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Company • Key Figures

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«With the completion of the 2020 financial year, we definitely left our start-up mentality behind and laid the foundation for further, qualitative growth.»

Christoph Gaus, Group CEO

2020 in numbers

1368,6
+18,2 %
Premiums and claims, consolidated
in USD million
8  %
+1 %
Cost ratio, consolidated
368
+8,8 %
Employees
621,6
+31,7 %
Premiums and claims, core business
in USD million
9
+1
Countries
~ 2 Mio.
+0%
Insured persons

Business Report

elipsLife’s 2020 financial year was characterised by ongoing change and further strong premium growth of 18%. We have systematically continued the transformation and associated professionalisation initiated in 2019. Nevertheless, a loss of USD 88.0 million resulted from additional reservations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, investments in market development and restructuring costs. However, with the completion of the 2020 financial year, we laid a solid foundation for further qualitative growth and expansion into new markets. In addition, elipsLife’s move to Corporate Solutions demonstrates the great confidence of the Swiss Re Group in the future of elipsLife.

2020 in charts

Premiums and claims

consolidated, in USD million

Cost ratio

consolidated

Premiums and equity

consolidated, in USD million

Result before income tax

consolidated, in USD million

Premiums and claims

core business, in USD million

Cost ratio

core business

Premiums, core business

Share by market

Full-time equivalents at end of financial year

Stated in accordance with Liechtenstein law until 2016, from 2017 according to US GAAP.

Shaped by change

elipsLife has positioned itself as a spezialised, international niche player. Following the close of the 2019 financial year, the company is now on the threshold of a new phase. We are ready to evolve from a successful insurance start-up to an established company. In doing so, we remain committed to the proven success factors of growth, expansion, cost consciousness and customer focus.

Since the company was founded in 2008, the success of elipsLife has been based on our specialized skills, expert knowledge and an IT platform that is scalable worldwide. In the 2019 financial year, this was again the foundation for our expansion into new markets as well as our strong premium growth and low costs. However, the year under review brought both positive and negative developments. Profitability lagged behind our targets and in some areas we suffered technical losses. To ensure continued success in the future, we will deepen our risk awareness and pay greater attention to pricing and portfolio management.

Maintaining client focus

Our working relationship with clients was again of key importance for elipsLife in the year under review. We aim to listen to our clients, understand their needs and find the right solutions for them. Feedback shows that clients perceive us as reliable, flexible and solution-oriented. This is confirmed by the extremely high client retention rate we have achieved. We will continue to make every effort to further strengthen our focus on the market and on clients in the future.

Costs under control

The success of elipsLife is largely thanks to our combination of cost consciousness and high-quality services. The generic, globally scalable IT platform plays a key role here. It allows us to reuse investments across borders and thus greatly reduce our operating costs. Meanwhile, we were able to further automate administrative, non-client-related processes, resulting in additional efficiency gains.

Expansion strategy continued

We continued to pursue our expansion strategy in 2019. In Italy, for example, we reached the break-even point after only three years. In the US, where elipsLife only started its business activities in 2019, we can also look back on an encouraging business performance. In the area of group insurance, we succeeded in establishing business relationships with more than 40 brokers in the Midwest, East Coast and Southwest, and were able to close our first deals.

In the Switzerland/Liechtenstein market, we took a major step into French-speaking Switzerland by concluding an important contract. In the Benelux market, we managed to enter new market segments: we launched a new disability insurance product in the Netherlands and successfully entered the captive reinsurance market.

Premium growth achieved

In 2019, the total premium volume rose to USD 1157.5 million, up from USD 1115.3 million in the prior year. In our strategic core business alone, we recorded growth of 14.6%, with an increase from USD 411.7 million to USD 472.0 million. The core markets of Switzerland/Liechtenstein, with approximately 8.6%, and Benelux, with approximately 15.5%, contributed in particular to this strong premium growth. The new markets of Italy, the U.S., Germany and Ireland also made a contribution to the very positive growth overall, in some cases with significantly larger premium volumes. Outside our core business, the premium volume in USD declined slightly due to currency effects: in the year under review, the Irish Medex health insurance business recorded a decline in US dollars of 18.1 million, to USD 685.5 million. Overall, the balance sheet total in 2019 rose to USD 2243.4 million, up from USD 1859.2 million in the prior year.

Improving profitability

Our strong growth and successful expansion into new markets in 2019 stood in contrast to our profitability performance and considerable set-up costs in the new markets. While we improved profitability in the Switzerland/Liechtenstein market in daily sickness benefit business, we did not succeed in achieving this in accident business. The high number of claims led to a technical loss in disability insurance. We also recorded a decline in the technical result in one line of business in the Netherlands. These aspects combined resulted in a total loss of USD 23.4 million in the year under review.

We will draw the necessary lessons from our business performance. Working closely with clients and brokers, we aim to further enhance the quality of our contract portfolio while also strengthening our underwriting discipline. Especially in the Switzerland/Liechtenstein market, it is of key importance for us to overcome the profitability problems in accident insurance business.

Ever since elipsLife was founded, its strategy has been aimed at growth through the acquisition of new business. The next phase will now be characterized by a combination of growth and a focus on profitability. With Swiss Re’s ongoing full support, we will deploy our resources efficiently and will continue to expand into new markets.

The step from start-up to established company has already led to some adjustments, and others will follow. This holds true for management as well as the positioning and orientation of business in the markets and the further optimization of processes. The mature elipsLife will, however, also maintain its momentum and innovative spirit.

 

All figures comply with the United States’ Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).

Improving profitability

Our strong growth and successful expansion into new markets in 2019 stood in contrast to our profitability performance and considerable set-up costs in the new markets. While we improved profitability in the Switzerland/Liechtenstein market in daily sickness benefit business, we did not succeed in achieving this in accident business. The high number of claims led to a technical loss in disability insurance. We also recorded a decline in the technical result in one line of business in the Netherlands. These aspects combined resulted in a total loss of USD 23.4 million in the year under review.

We will draw the necessary lessons from our business performance. Working closely with clients and brokers, we aim to further enhance the quality of our contract portfolio while also strengthening our underwriting discipline. Especially in the Switzerland/Liechtenstein market, it is of key importance for us to overcome the profitability problems in accident insurance business.

Ever since elipsLife was founded, its strategy has been aimed at growth through the acquisition of new business. The next phase will now be characterized by a combination of growth and a focus on profitability. With Swiss Re’s ongoing full support, we will deploy our resources efficiently and will continue to expand into new markets.

The step from start-up to established company has already led to some adjustments, and others will follow. This holds true for management as well as the positioning and orientation of business in the markets and the further optimization of processes. The mature elipsLife will, however, also maintain its momentum and innovative spirit.

 

All figures comply with the United States’ Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).

Key Figures 2019

Read the Key Figures 2019 here