The operating result increased by € 30 million to € 1,039 million (2021: € 1,009 million). All business segments performed strongly and apart from Distribution and Services posted higher operating results.
The operating result of the Non-life segment remained relatively stable at € 325 million (2021: € 322 million). The performance was strong, with healthy underwriting results in both P&C and Disability, offsetting negative developments in Health due to a decrease in the portfolio and its impact on unfavourable claims development.
The Life operating result increased by 2% (€ 15 million) to € 768 million, reflecting an improved technical result including result on costs (€ 23 million), which more than offset the slight decrease in the investment margin (€ 8 million).
The operating result of the Asset Management segment increased by 7.6% (€ 3 million) to € 39 million, mainly driven by Real estate, offsetting higher operating expenses.
The operating result of Distribution and Services decreased by € 2 million to € 25 million, reflecting higher operating expenses which are partly offset by higher contribution of acquisitions and organic business growth.
The Holding & Other operating result increased by € 11 million to € -119 million, mainly due to the release of an employee-related provision.
Gross written premiums (GWP) increased by 3.1% to € 6,041 million. The GWP in the Non-life segment increased by 3.7% to € 4,276 million, driven by strong organic growth at P&C and Disability (9.1%). Health GWP decreased by 9.0%, due in part to the exceptionally strong increase in the number of customers in 2021, which has since been reversed partly by a less competitive price proposition in 2022. The GWP in the Life segment increased by 3.1% to € 1,952 million (2021: € 1,893 million), driven mainly by the ongoing commercial success of the DC pension product ‘Werknemers Pensioen’ (Employee Pension).
Operating expenses associated by ordinary activities increased by € 41 million to € 703 million, reflecting organic business growth, especially in the Non-life and Asset Management segments and in the additional (running) costs of several new growth initiatives. The increase also reflects the one-off payments to staff to compensate for higher energy costs and the inclusion of acquisitions (total impact € 5 million) in the fee-based segments (Asset Management and Distribution & Services) and the acquisition of Brand New Day IORP as of 1 April 2021 in the Life segment.
The cost ratio of P&C and Disability improved by 0.2%-points to 7.8%, mainly due to organic business growth.
In the Life segment, the cost ratio increased slightly to 48 bps (2021: 45 bps), reflecting higher operating expenses and a lower average basic Life provision, mainly due to negative revaluations of the unit-linked reserves. This is in line with the target range of 40-50 bps for 2022-2024.
The result before tax decreased by € 280 million to € 929 million (2021: € 1,209 million), mainly due to a lower contribution from indirect investment income and a more negative impact from incidental items, partly offset by a higher operating result. The result of other incidentals also includes the strengthening of Disability provisions related to the 10% increase of the legal minimum wage as of 1 January 2023 (€ 91 million) and the positive impact (€ 46 million) for the reclassification of inflation-linked value changes of bonds to non-operating as of 2022.
With an effective tax rate of 21.9% (2021: 22.4%), the IFRS net result amounted to € 733 million (2021: € 942 million), absorbing the tariff adjustment from 25% to 25.8% as from this year.
The operating return on equity decreased by 3.3%-points to 12.8% (2021: 16.1%) and remains within the target range of 12-14%, primarily reflecting a higher adjusted IFRS equity, including the impact from € 0.6 billion equity issuance to finance the business combination of a.s.r. and Aegon Nederland. Excluding the € 0.6 billion equity issuance, the operating return on equity would have been 13.5%.
The Solvency II ratio, using the standard formula, increased by 26%-points to 222% (31 December 2021: 196%). This includes a 12%-point deduction for capital distributions, consisting of the interim dividend (€ 131 million), the share buyback executed in the first half of 2022 (€ 75 million) and the proposed final dividend (€ 254 million). It also includes the proceeds of the € 0.6 billion share issue (16%-points). Market and operational developments led to a higher solvency ratio, reflecting a positive impact from higher volatility adjustment (VA), higher interest rates and equity and real estate developments, which more than offset negative impacts from higher inflation, spread movements, non-economic assumptions and the lowering of the Ultimate Forward Rate (UFR).
Organic capital creation increased by € 59 million to € 653 million (2021: € 594 million). Negative impact due to increased capital strain from higher new business production was offset by a stronger underlying business performance and lower UFR drag due to higher interest rates.
In line with the dividend policy, a.s.r. will propose a dividend for 2022 of € 2.70 per share, an increase of 11.6% compared to the dividend for 2021, driven by confidence in the Aegon Nederland transaction. Taking into account an interim dividend of € 0.98 per share paid in September 2022, the final dividend amounts to € 1.72 per share.
On 27 October 2022, as part of the announcement relating to the business combination with Aegon Nederland, a.s.r. upgraded its progressive dividend guidance to an ambition for mid- to high-single digit dividend growth per annum until 2025.
In the first half of 2022, a share buyback programme of € 75 million was executed according to plan. The current share buyback programme of at least € 100 million per annum was halted due to the Aegon Nederland transaction.