecedented change, not just in our own business but in the markets in which we operate, in the economy and in society. To maintain our NPS and employee engagement scores as well as our claims service ratings at such high levels against this backdrop is a considerable achievement.
“Like all businesses, we have challenges. We know where they are and we are executing plans to address them. We have a strong track record in delivering profit and growth on a sustained basis, and with the right people and skills in place to continue to do this, I feel confident about our future.”