The Non-life segment consists of Property & Casualty (P&C), Disability and Health. The main legal entities of the Non-life segment are ASR Schadeverzekering N.V., ASR Basis Ziektekostenverzekeringen N.V. and ASR Aanvullende Ziektekostenverzekeringen N.V.
Gross written premiums increased by 13.2% (€ 480 million) to € 4,124 million (2020: € 3,643 million), due to organic growth in all business lines. The total organic growth of Disability and P&C combined was 5.2% (€ 143 million), driven by increased sales volumes and tariff adjustments (mainly in Disability). The growth in Health of 38% (€ 338 million) reflects the commercial success of the recently introduced benefit-in-kind policy. In maintaining its financial discipline and pricing products rationally, a.s.r. benefited from an opportunity in the Dutch Health insurance market to grow profitably last year.
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 business lines within Non-life.
The total (indicative) impact of COVID-19 was € 93 million (2020: € 21 million). Technical provisions for Disability were further strengthened this year due to revised expectations with regard to long-term COVID-19 related absenteeism, but to a lesser extent compared to last year, as well as a lower direct investment income primarily related to rental income.
Lower claims in P&C, particularly in motor and fire, and a limited positive impact in Health, led to an increased positive impact overall.
The 2021 operating result includes the negative impact from claims due to floods in Limburg in the second half of the year (€ 20 million), in addition to the strengthening of reserves in P&C (primarily related to motor vehicle liability) in the first half of the year.
The operating expenses increased by € 12 million to € 269 million, while the expense ratio of the Non-life segment decreased by 0.5%-points. The expense ratio for Non-life (excluding Health) improved by 0.1%-points to 8.0% (2020: 8.1%). Growth of the premium volume in Disability and Health led to a limited increase in expenses.
The combined ratio (COR) of the Non-life segment (excluding Health) improved by 1.9%-points to 91.8%, mainly due to a decrease in the claims ratio. The claims ratio benefited from the COVID-19 impact (approximately 3%-points), this is more favourable than last year (2020: approximately 1%-point). This reflects a less adverse impact on Disability compared to 2020. The impact of the July floods and reserve strengthening, mainly in P&C, partly offset the positive COVID-19 impact.
In P&C, the COR amounted to 91.9% (2020: 92.5%). This reflects a favourable claims environment, particularly in motor and fire, primarily driven by COVID-19 related restrictions in the Netherlands. There was a negative impact from reserve strengthening, primarily related to motor vehicle liability, including the effect from a further, sector-wide, lowering of the actuarial interest rate for personal injury.
In Disability, the COR amounted to 91.6% (2020: 95.1%). The underlying performance improved, thanks to pricing actions and improvements made in the sickness leave portfolio via claims control and a further focus on prevention and re-integration. Reserves were strengthened in group disability and sickness leave, reflecting new insights into the impact of long-term (psychological) absenteeism after falling ill to COVID-19. However, this impact is less severe than last year.
The COR of Health improved by 1.6%-points to 96.2%. The improvement was mainly due to a strong underlying business performance driven by profitable growth of the portfolio. The COVID-19 related contribution from the Health insurance fund, based on Section 33 of the Health Insurance Act, was slightly positive.
The result before tax increased by € 97 million to € 357 million (2020: € 261 million) and was largely in line with the increase in the operating result (€ 84 million). Indirect investment income increased by € 16 million due to lower impairments.
a.s.r. ranks among the top three P&C insurers in the Netherlands, with a market share of 14.3%1 in 2020 (2019: 14.3%), measured by GWP. a.s.r. offers a broad range of P&C products for the private and commercial markets under the brands a.s.r., Ditzo and Europeesche Verzekeringen. The a.s.r. brand focuses on the private and commercial markets via advisors and mandated brokers, and Ditzo on direct online distribution to private individuals. Europeesche Verzekeringen offers travel and recreational insurance via travel agents. In 2021, the COR was 91.9%, partly due to a lower amount of claims (as a result of COVID-19 measures, e.g. lock down, working from home, less travel).
The Dutch P&C market has consolidated strongly in recent years. The three top P&C insurers have a combined market share of 64%1. Consolidation has also occurred among the distribution parties and mandated brokers. COVID-19 led to a lower level of claims in the Dutch market, in particular for road accident claims. However, risks are rising due to climate change, as shown by the losses for flooding claims in Limburg and amount of single claim rises due to higher inflation. Another aspect of COVID-19 is the acceleration in digitisation, as the government measures led to greater use of digital means of communication for e.g. online shopping and video calls. This creates opportunities for further digitisation of customer service commission by insurers and their distribution partners, such as more online distribution, the use of My environments (customer portals), advice via video calls and the use of live chats.
A relevant market development is that the Minister of Finance intends to make service commission for private P&C insurance transparent by the end of 2022. This means that advisors will be required to actively inform customers of the nominal amount of commission per product and per person. This could provide a stimulus for change in the distribution landscape.
The direct claims settlement regulation (covenant) entered into force on 1 July 2021. Insurers must ensure that private customers can contact their own insurers for compensation for their material damage to a passenger car after a collision.
Motor: third party and comprehensive insurance for vehicles and vehicle fleets.
Fire: cover for damage to buildings and contents due to causes including fire, storm and secondary flood.
Other: other P&C insurance products such as liability, legal aid, travel and recreation, and transport insurance.
a.s.r. holds a strong position in the Dutch P&C insurance market. P&C is structurally profitable, with a good customer appreciation score. The growth target is in line with the growth of the gross domestic product (GDP). a.s.r. is strongly represented among advisors, mandated brokers and in the co-insurance market, via Corins. In the direct channel the revenue of a.s.r. (via the Ditzo label) is stable and profitable. COVID-19 is also having an impact on the travel market and consequently, on the turnover of Europeesche Verzekeringen. a.s.r. began offering sustainable P&C insurance at the end of 2021, via ASN Bank (see www.asrnl.com for more information).
Simplifying and modernising the IT landscape is an important part of the strategy. In 2021, the P&C platform AXON was set up for the commercial products and the commercial portfolio was converted from the old IT landscape to AXON. The entire provincial independent advisors portfolio is now on the AXON platform. This is an important basis for further digitisation of the chain, improvement of service commission to customers and advisors, and for cost reduction.
Through further digitisation, the My environment for customers has been expanded. At the end of 2021 over 80,000 customers are digital customers and have created accounts for the My environment (2020: around 25,000 digital customers). Customers assign P&C a NPS-c score of 59.
New sustainable elements are continually added to a.s.r.'s products and services. Cover for solar panels, charging units, (mini) wind turbines, heat pumps, green roofs and secondary flooding is already available. For damage repair, a.s.r. works with a sustainable repair network (affiliated to Stichting Groen Gedaan). Business customers receive sustainability advice during the risk inspection. The acceptants consider here whether risks that are more difficult to insure from a technical insurance point of view, but that have a strong positive impact on climate change, can nevertheless be insured, partly in order to stimulate such initiatives. To encourage customers to improve the sustainability of their homes, a.s.r. has set up a content platform in partnership with PorteRenee.nl. The platform provides content to customers on how to save energy (and money).
P&C expects further growth of the portfolio, by 3-5% per annum, with growth opportunities primarily in the commercial market and via ASN Bank. The COR target (combined with Disability) for 2022 is 93-95%. In order to strengthen its position in the commercial market, a.s.r. will further improve and simplify the business proposition. a.s.r. aims to take major steps towards further digitisation of the chain, in order to improve its customer service. The My environment for customers will be further expanded and further digitisation of the claims handling process is planned. This will enable more customers to register as digital customers. Products and services will become more sustainable, partly through further stimulation of sustainable damage repair (e.g. replacement with refurbished items) and the addition of new sustainable cover for brand products, such as tiny houses and other buildings. a.s.r. is investigating possibilities for setting up its own repair chain for damage to buildings. a.s.r. has ambitious plans to realise a fully sustainable product range by 2025.
As a sustainable insurer, a.s.r. encourages customers to opt for sustainable repair in the event of damage rather than replacing parts or items. Research by CE Delft shows that the climate impact of repair is three to six times lower than that of replacement.
For damage repair, customers can make use of a nationwide network of sustainable companies with the Groengedaan! label of Stichting Duurzaam, which was co-founded by a.s.r., or that are members of the Schadegarant network.
These companies use environmentally friendly means, they reuse materials, consume less energy and process residual waste in a sustainable manner, including through separation. A large part of all damage to vehicles and fire damage to property such as electronics, wooden floors, sanitary facilities, furniture and window frames can be repaired sustainably. Repair is often faster and is better for the world.
A monitoring dashboard was developed to measure progress on the target on sustainable repair. The first data was available in the fourth quarter of 2021. In this quarter over 4,500 damage incidents were sustainably repaired. The target set is to increase the percentage of sustainable repair to vehicles and property to 85% and 50% respectively, of all repairable (fire) damages in 2025.
a.s.r. is the market leader in the Disability segment measured in GWP. In 2020 a.s.r. had a market share of 30.6%1. The disability insurance market amounts to € 3,921 billion1. The COR of Disability fell to 91.6% (2020: 95.1%) despite considerable efforts to reduce cost of claims in all product lines, including absence insurance and cost control.
The distribution of disability insurance mainly takes place via independent advisors. a.s.r. holds an excellent position in the distribution market for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). With the Loyalis brand, a.s.r. also has a strong position in the wholesale sector. Distribution via mandated brokers has risen sharply between 2016 and 2020, from € 305 million to € 600 million, which is 15% of the market1. At a.s.r., 23%2 of the GWP takes place via mandated brokers.
In the current coalition agreement, reference is made to the pension agreement for working out the details of the compulsory insurance. The advice from the Stichting van de Arbeid (Labour Foundation) is used for further completion of the current disability insurance policies and opt-out for new customers. The sector is in constructive consultation with the various stakeholders via the Verbond van Verzekeraars.
Individual disability: products for self-employed persons to protect themselves against loss of income in the event of sickness or disability until the age of retirement and products for employees to protect:
The payment of fixed expenses in the event of sickness or disability.
Sick leave insurance: products for employers to cover the costs associated with the employers’ obligation to continue to pay wages in the event of employee sickness for a maximum of two years.
Products for (very large) employers to cover their own risk carrier status under the Return to work (Partially Disabled) Regulations (WGA).
Products for the benefit of employees (taken out by employers) to cover loss of income due to an inability to (fully) perform work as a result of disability as defined by the Work and Income Act (WIA).
In 2021, the recently-formed (autumn of 2020) a.s.r. reintegration business further expanded its services, thereby increasing its responsibility for promoting sustainable employability for businesses and their employees. In December, an external audit showed that the quality management system complies with ISO requirements. This makes the a.s.r. reintegration business the first business line with an ISO 9001 certificate. a.s.r. has a long service record of good support for the self-employed and their businesses through close cooperation between claims handlers, medical consultants and occupational health and safety experts. In April 2021 a.s.r. discontinued the De Amersfoortse brand and all activities were successfully transferred to the a.s.r. brand.
The NPS-c of Disability increased to 60 in 2021 (2020: 58).
The NPS score for the independent advisors for the business operations for Individual Disability is +32 (2020: +31)1. For Group Disability the NPS score is +14 (2020: +12)1.
In 2021, in addition to the further development of commission for prevention and reintegration in the event of sickness and disability, major efforts were made to increase digitisation and automation of customer processes. This generates fewer paper flows and is more convenient for customers. Examples of this include the development of the My environment for individual insurance and the implementation of salary links for uniform administration of participants for Sickness Leave and Group Disability insurance. Digital links were also created between the occupational health and safety service and a.s.r. To contribute to a uniform administration of sickness leave for both a.s.r. and the registered chain partners.
In 2021, a.s.r. called attention to the growing problem of absences for mental health reasons in a large-scale campaign, with a specific focus on early identification of signs that could indicate a burn-out, preventing sickness leave. The widespread attention that the campaign attracted, including in the media, confirms the social importance of this theme.
No impactful changes in social security that will affect the insurance portfolio are expected in Disability in 2022. Disability expects further growth of the portfolio, by 3-5% per annum, the COR target (combined with P&C) for 2022 is 93-95%. Disability will continue to focus on the ecosystem of sustainable employability, with the aim of remaining the market leader by continuing to monitor the market critically and aiming for chain integration.
With a market share of 3.6% (2020: 2.4%)1, a.s.r. was the sixth largest provider of health insurance products in the Dutch market in 2021, measured by the number of customers. The market share of the four biggest health insurers remained virtually unchanged from the year before, at 85%. a.s.r. saw the biggest rise in market share in 2021 (+41.2%), partly due to the combination of competitive premiums and products and services such as a.s.r. Vitality and its image as a sustainable insurer. In 2021, a.s.r. offered its health insurance under the De Amersfoortse and Ditzo brands until 19 April 2021. Per this date the disability and health insurance of the De Amersfoortse were offered under the a.s.r. brand. De Amersfoortse as a separate brand no longer exists.
The COR of Health improved by 1.6%-points to 96.2% (2020: 97.7%). This improvement is partly due to an increase of in-kind policies and a COVID-19 benefit.
As in 2020, COVID-19 again placed enormous pressure on the Dutch health system in 2021. Together with other health insurers, a.s.r. took measures to secure the continuity of health care, the duty of care and the information supply to its insured parties. As a result of solidarity agreements, the extra costs resulting from COVID-19 were evenly divided among health insurers.
The health insurance market in the Netherlands comprises two product types: basic insurance and supplementary insurance. The market is highly regulated, with all Dutch residents obliged to take out basic health insurance. Basic coverage has limited variations across all insurers, since it is a statutory requirement and the content is prescribed by the government. Although supplementary insurance coverage is not obligatory, 84.9% of the market opted for a form of supplementary health insurance in 2021. Health insurance contracts are taken out on an annual basis. Generally, 6-7% of customers switch between health insurance providers each calendar year. This trend has been relatively stable over the past five years. In 2021, the number of customers that switched was 1.1 million, i.e. 6.5%1.
Insurers are obliged to accept as a policyholder any person who is statutory obliged to have basic health cover. This is enabled by a government-run system of risk spreading, which provides compensation to insurers in relation to the expected healthcare costs in their customer base. Both government and the health insurance sector are constantly seeking to improve the system of risk-based cost compensation.
Supplementary health insurance which covers specific risks not covered by basic insurance, such as the costs of dentistry, physiotherapy, orthodontics and medical support abroad.
An in-kind policy, under which all healthcare costs are covered by the basic insurance if the insured party goes to a contracted healthcare provider, is the most common kind of policy on the Dutch market: 77%1 of the insured population have an in-kind policy. An in-kind policy is also referred to as contracted care. In 2021, 59% of a.s.r.’s healthcare customers had an in-kind policy.
The Health strategy was revised on 1 January 2021. With this, a.s.r. aims to realise ambitions and build on the transition to a healthcare business that works for a generation of customers who opt for a healthy lifestyle. Offering different health services, including a.s.r. Vitality, is intended to help and motivate people to care for their own health. By switching from reactive to more proactive customer contacts, a.s.r. can work to help customers more effectively, encourage them to make their own health choice and provide them with a more positive experience and better service.
Health aims to encourage its customers to make good choices. An example of this is the four-month participation campaign during the 2020-2021 healthcare season, in which, via a.s.r. Vitality, a.s.r. offers all its customers (new and existing) four months free access to the Vitality programme on the contracting or renewal of their health insurance. In addition, the Doorgaan proposition is a unique combination of healthcare insurance, disability insurance and services aimed at vitality and sustainable employability for entrepreneurs and their employees and provides products and services for their mental and physical wellbeing. With the focus on health and vitality, rewarding healthy choices and sustainable employability, a.s.r. aims to play a role in improving the lives of individuals and of society as a whole. New health services were introduced for both brands in 2021. One example is the Ditzo Running Programme, in which a.s.r. aims to raise customer enthusiasm for running and to encourage customers to exercise.
In 2021, a.s.r. launched a partnership with Arts & Zorg (Physician & Healthcare) to enable smart healthcare choices for its customers. A pilot programme will be set up to allow insured parties to make more use of the healthcare digital channels. This responds to the increasing customer demand to obtain more healthcare or advice digitally, and to find a solution for the growing shortage of general practitioners.
Health customers are increasingly price sensitive and active online. a.s.r. devotes close attention to an optimal customer experience. It puts considerable effort into improving customer contacts by organising these quickly and efficiently with the aid of digitisation. One example of this is the introduction of Live Chat, an accessible live chat function with which customers receive immediate assistance and fast and clear answers to questions. a.s.r. devotes a great deal of time and energy into the evaluation of its products and services, in order to remain a customer-oriented organisation.
With an NPS-c score of 49 in 2021 (2020: 49), customer satisfaction of Health remained stable.
a.s.r. expects COVID-19 to continue and to again have an impact on society as a whole, and the healthcare sector in particular in 2022. The focus of the healthcare insurer remains on compliance with the duty of care and on helping customers and employees to take care of their health as far as possible. Digitisation and customer convenience are also subjects that will receive attention in 2022. Finally, efforts will continue to improve the customer experience and to enthusing customers with information, products and services, including in the fields of health and vitality. In the healthcare market, price competition is increasing. Competitors are willing to use equity capital to increase their market share. This most probably will lead to market share loss in the healthcare season as not all customers that a.s.r. won last year will stay at a.s.r.
a.s.r. Vitality is the health programme through which a.s.r. encourages and motivates customers and employees to exercise regularly and live healthier. Participants who meet their exercise targets can receive weekly, monthly and annual rewards.
In practice, it turned out that weekly targets were often met after a few days of exercise and therefore did not encourage daily exercise as much as hoped for. It meant that the balance between exercise and reward was not optimal. For this reason, a.s.r. Vitality made adjustments to both sides of the model, improving the balance.
Changing the exercise targets and adding new ways to earn points (such as cycling and yoga) aim to challenge participants to exercise daily. As a result of the changes, customers have to move more often in order to be eligible to receive rewards, such as a cashback on their insurance contribution or to earn back the purchase value of their activity tracker.
The changes have created unrest among some of the participants, which in hindsight is understandable. a.s.r. should have explained the changes better and customers should have been informed earlier about adjustments to the exercise targets.
For this reason, a.s.r. Vitality offered existing participants leniency with respect to the monthly and annual remuneration agreements made at the start of their participation. The new exercise targets apply to new participants.