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Allianz is using new digital technologies to score with customers. “Our goal is to provide services and new products that galvanize customers,” said CEO Manfred Knof at Allianz Deutschland’s annual press conference. Even today, 95 percent of all its customers are satisfied with Allianz. “But that means paying complete attention to every detail each and every time we have contact with our customers,” continued Knof. He announced: “From applications to claims to benefits payments, every service process will be checked over and upgraded with the customer in mind.”
Since mid-2015, Allianz agents have been able to advise customers personally via webcam over the Internet. In the future, customers submitting a property damage claim will be notified by SMS or email on its progress. A service that is already standard practice for health insurance. Also on the horizon, customers will be able to use an app to record the damage of a car accident in just a few easy steps. Within hours, they will receive a calculation of the amount of damage via smartphone so that they can decide whether to have the funds transferred immediately or the vehicle repaired.
“That brings us closer to our goal of making it easy, fast and transparent to sell insurance policies and process claims. Just as today’s consumers have become accustomed to buying books online or booking flights on the Internet.” Telephone accessibility will also be improved significantly. An additional 150 employees will provide phone support, contacting customers directly, personally and quickly to clarify complex questions. Products and forms will also be simplified considerably.
Allianz Deutschland has a stable base of 20.1 million customers in its home market. The customers base rises to 20.7 million when factoring in cooperative arrangements. At 30.9 billion euros (2014: 32.1 billion euros), revenues in 2015 were the second-highest since Allianz Deutschland was founded, though they were 3.6 percent below the prior year’s record. A key factor here was that, as expected, life insurance brought in lower one-time premiums following an extraordinarily strong prior year.
Premium revenues in property and casualty insurance grew 1.0 percent, to 9.6 billion euros (2014: 9.5 billion euros). Corporate business and auto insurance performed especially well.
At the end of 2015, Allianz policies covered 8.3 million vehicles in Germany, about 98,000 more than 2014 (8.2 million). Direct business, which Allianz also operates under the AllSecur brand, was especially vigorous. In corporate business, the modular “FirmenKonzept” line launched in July 2015 set new standards.
Disbursements to clients for damage from natural disasters grew substantially compared to 2014. Even so, the combined ratio rose only slightly to 91.9 percent (2014: 91.5 percent). This result is primarily due to improved claims processes and lower costs. Allowing for the exceptionally low number of major natural disasters in 2014, the normalized combined ratio actually declined from 93.1 percent, to 91.7 percent.
Premium revenues in life insurance were down 6.7 percent from the prior year to 17.7 billion euros (2014: 19.0 billion euros) as expected. The figures for 2014 benefited from exceptionally good business in one-time premiums. Recurring new premiums were up 6.6 percent – a sure sign that there is still a strong demand for life insurance, especially in our successful retirement concepts that now include guarantees.
“KomfortDynamik”, a new retirement concept that combines greater chances for returns with security and guarantees, got off to an excellent start. From its launch in July to the end of the year, some 9,000 customers took out new policies that included this innovative retirement option. “Our breadth of retirement products gives our clients a very wide range of options; from maximum security to the greatest-possible, income-oriented opportunities,” Knof said. Allianz life insurance now provides coverage for 9.7 million people.
Premium revenues in health insurance remained stable at 3.3 billion euros, up 0.4 percent from 2014 (3.2 billion euros). New business grew 7.9 percent, in particular due to an increase in the number of customers taking out full private health coverage with Allianz Private Krankenversicherung (APKV). At the end of 2015, APKV provided health insurance coverage to 2.6 million people.
Private health insurance is grounded on fairness and transparency. The digital Bonus Check, for example, allows customers to work out whether it is more advantageous for them to be reimbursed for doctor’s bills and prescriptions or receive a refund on their premiums. Customers can select the more favorable option with just a click of the mouse – and that retroactively for the past two years.
Investments under management rose 2.2 percent, to 276.6 billion euros (2014: 270.7 billion euros). Despite the low-interest-rate environment, net investment income climbed 9.1 percent, to 12.7 billion euros (11.6 billion euros). This was primarily the result of trading gains realized as part of active portfolio management. Said Knof, “The people we insure benefit from our financial strength.” This is how Allianz Life was able to generate an attractive net return of 4.7 percent in 2015, well above the level of comparable safe investments despite persistent low interest rates. Reserve levels also reflected Allianz’s financial strength. In life insurance, valuation reserves as defined under the German Commercial Code came to some 37 billion euros and total reserves calculated by the same standard reached 48 billion euros.
Operating profit was up 4.0 percent, to 2.7 billion euros (2014: 2.6 billion euros). A crucial factor here was the substantially higher return on investments in life insurance. The net profit for the year rose to 1.7 billion euros (2014: 1.5 billion euros), although the prior-year figure had been reduced by a non-recurring effect.
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