Press release

German insurers post a respectable business result in 2013 in a challenging environment

In financial year 2013 German insurers were able to increase premiums by a total of 3 per cent to 187.1 billion EUR, with single-premium annuity insurance accounting for a significant share of this.

Premium income for life assurance grew by 4 per cent to 90.8 billion EUR. Private health insurers in 2013 earned 0.7 per cent growth in premiums to 35.9 billion EUR. Casualty, property and accident insurers registered a 3 per cent increase in premiums to 60.4 billion EUR.

Alexander Erdland Alexander Erdland, President of the GDV:

“German insurers fared well in 2013. Despite the continued low interest rates and decline in savings among Germans, the industry earned a respectable business result. We expect somewhat moderate premium growth for 2014.”

Life assurers: The Baby Boom and Baby Bust are shaping new business
For life assurers, Pensionskassen and pension funds, single premiums were again high: 25.7 billion EUR, up 14.2 per cent over the previous year. In contrast, periodic premiums for new contracts decreased 13.1 per cent to 5.3 billion EUR. Around 75 per cent of single premiums flowed into annuity insurance. Most contracts are likely to have been concluded as long-term assurance.

The picture presented by new life assurance was divided: Contracts with periodic premiums were weak, while single-premium contracts increased sharply. In addition to the sustained low interest rates, the aging population helps to explain this. Baby Boomers are now forty to fifty years old, and are contributing strongly to growth in single-premium business. In contrast, Baby Busters from the 1970s have made their mark in new contracts with periodic premiums. Few customers take out assurance contracts between their mid twenties and mid forties. This shift in demand will presumably continue in the years to come.

Particularly positive was the further decrease in the cancellation rate, which, at 3.32 per cent, displayed the lowest figure in over 20 years (year before: 3.48 per cent). In the current difficult environment, this can be taken as a sign of customer trust in life assurance. The goal of the industry remains to reduce the cancellation rate even further.

Life assurance customers tentatively received benefits of 80 billion EUR, signifying a nearly 5 per cent increase in benefit payments. In 2013, life assurers thus paid out nearly 220 million EUR to their customers. The total number of life assurance contracts (including Pensionskassen and pension funds) remained high at 91.8 million contracts (2012: 93.0 million).

Private health insurers: moderate premium growth
In 2013, premium income among private health insurance companies increased by 0.7 per cent to 35.9 billion EUR, of which 33.8 billion EUR was attributable to health insurance. This corresponded to a gain of 0.6 per cent. Long-term care insurance grew 1.7 per cent over the previous year.

By year end, paid insurance benefits reached 24.3 billion EUR, 4.2 per cent more than the year before, of which 23.4 billion EUR was attributable to health and 0.9 billion EUR to long-term care insurance. Considered individually, health insurance benefits increased by 4.1 per cent and long-term care insurance benefits by 8.4 per cent.

Casualty, property and accident insurers: positive growth in premium income; record benefits as a consequence of natural events
Premium income in casualty, property and accident insurance provisionally increased by 3 per cent to 60.4 billion EUR. All lines, except for accident and marine insurance, registered premium growth in 2013.

Yet benefits increased much more strongly than income: tentatively by 11.6 per cent to 49.4 billion EUR. Never before did casualty, property and accident insurers in Germany pay so many benefits to their customers. Extreme weather accounted for this, with claims on a scale for insurers of 7 billion EUR within a few months.

Without a doubt, 2013 was an extraordinary year for claims. Casualty, property and accident insurers have proven that they can shoulder benefits on this scale for their customers. In a very short period of time, over two million insured claims for natural perils were arranged to the satisfaction of customers. According to a representative survey, insurers arranged claims for customers in flooded areas in a rapid, competent and uncomplicated fashion.

Due to storms and hail, motor insurers paid nearly 34 per cent more to their customers for semi-comprehensive cover and around 17 per cent more for comprehensive cover than in the previous year. Benefits paid by insurers of buildings even increased by 45 per cent in 2013. But also in the industry/commerce/agriculture line, property insurers registered a 24 per cent increase in benefits.

Based on natural events, casualty, property and accident insurers anticipate a technical loss of 1.4 billion EUR for 2013. The claims expenditure ratio (combined ratio after settlement) was 102 per cent.

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for property and casualty insurance:
Alina Schön
Tel.: (+49) 30-2020 – 5113
Mail: a.schoen@gdv.de

for Life insurance:
Una Großmann
Tel.: (+49) 30-2020 – 5185
Mail: u.grossmann@gdv.de