Generali is a leader on the Italian insurance market with an overall share of 15.5%. The Group offers its clients – retail, SME and corporate – a complete range of insurance solutions, in both the Life and P&C segments.
At distribution level, Generali operates through a multi-channel strategy, mainly concentrated on agents. It also has a strong position in the direct channel, through Genertel – Genertellife, the first online insurance launched in Italy. The Group also offers a complete variety of insurance, pension and savings products to its customers through Banca Generali.
The integration process, launched in 2013, aiming at the unification of all the existing brands into three main strategic brands - Generali (retail market and SME), Alleanza (households) and Genertel (alternative channels) - is substantially over with succes.
The completion of the project has allowed the Group to face more effectively the challenges of the new strategic plan in Italy.
With reference to the macroeconomic scenario, the Italian economy has emerged from a long recession; GDP is expected to grow by 0.8% in 2015 supported by domestic demand, particularly thanks to household consumption, rebuilding of inventories and investments in machinery, equipment and intangible assets. Financial markets had positive performances despite the increased volatility observed in recent months, due to turmoil on the financial markets and the Volkswagen scandal. Sovereign debt was not affected, with a decline in the yield spread between Italian and German ten-year bonds.
The sovereign debt securities has not been affected from that; in particular the spread BTP-BUND, that at the end of 2014 was 135 pps, declined to 97 pps.
The equity market recorded an excellent trend (Ftse Mib +12%; +0.23% at 13.12.2014).
Despite the excellent performance recorded in 2014, the Italian Life insurance market maintained positive growth rates during 2015 thanks to traditional products, though with a business mix that continues to shift toward hybrid and unit-linked due to the still low interest rates.
Conversely, the P&C market has been declining in the last three years, due to the decrease in average premiums within a still very competitive motor segment. The non-motor segment continued to witness limited growth rates due to the still weak macroeconomic recovery.
The performance of the financial segment was positive thanks to the growing demand for financial advice by customers in a context of declining returns on investments and increasing market volatility.
* The indicated market shares and positions, based on written premiums, refer to the most recent official data.
Generali in Germany is the second-largest insurance group in the German market in Life & P&C, with a market share of 5.7% in P&C and of 10.4% in Life (including the health business). It is the second insurer in the country and market leader in Life, strongly positioned in the unit linked and protection business lines, in hybrid products, corporate pension plans and in the direct channel.
In 2015 Generali in Germany continued the strategic repositioning aimed at implementing different initiatives to strengthen its competitive position and become the leader retail insurer. This aim will be achieved leveraging on the strong multichannel position, the simplified and market focused approach, a new business model in the Life segment, as well as through the launch of innovative and smart products and of services and processes focusing on the specific customer needs. To become fast, lean and agile, the structure governance and organisation were simplified, resulting in a significant cost reduction. From an organisational perspective, three companies will be merged into one, i.e. Generali Deutschland Holding, Generali Versicherung (P&C segment) and Generali Leben (Life segment) into Generali Deutschland AG.
The headquarter was moved from Cologne to Munich, where the main business units are also based. With the realignment of the different Group companies’ board of directors and the implementation of a management matrix structure, Generali in Germany is consistently oriented towards a lean governance.
The product portfolio of Generali in Germany will be based on three pillars:
- Generali as a multi-channel Life and P&C insurer, mainly relying on agents and brokers as to the distribution;
- AachenMünchener, leader in unit-linked products with a successful partnership with DVAG, representing the strongest financial consultant network in Germany;
- CosmosDirekt as first direct insurer and leader in term-life products.
Moreover, thanks to Central, Advocard, Dialog and Badenia tailored insurance solutions for customers and more agile sales channels at country level will be ensured.
As to the whole insurance market, the Life segment is under strong pressure as regards margins, due to the extremely low interest rates and the competition with banks and investment institutions. Conversely, in the P&C market Generali in Germany is expecting a market share growth, a significant improvement in the motor line profitability - despite having already achieved a softening phase - and an excellent performance in terms of combined ratio.
Finally, in the German economic environment the GDP is growing, though within a still particularly low interest rate scenario.
The German 10-year bund is broadly stable at 0.63% (0.54% as of 31 December 2014).
The share market significantly increased (DAX +10%, compared to + 2.35% at yearend in 2014).
After Italy and Germany, France is the third most important market in the Generali Group, contributing with 25% to the Group total premiums.
Generali France is a major player on the French market, with a strong position and a multi-channel distribution network. Its sales force includes agents, employed sales persons, brokers, financial advisors, banks, direct channels and affinity groups.
The variety of the distribution channels reflects the features of the market and of the products distributed. This approach gained momentum after the “Customer centric” reorganization in 2014, based on the creation of 4 separate client areas (Individual, Affluent, Professional&SME and Commercial). Generali is also renowned for its leadership in the Internet savings segment thanks to the excellence of the services provided and its important partnerships.
The French economy showed signs of recovery in 2015 compared to the previous year, although GDP growth has remained at low levels of approximately 1% yearly in real terms. Within a weak growth and low inflation scenario, interest rates remained at historically low levels, as in the rest of Europe. Moreover, the yield of the French ten-year government bond OAT increased from 0.83% at the end of 2014 to 0.99%.
Livret A yields, a traditional benchmark for savings investments in France, grew to 0.75% in August. As for the equity markets, CAC, the French reference index recorded an excellent performance reaching +10% (-0.54% at 31 December 2014).
The low interest rates environment and especially its short term nature favoured the reallocation of financial assets into Life products, i.e. the savers’ favourite insurance form in France. Net written premiums in the French Life insurance sector were broadly positive and higher than the previous year.
Investors particularly valued unit-linked products (approximately 20% of total premiums compared to 16% in 2014), representing an increasing share of the products placed by insurers. Conversely, the P&C market reported a modest increase of approximately 1% compared to the previous year, reflecting the mentioned weak economic environment, ongoing competition and a soft phase within the corporate business line.
Generali CEE Holding* is one of the biggest insurers in the Central Eastern European market with an excellent track record of profitability and leading positions in most of the countries where it operates. It ranks first in the Czech Republic and Hungary, second in Serbia, third in Slovakia and among the top ten in the other countries. Five markets are contributing with more than 90% of the Group’s business in Central Eastern Europe - Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Serbia/Montenegro - whereas Romania, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Croatia account for about 10% of premiums.
In 2105 the CEE insurance markets benefited from momentum in economic recovery.
However, the region is far from returning to the high growth rates of the pre-crisis period, especially in its most relevant markets.
Overall, 2015 ended with stagnating volumes, but the differences between the markets of the region are substantial in terms of dynamics; regional Life insurance premiums decreased, driven by the negative trend recorded in Poland and the Czech Republic, while on the Non-Life side, the change in premium production was positive.
With reference to the financial markets, the equity sector of Czech Republic, the most relevant market in the area, remained substantially stable (+1%), while the Czech Republic ten-year government bond declined to 0.54% from 0.74% at the end of 2014.
* As from January 2015 Generali obtained 100% ownership of Generali PPF Holding, having acquired the remaining 24% minority shareholding held by the PPF Group, in line with the agreements signed by the shareholders. Following this, the Company’s name was changed to Generali CEE Holding.
With reference to the EMEA countries, the main areas where Generali operates are the following.
Generali España is one of the main insurance groups in Spain, with a total market share of 4.0% in the Life segment and 4.2% in the P&C segment. It provides a wide range of Life and P&C policies for both private individuals and companies. The Group operates through a multi-channel distribution strategy including bank branches and a network of agents and brokers which is among the most extensive in Spain. Overall, the Group ranks 7th in the Spanish insurance market in terms of total premiums. The bancassurance agreement with Cajamar was expanded and reinforced in 2015, thereby giving Generali España exposure to the main life distribution channel, which is growing also in the P&C segment.
With reference to the insurance market, the P&C segment grew in 2015 for the first time since 2008, supported also by the first signs of recovery in the motor sector. Also the Life market recorded a slight increase, partially led by a real estate recovery.
Generali has been operating in Switzerland since 1987 and over the following decade its presence was consolidated by the acquisition and merger of many insurance companies. In accordance with the strategy recently presented and shared throughout the Group, Generali Switzerland focuses on the retail business and provides high quality and innovative services, through various distribution channels: agents, brokers, financial advisors and direct channels.
Generali Switzerland is the 8th largest insurance group in terms of Life and P&C premium income, with a Life market share of 3.7%, and a P&C share of 5.7%. Overall, the Swiss economy has shown flexibility even after the decision of the central bank to abandon the floor on the exchange rate, which proves again to be stable. However, the inflation rate remains negative, the rate of unemployment, especially for young people, is growing and consumption levels are less dynamic.
The Life segment grew moderately despite the low interest rates. The P&C market experienced a weak growth.
Generali has been operating in Austria since 1832, the year after the Company was established in Trieste. Generali operates in the country through the insurance companies Generali Versicherung, BAWAG P.S.K. Versicherung and Europäische Reiseversicherung. The multi-channel distribution strategy involves agents, brokers, financial advisors and banks (BAWAG P.S.K. and 3Banken). The Group strategy recently presented at the last Investor Day is reflected in the confirmation of Austria as market leader in the retail sector thanks to the focus on customers and on their needs and to the quality of services, offering simple and innovative solutions.
Generali was the third largest insurance operator in terms of written premiums, with a market share of 14.8% in Life insurance and of 16.5% in P&C.
As for the market trend, the economic context remains overall quite complex, due to low interest rates, low inflation and a slightly increasing unemployment rate. As for the insurance market, price competition is very high, especially for the broker market, where the broker number is growing significantly; hiring financial advisors is presenting some difficulties and comparative web portals are increasing.
The Generali Group has been operating in the Far East since 1980 and is now covering China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, India and Vietnam. Two branches are located in Japan and Hong Kong, where the Asia Regional Office is also based. Generali entered the Malaysian market in December 2014 through an agreement with Multi- Purpose Capital Holdings Berhad (a wholly owned subsidiary of the Malaysian group headed by MPHB Capital) to acquire 49% of the P&C insurance firm MPIB "Multi-Purpose Insurance Berhad", with the right to exercise a call option after two years on further 21% of MPIB, enabling the Group to obtain a 70% stake in the company, the maximum allowed for foreign companies in Malaysia.
The main contributor to the Group in terms of sales is China, where a joint venture with the local partner CNPC (China National Petroleum Corporation) has become one of the top foreign insurance groups on the market.
While in China, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam the Group operates exclusively in the Life business (mainly savings & pensions, but also protection and unit-linked), Hong Kong, Thailand, Japan, India and Malaysia are also covering the P&C business , which overall accounts for about 8% of the total income in the Far East. The main distribution channels are banks and agencies, and the direct–channel is being developed in China and Thailand.
The Group's strategy in the region has been set out in line with its goal to substantially increase its presence in emerging markets, through the “organic” development and the growth of the existing business units, as well as through the identification of specific M&A opportunities and distribution agreements. In this regard, clear examples are the entrance into the Malaysian market and the signing of exclusive distribution agreements with Kiatnakin Bank in Thailand.
The Group is a long-established player in Latin America, with Argentina as main market where Generali is ranked as the fourth operator. In 2015, the disposal of a number of companies was finalized (La Estrella and Caia ART in particular) to increase efficiency and focus on the core business. The Argentinian market is characterized by an historically high inflation rate, and a volatile financial environment. Despite the though scenario for the insurance business, the Group has implemented best practices in its Argentinian subsidiaries, placing them at the top in terms of service quality and innovation.
The second most important country is Brazil, currently experiencing a difficult period due to the political instability and an economic slowdown. Despite that, the insurance market still holds potential for development in the coming years thanks to the Brazilian middle class.
The Group also operates in Panama, Colombia, Guatemala and Ecuador.
The main distribution channel in these countries is the broker channel.