GENERALI Group reports record annual operating result

GENERALI Group reported FY net profit of EUR 2.11 billion, up by 1.4% y-o-y, while its operating result amounted to a record of EUR 4.89 billion (2.3% more y-o-y) "thanks to the positive performance of the life segment and the Investments, Asset & Wealth Management business and to the cost reduction reached two years ahead of schedule (-EUR 200 million in mature markets)".

As for production, the total premiums of the Group were steady at EUR 68.53 billion (-0.2%), with the life segment slightly down at EUR 47.78 billion (-1%) while the P&C segment rose 1.7% to EUR 20.74 billion.

The insurer mentioned the reported growth rate in P&C premiums was strongly influenced by the motor segment (+3.0%) driven by Germany (+4.2%), CEE Countries (+3.2%), the Americas (+25.7%), France (+2.6%) and Spain (+3.8%), "which more than offset the drop in motor premium income in Italy (-4.5%) where the average premium in the market continues to fall, and measures are being taken by the Group to recover the returns of the portfolio".

On the other hand, the non-motor premium income was up by 0.9% y-o-y, which mainly benefited from the development in the CEE Countries (+3.6%), in the EMEA region (+2.6%) and by Europ Assistance (+14%). Italy and France fell 1.8% and 2%, respectively, "because of the weak market conditions in the corporate and property lines".

The operating result of the P&C was EUR 1.97 billion (EUR 2.07 billion at 31 December 2016). The decrease (-4.9%) was mostly influenced by the greater impact of natural catastrophe claims, which on the whole affected the year for EUR 416 million, mainly due to the US hurricanes and the storms that struck Central Europe. At the same time, the Group Combined Ratio stood at 92.8% (+0.5 p.p. compared to 31 December 2016).

In case of life premiums, the -1% negative rate "was consistent with the underwriting policy that led to an increase in unit linked premiums (+22.4%) in particular in Italy (+57.3%) and France (+52.1%). Premiums for protection policies grew 7% reflecting the general increase across the countries where the Group is present."

At the same time, the life operating result was up by 1.8% y-o-y to EUR 3.1 billion, the net cash inflows stood at EUR 9.71 billion, while the new business value (NBV) improved significantly (+53.8%), standing at EUR 1.82 billion (vs. EUR 1.19 billion at 31 December 2016). "The 1.8% increase in the Life result is due to a better investment performance".

At the same time, "the growth in the result of the segment Holding and Other Activities, reaching EUR 59 million, reflects the excellent results of Banca Generali and the enhanced performance of Asset Management Europe. Both segments balance the decrease of the P&C operating result (...)".

"We are perfectly positioned to reach all of our objectives that we had set for 2018. In light of these results, the Board of Directors will propose a dividend of 0.85 Euro per share, an increase of 6 per cent from 0.80 Euro in 2016. Our focus on technical excellence, combined with the results of our Investments, Asset & Wealth Management business and the cost reduction target hit two years ahead of schedule, have pushed the operating result to record levels", said Philippe DONNET, GENERALI Group CEO.

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