Annual Report 2021
Operating environment
Portfolio and execution of strategy

a.s.r. has divided its business portfolio into three categories on the basis of profitability, value creation and organic and inorganic growth potential:

I. Business domains in Non-life with stable
cash flow and growth potential

P&C | Disability | Health

In Property & Casualty (P&C), Disability and Health, a.s.r. focuses on continuous growth, both organically and inorganically.

The ability for creating value and growing profitability in P&C is underpinned by the following capabilities of a.s.r.:

  • Insurance expertise, i.e. its underwriting skills – strong acceptance, risk selection and pricing, claims management and cost-effective operations.

  • Leading position in the intermediary channel and its in-house distributors and service providers.

  • Organic growth with a strong combined ratio (COR).

  • Broad know-how and experience in integrating and optimising portfolios and businesses acquired. a.s.r.’s IT systems and platforms are set up to be efficient and scalable, and can onboard additional businesses easily in the future.

In P&C, a.s.r. can continue to grow organically by gaining market share at the targeted COR and where available, by adding business without materially increasing operational expenses, consequently benefiting from economies of scale. The distribution partners in the portfolio play an important role in facilitating the organic growth.

a.s.r. holds a leading position in disability insurance and is well-equipped to benefit from the trends in disability insurance that are driving demand for services surrounding sustainable employability.

a.s.r. has a strong position in an evolving ecosystem in sustainable employability, which includes:

  • Intermediaries, in-house distributors and service providers which provide access to customer groups.

  • Disability prevention, treatment and reintegration services to assist employees and a growing cohort of self-employed individuals.

  • Partnership with Discovery’s Vitality, a company that offers science-based behaviour change programmes helping to improve customers’ health.

Sustainable employability is an opportunity for a.s.r. to serve its customers across all parts of the value chain. a.s.r. is consequently able to improve service levels and create value within all parts of the chain, resulting in strong insurance performance.

With the creation of the new a.s.r. Reintegration and Services business line, a.s.r. took an important step towards further growth and development in the field of sustainable employment. This business line focuses on reintegration service commission, consultancy and innovation in the field of sustainable employability.

With the health proposition, a.s.r. stimulates and supports customers to make healthy choices. The combination of health insurance and health services provided by a.s.r., helps to motivate and retain customers. The close relationship with customers provides further organic growth potential for P&C and Disability offerings through cross sell.

II. Fee-based business with growth potential

Pensions DC | Asset Management | Distribution and Services

Growth of fee-based business, such as defined contribution (DC) pension, asset management and distribution and services business, remains a key part of a.s.r.’s strategy.

Several distribution and services companies have been acquired in recent years, facilitating growth in P&C and Disability and enabling a.s.r. to become an even more service-oriented company. Within the Distribution and Services segment, a.s.r. focuses on alignment of distribution service activities to benefit from economies of scale and improve customer services, increasing market share of mandated brokers and protecting a.s.r.'s portfolio. a.s.r. is well-positioned to integrate selective mergers and acquisitions (M&A) opportunities.

a.s.r. has a diversified DC pension proposition, enabling a.s.r. to capture the opportunity in pension accumulation products arising from the new Dutch pension agreement. The acquisition of 100% of the shares in Brand New Day Premiepensioeninstelling N.V. (Brand New Day Institution for Occupational Retirement Provision (IORP)) was completed on 1 April 2021. a.s.r. manages 8.4 billion of DC related assets as a result of strong growth in a.s.r.’s Employee Pension (Werknemers Pensioen (WnP)) and the acquisition of Brand New Day IORP.

a.s.r. was able to expand the assets managed for third parties profitably and supports growth in the affiliated DC pension business. a.s.r. has a scalable platform with 78 billion of assets under management (AuM), enabling a.s.r. to benefit from economies of scale.

a.s.r. offers unique investment propositions to third party clients, in which it has gained extensive experience and expertise:

  • Best in class Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) driven asset management solutions.

  • Knowledge of illiquid asset classes offered via funds and mandates, such as real estate, alternative fixed income and Dutch mortgages. In total, a.s.r. manages 20.8 billion of own originated residential mortgages, of which 9.8 billion for third parties. In 2021, mortgage origination rose by 1.3 billion, to 6.0 billion.

  • Liability-driven investment (LDI) management solutions based on a.s.r.’s experience in managing its own insurance liabilities and related assets.

a.s.r. pursues a buy and build strategy in order to add scale and specific knowledge to asset management for third parties.

III. Robust and predictable service books, with a
substantial contribution to the profitability of a.s.r.

Individual life | Pensions DB | Funeral

The contribution of the existing Life book to capital generation is expected to remain stable to slightly growing in the medium to long-term. The robustly capitalised books that a.s.r. manages as service books are, individual life, defined benefit (DB) pension books and funeral. These books are still open, although new business has reduced over time, mainly due to the low interest rate environment, changes in the Dutch fiscal regime and a.s.r.’s value over volume key strategic principle. Life premiums account for less than 33% of total premiums.

a.s.r.’s profitability in this segment has its origin in effective and simplified processes based on low and variable cost operations, in the excellent migration and conversion of books of business and in the optimisation of Solvency II capital and investment returns.

Growth opportunities within life insurance are:

  • The consolidation of funeral books.

  • Consolidation in the individual life domain.

  • Benefits that may be achieved by leveraging a.s.r.’s operational efficiency in the segment.