Financial Results 2019 – Interview with Group CEO Helvetia Philipp Gmür

Financial Results 2019 – Interview with Group CEO Helvetia Philipp Gmür


Philipp Gmür, you present the results for 2019.
Helvetia increases profit by almost a quarter. In Spanish, you would call this a
“salto en las ganancias”, meaning a leap in profits. Indeed. We have a very encouraging result
and we are very pleased. However, it is not an everyday occurrence
to achieve such a leap in profits, and we are aware that two factors
beyond our control have also played a role in this. Well, as you speak Spanish,
I can see where you’re going with this. Yes, about Spanish, about Spain
and the result in detail we will talk about now. Philipp Gmür, you mention factors beyond your control when you talk about profits. What do you mean specifically? There are two factors in particular
that I would like to address. The first concerns the investment result. We have benefited from very good equity markets last year. And the second factor concerns the one-off effect
in the wake of a new tax regime in Switzerland. However, and this is important to stress, we also continued to generate very solid
underwriting results. Yes, and if you take a close look at the figures,
it is also evident how much Helvetia has grown: By 5.6 percent, compared to 3.9 percent in the previous year. What was the major driver
behind this growth? We benefit from the fact that we are widely diversified. I will mention two drivers:
One is growth in property insurance. Here I’m thinking in particular of engineering business
and the active reinsurance line. The second growth momentum comes from
growth in capital-efficient individual life products, particularly in Swiss, German and Italian markets. Yes, and further growth can probably be expected in 2020, as Helvetia has acquired the Spanish insurer Caser
at the beginning of the year. What exactly lies behind this decision? For Helvetia, this acquisition represents a major milestone
in its development, in its corporate history. It will help us to further establish the business in Europe as
a second strong pillar. So you’re talking about the business in Europe.
But why Spain in particular? We have been active in the Spanish market for decades. We believe in the Spanish economy
and also in the attractive future prospects in this market. And why Caser in particular? Caser is a very well established and promising
insurance company with headquarters in Madrid. Firstly it helps us to strengthen the non-life insurance business
within the Group. Secondly, it helps us to gain access to the
bank distribution channel via three cooperation partners. And thirdly finally, it helps us
to further develop the health ecosystem. An ecosystem in which Caser has been successfully active for some time. Yes. The acquisition fits perfectly
into the helvetia 20.20 strategy. Is this the culmination of this strategy period, so to say? It is certainly an important step,
but not the culmination. The year is not over yet. We are well on the way to actually achieve the strategic goals we have set five years ago. We want to strengthen our core business,
tap new sources of income and benefit from innovations. And we are well on track in this respect, especially
thanks to the enormous commitment of our employees. I would like to use this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude for this. Yes, and the new strategy period 2021 to 2025 will start soon. Do you already have a clear view
of what Helvetia will look like in 2025? Yes, we do. Our brand promise is: simple. clear. helvetia. And this will also be the guideline for the next strategy period,
but we’ll reveal more about that in autumn. And we are already looking forward to that.
Thank you, Philipp Gmür.

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