Helsana impresses with 2017 annual result
The Helsana Group reports a profit of CHF 218 million for the 2017 financial year. The high profit is the result of outstanding investment success. Finances remain rock-solid.
Helsana looks back on a very pleasing 2017 financial year. The Group recorded a high corporate profit of CHF 218 million thanks to excellent investment performance, while delivering a balanced underwriting result. It also improved its premium position.
The combined ratios in the basic and supplementary insurance businesses are each in the break-even range. In the basic insurance business, the combined ratio has improved slightly relative to the prior-year level. In contrast, the combined ratio in the supplementary insurance business has worsened.
Increase in benefit costs slightly lower than in the previous year
The benefit costs of the Helsana Group increased further during 2017 and stood at CHF 6.315 billion (2016: CHF 6.101 billion) at the end of the year. Premium income increased to a comparable extent, totalling CHF 6.390 billion (2016: CHF 6.370 billion).
At almost 3 per cent, cost growth in 2017 was below prior-year levels.
The KVG business saw a significant rise in costs for outpatient hospital treatment, physiotherapy and home care as well in medication and medical costs. Nevertheless, the costs in these cost categories increased less markedly than in the previous year. The cause of the cost growth seen in the areas of physiotherapy and home care is the continuing increase in volumes. Medication costs, which in the basic insurance business already account for more than 20 per cent of costs, increased significantly and are continuing to do so. In particular, a sharp rise in medication costs for outpatient hospital treatment is being observed. There is still no prospect of a turnaround in terms of cost developments.
“We are continuing to do our utmost to ensure a liberal and sustainable healthcare system for all.”
Prof. Dr. Thomas D. Szucs,
Chairman of the Board of Directors
in premium income
Balanced underwriting result
The underwriting result for 2017 fell slightly short of matching the underwriting profit of CHF 55 million posted in 2016. At 100.2 per cent (2016: 99.1 per cent), the combined ratio is almost balanced, meaning that the Group’s underwriting result stands at CHF –10 million.
The 2017 combined ratio for the KVG business was 99.6 per cent (2016: 100.4 per cent) and thus falls within the targeted range.
At 99.0 per cent (2016: 95.8 per cent), the combined ratio for the VVG business worsened further, however: premium income only just covers the benefit costs. The worsening of the situation here can be attributed to the ongoing increase in benefit costs.
Relative to the previous year, the result in the accident insurance business deteriorated significantly: the combined ratio stands at 131.3 per cent (2016: 98.6 per cent). This deterioration can be put down to a one-time effect: the expected reduction in the technical interest rate has already been taken into account.
“Our customers are at the heart of everything we do. We go to great lengths to ensure that our services benefit all our customers.”
Daniel H. Schmutz, CEO
Outstanding investment result
Helsana’s investments performed extremely positively in 2017 despite several sources of uncertainty. With an overall performance of 6.02 per cent on investments of CHF 6.3 billion, the investment success made a significant contribution to the pleasing earnings result. Helsana’s investment specialists have thus once more demonstrated their expertise; their performance in 2017 outstripped that of the benchmark by 1.77 per cent. An investment result of CHF 303.4 million was thus achieved. This persistently good investment performance shows that Helsana invests premiums appropriately in the interest of its customers. The broadly diversified investment portfolio has consistently helped to strengthen Helsana’s financial capacity in the past few years. This has benefited policy-holders, as part of this financial success has been used to cushion the increase in premiums.
All companies in the Helsana Group continue to meet the legal requirements concerning solvency. The equity base is strong and stood at CHF 2.271 billion for the Group as a whole at the end of 2017. Helsana’s market position thus remains sold and provides a good basis for the future.
On 1 January 2017, the Helsana Group merged the Avanex and Helsana brands as well as the Sansan and Progrès brands. In doing so, Helsana reacted to new statutory conditions, including the refinement of the risk compensation scheme. The resulting increase in size of the policyholder groups will ensure additional stability with regard to premium developments.
Improved premium position – well prepared for the future
The adjusted starting position and further changes, such as the switch of calculation logic for discounts relating to alternative insurance models, will lead to a significant improvement in Helsana’s market and premium position in the basic insurance business. An additional 95,000 customers have been won; the significant efforts made in the area of customer retention meant that the number of departures was limited compared to the prior year. The customer base in the area of compulsory health insurance was increased by around 30,000 (+2.5 per cent). In the supplementary insurance business, the customer base remained fairly constant despite many premium adjustments (–0.5 per cent). In the corporate business, focus was increasingly placed on improving profitability instead of growth.
The strategic objective of advancing to the industry top 3 in terms of customer perception (according to the Net Promoter Score, NPS) is and will remain a challenge. Helsana has made good progress towards achieving this goal and has reduced the gap to the top 3 considerably. A major contribution in this regard has been made by innovative projects, such as the launch of the Helsana+ (“Helsana Plus”) bonus programme, which already has 50,000 users.
Commitment to quality and efficiency
In light of the steady increase in premiums, meaningful and sustainable reforms are urgently required. The entire system must be strengthened and greater personal responsibility needs to be taken. The introduction of uniform financing for outpatient and inpatient benefits would represent an important step in the right direction. This would allow for the eradication of misplaced incentives and the increase in costs to be cushioned. We are therefore supporting this plan – in the interests of our policyholders.