The strong premium growth was driven primarily by the Czech Republic (+EUR 103 million) and Extended CEE (+EUR 148 million) segments, and here in particular Romania, the Baltic states, Serbia, Ukraine and Hungary.
Profit before taxes was down by around 3.3% to EUR 123.8 million, due to the precautionary measures taken in relation to the ongoing war in Ukraine, which have reduced the financial result. The financial result (excl. the result from at-equity consolidated companies) was EUR 148.1 million in the first quarter of 2022, which is 15.7% less than in the same period of the previous year. Net profit was EUR 91.3 million, which is 7.7% below the previous year.
The Austrian insurer mentioned, combined ratio significantly improved to 94.6% compared to the first quarter of 2021 (95.2%). The biggest improvements in the combined ratio were recorded in the Austria, Czech Republic and Extended CEE segments, and here in particular in Bulgaria and Romania.
"We already managed, in the last year, to bring the effects of the pandemic on our operative business development under control, and we are also off to a very positive start in 2022 in all segments and lines of business. This is apparent in the double-digit premium growth achieved in the first quarter of 2022, which at that stage had yet to feel the impact of the war in Ukraine starting at the end of February.
Due to the continuing uncertainty about developments in Ukraine and the associated far-reaching and hard-to-estimate economic effects, a development as dynamic as in the first quarter is not to be expected for the remainder of the financial year. We have taken precautionary measures for VIG Group in the amount of around EUR 75 million.
Our colleagues remain our primary focus in the Ukrainian companies, who are demonstrating an incredibly positive and professional attitude during these extraordinarily difficult times and largely keeping business operations functioning in the areas that are less affected by the war.
Looking at 2022 as a whole, we expect operating performance to remain positive, buoyed by our strong capital position, our diverse business model and the optimization measures that we have been consistently implementing for years", explains Elisabeth Stadler, CEO of Vienna Insurance Group.