Operating result increased and strong capital position
- 3Q15 operating result ongoing business of EUR 392 million, up 43% from 3Q14, supported by a private equity dividend, partly offset by an unfavourable claims experience in Property & Casualty in the Netherlands
- Net result down 7% to EUR 329 million, due to lower non-operating items and negative hedge results in Japan Closed Block VA
- Capital position remained strong with IGD ratio at 322%
- Holding company cash capital stable at EUR 1.6 billion, reflecting EUR 332 million dividends from subsidiaries and the payment of the 2015 interim dividend of EUR 156 million and EUR 150 million share buy-back
- Free cash flow to the holding for the first nine months of 2015 was EUR 1,031 million driven by dividends from all segments
- Cumulative cost savings in the Netherlands of EUR 201 million compared with 2013
- New sales (APE) EUR 261 million, down 15% from 3Q14 at constant currencies
- AuM at Asset Management down 2% to EUR 180 billion compared with 2Q15, mainly due to net outflows
Statement of Lard Friese, CEO
"Overall, our business continued to show a solid performance in the third quarter of 2015 despite volatile financial markets. The strong increase in the Group's operating result compared with the third quarter of 2014 was mainly driven by Netherlands Life, supported by a large private equity dividend. Insurance Europe also contributed to the increased result and continues to make progress in shifting its product mix towards protection products. In Japan, our focus on the SME segment is bearing fruit, as COLI protection sales are showing double-digit growth. Overall sales for the Group were down, as we focus on profitable growth in the low interest rate environment. We recognise that there is more work to do to increase the net inflows of our asset management business and to improve the combined ratio of the Dutch Non-life company.
Our solvency ratios remain solid, reflecting the strong capital generation of our businesses. We were therefore able to complete another EUR 150 million share buy-back in September in line with our policy to return excess capital to our shareholders. This buy-back was part of ING's sell-down of another tranche of NN Group shares, reducing its remaining holding to 25.8% of outstanding shares.
To deliver on our medium-term and long-term strategic objectives, we will continue our focus on disciplined execution and innovation in our business operations. Since 2013, we have reduced our cost base in the Netherlands by a total of EUR 201 million. While this means that we have already achieved our original cost-reduction target for the Group, further efficiency improvements will remain a focus area, especially in the Netherlands. In helping to secure the financial futures of our customers, we are innovating our products and services. This year we have implemented several initiatives that employ new technologies to digitally engage with our customers. By doing so, we aim to continually improve their experience with us.
While we are pleased with another set of good results, we will further optimise our businesses to deliver on our financial and non-financial objectives and continue to create value for all our stakeholders - our customers, our shareholders, our employees and society at large."
Strategy and business highlights
NN Group’s strategy is to deliver an excellent customer experience based on great service and long-term relationships. We aim to achieve this by offering transparent products and services that serve our customers’ lifetime needs. We do this by making our multi-access distribution network available to customers wherever and whenever they want, and by maintaining effective operations that deliver excellent customer service.
Netherlands Life aims to benefit from its strong position in the pension market and selectively capture growth opportunities in the Dutch market, driven by the shift from defined benefit (DB) to defined contribution (DC) pension schemes, as well as selectively pursuing buy-out opportunities. In preparation for the expected changes in regulations, AZL, NN Life’s pension administrator, and NN Investment Partners are joining forces to establish a General Pension Fund (Algemeen Pensioenfonds or ‘APF’). NN’s strong position in the pension market was recently recognised, for the second year in a row, by the Dutch business magazine Management Team. Their annual survey among managers ranks Nationale-Nederlanden as best pension provider. Furthermore Netherlands Life focusses on reducing expenses and gradually shift to higher-yielding assets, such as mortgages and loans, in order to offset the negative impact of lower interest rates on the investment margin. In the third quarter we further invested in mortgages with an attractive yield.
Netherlands Non-life aims to improve underwriting performance and to expand in specific market segments where there are clear opportunities for profitable growth. The continued focus on exceeding customers’ expectations and transparent customer communication resulted in winning the Dutch Insurance Communication Award, granted by AM, a leading insurance magazine, and GfK, provider of market and consumer information. Another example of delivering excellent customer care is our improved Net Promotor Score for the Claims Manager at Home (‘Schademanager Thuis’) service. Furthermore, a new awareness campaign called the ‘Nationale Inbrekersindex’ was launched to help prevent burglary. Netherlands Non-life has also broadened its experience in Usage-Based Car Insurance with the launch of a third initiative called ‘Voorop’. This is a new usage-based proposition for the Dutch Retail market that registers driving behaviour. Pay How You Drive, as the insurance technique is also referred to, was introduced in pilot form (under the name of ‘Fairzekering’) in the Netherlands last year. It won several innovation awards.
Insurance Europe is shifting its business mix towards protection products and repositioning its savings and retirement products in response to the low interest rate environment. The Polish business, which was rebranded to Nationale-Nederlanden Poland in July, launched a new campaign reinforcing the importance of protection and offering customers clarity and guidance on how to lead a healthy lifestyle and secure their financial futures. In August, an awareness campaign was launched that features teenagers asking their parents about their health, and about their financial futures. The main message of the commercials is that parents should remain healthy to support their children, now and in the future. Campaigns like these reinforce Nationale-Nederlanden Poland’s reputation as a knowledgeable partner that truly cares about its customers. NN Slovakia recently launched a new life insurance option for children’s hospitalisation coverage, responding to customer and distributor demand for this product. This demonstrates the active dialogue and the ongoing engagement NN Slovakia has with its customers. This new option offers a daily allowance - paid from the first day - when a child has to stay in hospital.
In the third quarter of 2015, Japan Life continued to diversify its product and distribution. COLI protection sales increased by 26% at constant currencies compared with the third quarter in 2014, partly driven by the launch of a new term product addressing death and severe disability needs of SME owners up to age 90. Bancassurance COLI sales increased by 21% year-on-year, excluding currency effects, driven by higher bank activation and the continuing expansion of the bank distribution network. In September, Japan Life’s call center received a Service & Hospitality Award for its excellent customer care. This award programme was established in 2014 by the Japan Institute of Information Technology.
Assets under Management decreased to EUR 180 billion, reflecting net outflows as well as negative market performance. In target markets, Asset Management plans to protect and further expand its leading position and continues to develop a more distinct range of products, including its sustainable product offering. The NN Global Sustainable Equity strategy and the NN European Sustainable Equity strategy reached a 15 and 10-year track record, respectively, in July and have also been granted the ESG label from LuxFLAG. Both strategies have performed well against their benchmarks and have seen strong client interest, driving assets under management in sustainable equity strategies to EUR 2.2 billion. Furthermore the European Central Bank recognised the expertise of NN Investment Partners by extending the contract for the Asset-Backed Securities Programme.
NN Bank continued to expand its mortgage and customer savings activities. In line with its strategy, NN Bank’s mortgage portfolio increased to EUR 10.0 billion from EUR 9.5 billion at the end of the second quarter. Customer deposits (internet savings and bank annuities) grew to EUR 8.1 billion at the end of the third quarter. NN Bank improved the accessibility of its products and services by introducing the NN app. To further enhance its customer service NN Bank has started sending a personal video message to customers who have taken out a mortgage loan. This video addresses many practical questions about the customer’s mortgage, for example about installments, how to submit bills for a construction depot or about the variable interest rate.
* The segment Investment Management was renamed to Asset Management in the third quarter of 2015
Lard Friese and Delfin Rueda will host a press call to discuss the 3Q15 results at 10.00 am CET on Wednesday 4 November 2015. Journalists can join the press call via + 31 20 531 5863.
Investor conference call and webcast
Lard Friese and Delfin Rueda will host an analyst and investor conference call to discuss the 3Q15 results at 12.00 pm CET on Wednesday 4 November 2015. Members of the investment community can join the conference call at +31 20 531 5865 (NL), +44 203 365 3210 (UK), +1 866 349 6093 (US) or follow the webcast on www.nn-group.com.
- Capital Markets Event: 19 November 2015
- Publication 4Q15 results: 25 February 2016
- Publication 1Q16 results: 26 May 2016
- Annual General Meeting: 2 June 2016
- Publication 2Q16 results: 18 August 2016
- Publication 3Q16 results: 17 November 2016
NN Group is an international insurance and asset management company, active in more than 18 countries, with a strong presence in a number of European countries and Japan. With around 11,500 employees the group offers retirement services, insurance, investments and banking to more than 15 million customers. NN Group includes Nationale-Nederlanden, NN and NN Investment Partners. NN Group is listed on Euronext Amsterdam (NN).
NN Group’s Consolidated annual accounts are prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards as adopted by the European Union (“IFRS-EU”) and with Part 9 of Book 2 on the Dutch Civil Code. In preparing the financial information in this document, the same accounting principles are applied as in the NN Group N.V. condensed consolidated interim financial information for the period ended 30 June 2015.
All figures in this document are unaudited. Small differences are possible in the tables due to rounding. Certain of the statements contained herein are not historical facts, including, without limitation, certain statements made of future expectations and other forward-looking statements that are based on management’s current views and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied in such statements. Actual results, performance or events may differ materially from those in such statements due to, without limitation: (1) changes in general economic conditions, in particular economic conditions in NN Group’s core markets, (2) changes in performance of financial markets, including developing markets, (3) consequences of a potential (partial) break-up of the euro, (4) the implementation of the EC Restructuring Plan, (5) changes in the availability of, and costs associated with, sources of liquidity as well as conditions in the credit markets generally, (6) the frequency and severity of insured loss events, (7) changes affecting mortality and morbidity levels and trends, (8) changes affecting persistency levels, (9) changes affecting interest rate levels, (10) changes affecting currency exchange rates, (11) changes in investor, customer and policyholder behaviour, (12) changes in general competitive factors, (13) changes in laws and regulations, (14) changes in the policies of governments and/or regulatory authorities, (15) conclusions with regard to accounting assumptions and methodologies, (16) changes in ownership that could affect the future availability to us of net operating loss, net capital and built-in loss carry forwards, (17) changes in credit and financial strength ratings, (18) NN Group’s ability to achieve projected operational synergies and (19) the other risks and uncertainties contained in recent public disclosures made by NN Group and/or related to NN Group.
Any forward-looking statements made by or on behalf of NN Group speak only as of the date they are made, and, NN Group assumes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information or for any other reason. This document does not constitute an offer to sell, or a solicitation of an offer to buy, any securities.