The head of the Helvetia insurance group, Philipp Gmuer, explains the half-year results in a video. However, he omits important details.
The St. Gallen-based insurance company Helvetia presented its half-year results on Thursday. Group CEO Philipp Gmuer did not miss the opportunity to record a video on the results and distribute it on the group’s website and via Youtube.
However, viewers may get a different impression than the one intended by the Group: The top manager is standing in a turquoise room wearing a somewhat too small, checkered sacco and a dotted tie, and wildly bent lamps dangle haphazardly from the ceiling.
The remarks also seem a bit strange and do not seem to fit the facts. The total volume of business increased by 1.1 percent, Gmuer explained. Yet when looking at the figures in Thursday’s media release, total business volume fell by 2 percent to 6.8 billion Swiss francs. Only if one adjusts for currency effects does one arrive at the figure that the CEO highlights. However, he does not explain that.
In life insurance, revenue actually fell 6.7 percent to 2.6 billion Swiss francs.
Huge profit slump
The consolidated profit amounted to 219 million Swiss francs, the Helvetia top manager went on to say about the half-year results with a smile. Forgotten was the information that this actually represents a decline of 16.3 percent compared to the same period last year. Without a comparative value, the information is therefore of little use.
In Switzerland, earnings fell by almost 12 percent to 156 million Swiss francs. In the Europe segment, profits actually slumped by 41 percent to 56 million Swiss francs.
Problems with special insurances
The basis for the good result was ‘very robust underwriting results’ the Helvetia Group CEO explained. In Switzerland, the combined ratio – a measure of underwriting profitability – fell from 94.8 to a good 91.3 percent.
In the special insurance segment, however, the ratio deteriorated from 95.6 to 96.1 percent and is thus getting closer and closer to the value of 100 percent above which companies no longer earn any money in actuarial terms.
Losses on stock exchanges
And in terms of investment income, Helvetia Group was totally shaken. From a net gain on investments of the group of 411 million Swiss francs in the 2021 semester, a loss of 216 million Swiss francs resulted in this past half-year.
“In addition, Helvetia continues to have an excellent capitalization,” Gmür further stressed, referring to the good solvency value of 280 percent in the Swiss Solvency Test. Despite Gmuer’s statement, equity has now shrunk by almost 30 percent to 4.5 billion Swiss francs due to the lower valuation of investments.
On top of that, Helvetia is doing an excellent job strategically. When looking at the fulfilment of the financial targets for the year 2025, a presentation for the media shows that practically all values are already “on track” or “exceeded” in the 2022 semester.
This, however, makes the strategic targets appear to be much less ambitious. But even this circumstance (favorable for him) is not mentioned by CEO Gmür in the video.