Gross written premiums
Written premiums in the life segment, including premiums related to investment contracts, amounted to € 53.297 million, a 6.2% increase over the previous year.
In accordance with the strategy to optimize performance of the life insurance business, favouring products with low capital absorption, the unit/index linked contracts are up by 8.6% and the protection contracts are up 11.8%. The savings policies also contributed to that performance (+3.7%).
Net inflows were also positive, and amounted to € 14,920 million. The significant increase over the previous year (+15.5%) reflects improvements in the premium income, especially in Italy, France and the Eastern European countries, in addition to the excellent results in Asia where net inflows more than quadrupled.
These trends were only partly offset by the drop observed in EMEA as a result of the planned reduction of single premiums in Ireland and the slight increase in total capital outflow.
New business stood at € 5,210 million (-0.2% on equivalent exchange rates and portion attributable to the Group) in terms of annual premium equivalents (APE).
Trends in single premiums were positive (+8.3%), especially in Italy, France and Asia, while the annual premiums fell (-6.8%) mainly following the drop in Italy which was only partially offset by the growth in France and Asia.
With reference to the lines of business, there was a significant increase in unit/index linked business (+14.6%) which was concentrated in the main areas (+45.7% in Italy, due to the strong growth in the “multi-line” products, and in France and Germany) and in business risk (+22.4%). Savings policies were down (-9.8%).
Despite the strong recovery in the second half of the year thanks to the improvement in the financial situation, the adverse economic environment weighed on the profitability levels of new business (margins on the APEs) due to the reduction in interest rates and the strong increase in volatility during the year. This is why profitability amounted to 21.0% (24.0% as at 31 December 2015), which was stable in any case, due in part to the planned recalibration of the level of guarantees and their weight on the APEs (from 72.5% to 66.5%). New business value (NBV) stood at € 1,097 million (-13.0% on a like for like basis).
New business in terms of APEs was down (-7.2%), following the reductions in Ireland (-21.5%) and Guernsey (-22.0%), with direct effects on the unit-linked sector (-13.3%). On the other hand, there was good progress in Switzerland (+2.6%) and Belgium (+35.9%).
Overall, profitability rose from 25.9% in 2014 to 27.0% in 2015, mainly due to the strong increase in the risk business in Spain, despite the reduction in profitability in Switzerland following the adverse economic climate and the high level of guarantee offered. New business value amounted to € 174 million (-6.4%).
Net inflows for the EMEA regional structure fell to € 1,444 million (€ 2,703 million at 31/12/2014) due to the above-mentioned reduction in premiums in Ireland and the performance in Austria, where the net inflows affected the strong increase in payments and the drop in premium income. The negative amount of net inflows in Spain is due to the type of life portfolio, mainly focused on annuity products and short-term investments. In any case, thanks to the actions taken, net inflows improved in 2015 compared to the previous year (+34.5%).
Gross written premiums in Latin America increased (22.2% ) amounting to € 312 million(€ 254 million at 31 December 2014).
This development is the result of the growth in the two main countries in the Region; Argentina increased by 31%, driven also by ongoing high inflation levels, and Brazil grew by 23%, mainly thanks to the Generali Employee Benefit sector.Finally, net inflows in Latin America are increasing.
The gross written premiums in Asia showed excellent performances, increasing from € 1,049 million at 31 December 2014 to € 1.895 million (+56.2%), thanks to the gains made in all countries in the area. Growth was positive in all countries in the region, but driven in particular by China (+61% on a like-for-like basis), thanks to the especially positive performance of the single premium products of the savings products, distributed through the bancassurance channel. These channels definitely benefitted from the uncertainties that characterised the Asian financial markets in recent months.
The net inflows also showed particularly positive trends, standing at € 924 million compared to € 197 million at the end of 2014. Even in this case, there was growth in all countries in the Region, but it was especially driven by China, which benefitted from the above-mentionedhigher volumes of premiums.
With reference to Asia and Latin America, the new business in terms of APEs is strongly up (+71.2%) with good increases in both Asia (+74.5%) and Latin America (+36.9%). Overall, thanks to the higher profitability (from 11.8% in 2014 to 13.5% in 2015) and the increase in volumes, the value of new business stood at € 42 million, up (+88.6%).
The gross written premiums in the International Operations grouping were up, increasing from € 598 million at 31 December 2014 to € 642 million (+7.4%). This development is attributable to the favourable business of Generali Employee Benefits and the Assicurazioni Generali S.p.A. activities.
Finally, net inflows are slightly down (-3%) due to the increase in the capital outflows observed mainly in the foreign branches.