Helsana presents strong 2018 annual result
The Helsana Group generated a profit of CHF 54 million in 2018. An outstanding underwriting result was accompanied by an investment loss.
Helsana impresses with a strong 2018 financial year. The underwriting result has improved in all business lines. At CHF 54 million, however, the Helsana Group’s corporate profit is significantly down on the previous year (2017: CHF 218 million). This can be explained by the considerably worse investment performance as a consequence of the much less friendly and more volatile stock market environment compared to 2017. The premium position remained strong.
The Group’s combined ratio developed pleasingly and is thus clearly in positive territory. In the basic insurance business, the underwriting result significantly improved once more following the increase recorded in the previous year. This is a key reason for the low average increase in premiums for 2019. The accident insurance business was once again clearly in positive territory, while the supplementary insurance business was also just in the technical profit zone.
Benefit costs fall
The underwriting result developed very pleasingly at the Helsana Group. Benefit costs fell for the first time between 2017 and 2018 and totalled CHF 6.195 billion in 2018 (2017: CHF 6.315 billion). This development can primarily be attributed to the fact that there was virtually no increase in acute inpatient costs, the Federal Council’s second Tarmed intervention for outpatient medical services as well as the stepping up of benefit costs management with new procedures for cost-effectiveness checks. The resumption of the price review for drugs also had a dampening effect on cost developments. However, it should not be assumed that medication costs will continue to develop in such a moderate fashion. In light of the prices of newly launched medications and the ongoing increase in consumption, a considerably sharper increase in costs is to be expected in this area over the coming years.
Premium income increased relative to 2017, totalling CHF 6.501 billion (2017: CHF 6.390 billion).
“We are working continuously to create innovations that allow our customers to access the ideal treatment methods for them”.
Prof. Thomas D. Szucs, Chairman of the Board of Directors
in premium income
Pleasing underwriting result
The underwriting profit in 2018 stood at CHF 175 million and was thus considerably higher than in the previous year (2017: CHF –10 million). Following the balanced result of the prior year (2017: 100.2 per cent), the combined ratio was clearly in positive territory once more at 97.3 per cent.
In the basic insurance business, there was a clear surplus. The combined ratio for 2018 stood at 97.1 per cent (2017: 99.6 per cent).
The supplementary insurance business also performed positively. The combined ratio stood at 98.3 per cent (2017: 99.0 per cent) and thus improved relative to the prior year: benefit costs are well covered by premium income. This is despite continuously increasing benefit costs and one-time effects as part of the launch of the new generation of hospital products.
The figures in the accident business developed very positively: the combined ratio for 2018 stood at 92.3 per cent (2017: 131.3 per cent) and was thus clearly in positive territory. The high combined ratio of the previous year could chiefly be attributed to a one-time effect: the expected reduction in the technical interest rate had already been taken into account at that time.
“Our customers are at the heart of our activities. We invest in our processes on an ongoing basis in order to provide our customers with the best possible service at optimal costs”.
Daniel H. Schmutz, CEO
Volatile capital markets
The global capital markets were characterised in 2018 by a high level of volatility and hit their temporary low point during a December that saw prices deep in the red. At the end of the year, the major equity markets were well down compared to the start of 2018. Helsana was also unable to escape this trend. In 2018, the investment performance for Helsana was negative. Following an overall performance of 6.02 per cent in the previous year, in 2018 this figure stood at –2.64 per cent on investments of CHF 6.2 billion. After many good to very good years, investments were for once unable to contribute to an improvement in the overall result.
In 2018, the performance fell short of the benchmark by 0.34 percentage points. An investment result of CHF –136 million was thus achieved. The broadly diversified investment portfolio and the expertise of the investment specialists contributed once again this year to limiting the loss in a challenging investment environment.
Strong finances and well positioned for the future
All companies in the Helsana Group continue to significantly exceed the legal requirements concerning solvency. The equity base has grown further and stood at CHF 2.321 billion for the Group as a whole at the end of 2018 (2017: CHF 2.271 billion).
increase in customer base for 2019
In addition to the equity capital, the premium position in the basic insurance business has also improved once more. This is evidenced by the increase in the customer base of 66,000 in the basic insurance business for 2019. Helsana thus has an outstanding starting point for the coming premium round. In the supplementary insurance business, the customer base grew (+3.0 per cent) despite persistent cost pressure. Growth was generated in the corporate business, with profitability improving considerably.
A further major challenge is the achievement of the strategic objective of advancing to the industry top 3 in terms of customer perception (according to the Net Promoter Score, NPS). The most recent measurement from December 2018 reveals that significant progress has been made. The deficit to the strategy’s targeted third place has thus more than halved. Further improvements in the area of customer service and in the premium situation made a key contribution here. Our Helsana+ (“Helsana Plus”) bonus programme, which already has more than 80,000 registered customers, provided further support.