Austria, FY2016: Life insurance remains on a downward trend, affecting the overall market size

22 March 2017 — Daniela GHETU
According to the Austrian Insurers Association - VVO, the preliminary figures for 2016 show an overall drop in the premium income of 2.1%, to EUR 17 billion, the main driver of the downward trend being the life insurance segment. The total insurance benefits for the year 2016 amounted to 14.8 billion euros - a drop of 3.9% y-o-y.

With a y-o-y decline of 9.1%, the life insurance premium volume amounted to about EUR 6.1 billion. Current premiums fell by 1.5 percent with a volume of EUR 5.0 billion. In the case of premium-assured future-oriented pension provision, the premium volume resulting from the about 1.3 million contracts in force amounted to about EUR 0.9 billion. The one-time charges recorded a premium volume of EUR 1.1 billion, falling by 33.3% y-o-y. 

A total of EUR 7.8 billion, which corresponds to a decline of 7.3%, was paid out to the customers of the life insurance system in the past financial year (not included in the provisions for future benefits or profit sharing). 

According to the current forecast, life insurance will continue shriking, the premium income expected for 2017 being of around EUR 5.9 billion (around - 3.2%). 

VVO's forecast was recently confirmed by a FITCH report which also mentions the decreasing profitability of life insurers as a result of the companies' decreasing return on investment and of the new, "additional life provision that was developed by the Financial Market Authority (FMA), Austria's supervisory authority, to strengthen life insurers' reserves in a prolonged period of low interest rates."

On the non-life insurance side, "first calculations show a growth in premiums for health insurance as well as in property-casualty insurance for the 2016 financial year," reads the VVO's press release.

Health insurance

Private health insurance is understood in Austria as a complementary partner of statutory health insurance, with a decisive contribution to the quality of the domestic health care system. 

For 2016 private health insurance shows a projected increase of 4.7% with a total premium volume of EUR 2.1 billion. 

The services increased by 3.3% to EUR 1.3 billion (not included in additions to provisions for future services and profit sharing). 

A first forecast for health insurance 2017 shows a growth of around 3, 6 percent on total premiums of approximately 2.1 billion euros. 

Property and casualty insurance

The premium volume of property-casualty insurance (including motor vehicle liability insurance) grew to EUR 8.9 billion in 2016, an increase of 1.7%. 

At EUR 5.7 billion, the claims in property-casualty insurance are also at a high level in 2016. Compared to the previous year, services in property-casualty insurance fell slightly by 0.5%.

For 2017, premium growth in property-casualty insurance is predicted by approx. 1.9% to around EUR 9.0 billion.

Share |