Annual Report 2021
Business performance
ASR Nederland N.V.

The a.s.r. group consists of a number of operating and holding companies. The operations of a.s.r. are divided into five operating segments, the main ones being Non-life and Life, which perform all insurance activities. The other activities are performed by three separate segments; Asset Management, Distribution and Services, and Holding and Other.

Financial performance

Operating result

The operating result increased by 136 million to 1,021 million (2020: 885 million). This significant increase reflects improvements in all segments.

The (indicative) impact of COVID-19 amounted to 77 million (2020: -1 million), primarily driven by lower claims in Property & Casualty (P&C) and a limited benefit in Health, partly offset by higher claims in Disability and lower direct investment income.

Operating result per segment

The Non-life operating result increased by 84 million to 325 million. This was mainly driven by an improvement of the claims ratio in Disability and profitable organic growth in all three Non-life business lines. In addition, within P&C, restrictions with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in lower claims, partly offset by the claims related to the July floods in Limburg (20 million) and the strengthening of reserves (primarily related to motor vehicle liability) in the first half of the year.

The Life operating result increased by 33 million to 763 million. The investment margin improved by 62 million to 682 million (2020: 620 million) mainly driven by further optimisation of the investment portfolio and lower required interest. The technical result decreased by 30 million, reflecting lower result on disability cover in pensions as well as the regular run-off of the Individual life portfolio.

The operating result of Asset Management increased by 4 million to 36 million, mainly driven by higher third-party assets under management (AuM), particularly in the mortgage funds and the mix funds of the a.s.r. Pensions DC product (Werknemers Pensioen).

The Distribution and Services operating result increased by 2 million to 28 million, mainly driven by acquisitions, expansion of services provided and tariff adjustments.

The operating result of Holding and Other improved by 13 million to -130 million, driven primarily by lower operating expenses due to the introduction of a DC pension scheme for a.s.r. employees.

Gross written premiums

Gross written premiums (GWP) increased by 11.1% to 5,859 million (2020: 5,276 million). The Non-life segment increased by 13.2%, to 4,124 million (2020: 3,643 million) due to organic growth of P&C and Disability (5.2%) and organic growth in Health (38%), the latter due to a substantial growth in the number of customers. The Life segment increased by 4.6%, to 1,893 million (2020: 1,810 million) driven by strong growth in Pensions DC.

Operating expenses

The operating expenses increased by 24 million to 725 million (2020: 701 million). This increase reflects the inclusion of various acquisitions, comprising several smaller acquisitions in the Distribution and Services segment (16 million) and the acquisition of Brand New Day IORP as of 1 April 2021 (6 million).

Excluding the impact of acquired businesses, operating expenses remained fairly stable and offset additional (run) costs of several new growth initiatives. The expense ratio in the Non-life segment (excluding Health) improved by 0.1%-points to 8.0% (2020: 8.1%) partly due to revenue growth and IT synergies from the integration of Loyalis and Veherex. In the Life segment, the operating expenses in basis points (bps) of the basic Life provision remained stable at 45 bps (2020: 45 bps), which is at the lower end of the target range (45-55 bps).

Result before tax

The result before tax increased by 380 million to 1,209 million (2020: 829 million), mainly due to the higher operating result (136 million) and higher indirect investment income (107 million), reflecting fair value gains / losses and capital gains and losses, the recovery on the financial markets and several non-recurring items in 2020.

With an effective tax rate of 22.4% (2020: 20.7%), net IFRS profit amounted to 942 million (2020: 657 million).

Operating return on equity

The operating return on equity increased by 1.0%-points to 16.3% (2020: 15.3%), exceeding the medium-term target range of 12-14%. The strong growth in the operating result was the main driver of this increase. The IFRS return on equity improved 3.6%-points to 15.3% (2020: 11.7%), primarily reflecting the higher IFRS net result.

Solvency II ratio and organic capital creation

The Solvency II ratio, using the standard formula, decreased by 3%-points to 196% (31 December 2020: 199%), including a 10%-points deduction for the dividend (329 million) and the share buyback (SBB) programme (75 million) executed in 2021. The positive impact from higher interest rates and higher organic capital creation were offset by the deployment of capital in acquisitions as well as various market and operational developments (e.g. volatility adjustment (VA), Ultimate Forward Rate (UFR) and inflation).

Organic capital creation increased by 94 million to 594 million (2020: 500 million), mainly due to the improved performance in the Non-life segment, which is partly driven by an incidental COVID-19 benefit, as well as an increase in investment returns.

Dividend and capital distribution

In line with the dividend policy, a.s.r. proposed a dividend for 2021 of 2.42 per share, an increase of 18.6% compared to 2020. Taking into account an interim dividend of 0.82 per share paid in September 2021, the final dividend amounts to 1.60 per share.

a.s.r. announced a 75 million SBB programme, in line with its commitment for the 2019-2021 plan period. The buyback of shares starts on 24 February 2022 and will end on 24 May 2022 at the latest. The SBB programme falls within a.s.r.’s General Meeting of Shareholders’ mandate granted to the Executive Board on 19 May 2021. a.s.r. will ask the General Meeting to cancel these shares in due course.

a.s.r. has appointed an independent broker to execute the SBB programme. The exact timing of the buyback will be determined by this broker, independently and without interference from a.s.r. The execution of the SBB programme depends on the market conditions. Based on the closing price of 42.37 per 15 February 2022 and the amount of 75 million as starting point, the number of shares to be bought would amount to 1,770,120.

The progress of the SBB programme will be announced weekly on a.s.r.’s website:


Impact on financial results
In million202120202019
Operating result1,021885858
of which impact COVID-19177-1-
Combined ratio91.8%93.6%93.5%
of which impact COVID-1913.1%0.6%-
Organic capital creation (OCC)594500501
IFRS Net result942657972
  • 1 Indicative figures

Operating result in the years 2021 and 2020 excluding one-off COVID-19 impact, is above operating result of the year 2019. Even without the one-off COVID-19 impact, a.s.r. shows strong results for the years 2021 and 2020. These are mainly driven by a strong business performance in all segments and higher investment margins.

Excluding the positive COVID-19 impact in 2021, the COR for Non-life (P&C and Disability) remains strong and within the target range of 94-96%.

The increase of OCC mainly reflects the strong business performance of the various segments and the increased one-off positive effect of COVID-19, mainly in the Non-life segment.

The IFRS net result shows a volatile course over the years, partly due to the sentiment of financial markets. Especially the year 2020 was affected by lower indirect investment income, reflecting lower fair value gains and losses, capital gains and losses and increased impairments, with a visible recovery of financial markets in 2021.

The long-term effects of COVID-19 on society and results going forward is unknown and difficult to predict reliable. a.s.r. remains cautious for the effects in the longer term.