Allianz: Strong and resilient performance in 2009 in Asia

Sydney, 11 March 2010
Allianz has seen a strong performance in its two Southern Hemisphere growth regions, Asia Pacific and Middle East/North Africa (MENA) in 2009. Gross Written Premiums amounted to 8.7 billion euros, an increase of 10 percent to the previous year.1) Operating profit equalled 446 million euros. At the end of 2009, Allianz served more than 22 million customers in Asia Pacific and MENA. Gross Written Premium also increased by 10% for Allianz Australia, which covers Australia and New Zealand, and net profit before tax increased by 60% to $A484 million.

“Our operations in Asia Pacific have shown remarkable resilience during the first half of the year, which was still affected by the financial crisis, and have very quickly changed into growth mode during the second. Both premiums and operating profit have developed strongly in 2009. In MENA, we successfully focused on consolidating our entities and on profitability“, commented Werner Zedelius, member of Board of Allianz SE responsible for Growth Markets. “Overall, I am very glad to see that Allianz emerged stronger from the crisis. Asia Pacific and the MENA region strengthened their role as growth regions for Allianz in 2009.”

Asia Pacific – Growth driver Life insurance, distribution strengthens across the region

In Asia Pacific, premiums of 6.5 billion euros mark an increase of 15 percent on the previous year. Operating profit remained at 355 million euros. Life insurance contributed 4.3 billion euros, equalling two thirds of total premiums. The segment has shown remarkable performance, with some markets rebounding very strongly. Taiwan grew to 1.8 billion euros, up by 77 percent on the previous year. Indonesia and Malaysia also grew strongly by 19 and 26 percent, respectively. Premium volume in Korea amounted to 1.4 billion euros, an increase of 1.5 percent compared to 2008. After the “big four” of Germany, Italy, France and the USA, Taiwan, India, and Korea are now the largest Life insurers for Allianz Group.

As in previous years, Property and Casualty business (P&C) showed a very consistent performance with premiums amounting to 2.2 billion euros and double-digit growth of many operations. Allianz Australia, the biggest entity, grew by 10 percent which proves that opportunities for strong growth exist even in markets often perceived to be “saturated”. The second biggest entity is Allianz Malaysia, which roughly collected 250 million euros, growing by 12 percent. The company extended its position as the market leader in the Malaysian P&C market. Smaller entities in Japan, China, Indonesia, and Hong Kong also had an excellent year, with premium growth between 7 and 17 percent. The Asia Pacific region’s (excluding Australia and New Zealand) Combined Operating Ratio remarkably improved by 3 percentage points to 94.6 percent (from 97.5 percent).

Bruce Bowers, CEO of Allianz Asia Pacific (excluding Australia and New Zealand) commented: “A strong performance in Asia Pacific, with all our entities responding well to the turbulences caused by the financial crisis. Asia produced strong new business growth and solid operating profit, underpinned by the expansion of distribution channels and early interventions on expenses. Overall, a very good year for Allianz in Asia with improved market positions in our chosen markets across the region.”

Australia and New Zealand

Allianz Australia recorded Gross Written Premium growth of 10% in 2009 to exceed $A2.8 billion, which helped deliver a significant rise in profitability.

Terry Towell, Managing Director of Allianz Australia, said “Allianz’s double digit premium growth in Asia is a strong result and in part reflects the increasing penetration of insurance in countries undergoing a strong growth and development phase, and the fact that many Asian economies were more resilient to the Global Financial Crisis than Europe and North America. However, while the Australian economy also avoided a GFC-induced recession, Allianz Australia’s similar premium growth in 2009 is at least equally impressive given the mature insurance market in which we operate.”

Mr Towell added “growth of 10% in a year with all the uncertainties and economic impacts of the Global Financial Crisis is a pleasing result. I am particularly encouraged by the fact that the overall result was made up of solid rate increases and risk count growth with all key divisions recording good growth."

On an International Financial Reporting Standard basis, Allianz Australia’s underlying Combined Operating Ratio was 94.8% against a 2008 COR of 97.5%.

Mr Towell indicated that “Allianz’s lower COR reflects our improved profitability, driven by cycle management (improved risk selection) and rate rises.

Middle East and North Africa (MENA) – Operating profit jumps by almost 20 percent

The performance of Allianz in Middle East and North Africa 3) has been in line with the aim of having a strong presence and focussing on doing profitable business. In India, which dominates the regional result, Bajaj Allianz Life and Bajaj Allianz General Insurance have consolidated top 3 positions among private Life and P&C insurers with gross written premiums of more than 2 billion euros (Life: 1.7 billion euros; P&C: 365 million euros). As a result of expense management and underwriting discipline, both P&C and Life worked profitable and even increased their operating profit. Kamesh Goyal, country manager of India, said: "I am pleased with our performance in 2009. We retained our market position in premium volume, and we clearly outperformed the market in terms of profitability. Our P&C and even our Life operation increased operating profit again, against adverse market conditions. We feel that going forward the efficiency improvements in our Indian operations will give us the strength to stay ahead."

Overall, premiums in Middle East and North Africa amounted to 2.2 billion euros, from 2.4 billion euros in 2008. Operating profit rose by 19 percent to 91 million euros.

Goyal concluded: “We have said that our targets for 2009 were, first, to help our customers to weather the financial turmoil, and second, to manage profitability by prudent expense management and underwriting discipline. I think that our teams did a remarkable job and delivered on both.”

Medium-term target confirmed

Werner Zedelius commented: “Our agenda for 2010 is clear. We will continue to invest in sales and distribution in Asia, Middle East and North Africa. We will safeguard the solvency of our companies and benefit from the exceptional financial strength of Allianz. And we will work on our operating models to achieve even better customer focus and higher performance.” He added: “Looking back to the first decade of the century, we almost quadrupled our business in Asia Pacific and the Middle East/North Africa. Virtually all of it was internal growth. We are on track to reach 10 billion euros in premiums in Asia Pacific and MENA over the next years and to attain a top-5 position in each market at least.”

1) Figures comprise all Allianz insurance companies in Asia Pacific and MENA, including those not consolidated under IFRS (India, Thailand). Growth figures are internal growth, i.e. adjusted for F/X effects and consolidation effects.
2) Asia Pacific consists of Allianz entities in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore (incl. Brunei), South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand.
3) Middle East and North Africa consists of entities in Bahrain, Egypt, India, Jordan, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Sri Lanka.

Press contact:

Christoph John
Allianz Asia Pacific
Phone +65-62 97 27 24

Eduard Stipic
Allianz Group Communications
Phone +49-89 3800 2960

About Allianz SE

Globally, Allianz is one of the world's leading insurers and financial services providers and one of the first Societas Europeae. Founded in 1890, Allianz SE is now present in more than 70 countries with over 150,000 employees. Allianz provides about 75 million customers worldwide with a comprehensive range of services in the areas of property and casualty insurance, life and health insurance, and asset management.

Allianz SE is one of the leading primary insurers in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and supports the principles of the Global Compact of the United Nations as well as the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.

Allianz Australia - General Insurance Company of the Year 2009*

The Allianz Australia Group operates in Australia and New Zealand. It includes one of Australia’s largest general insurers, a leading private workers’ compensation insurer, and a life insurer.

Allianz Australia delivers a wide range of personal, commercial and corporate insurance products and services. It is proud to be of service to more than 2 million policy holders and over 50% of Australia’s top 200 BRW listed companies have some form of insurance cover with the group.

Allianz Australia has approximately 3300 staff and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the worldwide Allianz Group, one of the world’s largest financial services companies.
Greenhouse Challenge Plus
The Allianz Group’s commitment to social, environmental and economic sustainability has been acknowledged internationally by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, which recognised the Allianz Group as the most sustainable primary insurance company in the world since 2006. In Australia, Allianz Australia participated in the Greenhouse Challenge Plus (GHC+) program - a cooperative partnership between industry and the Australian Government that aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions - and continues to adopt the GHC+ principles.

*Australian and New Zealand Insurance Industry Awards

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