ERGO Insurance uses Austria as a trump in bank sales
Press release 30 June 2010
New Competence Center for cooperation in bank assurance worldwide will be established in Vienna. ERGO Austria is becoming the hub for international expansion of the ERGO Insurance Group for the bank distribution channel.
Austria is the largest and a particularly successful international market for the ERGO Group. ERGO Austria and its subsidiaries BANK AUSTRIA Versicherung and VICTORIA-VOLKSBANKEN Versicherung is taking a key role in the expansion of bancassurance in Central and Eastern Europe due to its expertise and experience in the sector. In addition, a team to enhance cooperation with banks in Europe and Asia will be established in Vienna in July 2010.
“Approximately 52% of all new life insurances in Austria are concluded through banks. This makes them the largest and most significant distribution channel in this segment,” says Elisabeth Stadler, Chief executive officer of ERGO Austria International AG. Having a 12.2% share in the life insurance market, ERGO Austria is the third largest insurance group in Austria. Stadler explains that “our position in the market was achieved through years of demand-oriented collaboration with our partners UniCredit / Bank Austria and Volksbank.”
ERGO Austria’s holding company is planning on using this expertise and experience in sales of insurances through banks. “Our target for further expansion includes Europe with a strong focus on the east and Asia. Our share in bankassurance sales is still very small in these regions and has great potential for growth. Here we depend on Austria’s competence,” as Dr. Torsten Oletzky, chief executive officer of the German ERGO Insurance Group AG, explained with regards to the new focus on Austria. The foreign premium income of the ERGO Insurance Group amounts to EUR 4 billion. The largest fraction of that, 27 %, is earned by the Austrian subsidiary. This shows a more than positive effect on the expansion of jobs in Austria. 50 of the approximately 680 Austrian employees were hired for office operation in 2009. Further new job openings are also planned for the year 2010 both in Austria and internationally.
An expert team of ERGO Austria will analyze potentials for new cooperation as well as invest in established partners out of Vienna starting July 2010. “Bank assurance has experienced enormous growth in our Asian target markets India and China over the past six years. This shows equally high potential as the Eastern European states. Even though most economies are currently experiencing a downturn, these countries will continue to be growing markets and surpass most of Western Europe in growth, especially in the insurance sector. As the wealth and prosperity of a people increase, so does the need to secure the gained values. We want to provide solutions for exactly that with our bank partners,” Dr. Oletzky elaborated.
ERGO Austria currently operates in Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Solvenia, San Marino and, since May 2010, also in Romania. In combination with the Austrian business, a total premium income of 1,059 million Euro was earned. Currently ten percent of that comes from foreign countries, but as Elisabeth Stadler explains, “we want to increase the total premium income by fifty percent to 1.5 billion Euros.” This will require us to, intensify all standing cooperation, especially in Romania, discover new business branches, and enhance our operation with banks. “We are contemplating to enter the market in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and the Ukraine but the very difficult economic situation will allow that in 2011 at the earliest,” Stadler continues to clarify.
Elisabeth Stadler will push the servicing and training of bank-employees. Her goal is to increase the percentage of bank employees actively selling insurances from the current value of 30 %. Alongside that, our services for professionals show very high potential. She believes that, “The companies of VICTORIA-VOLKSBANKEN offer a complete package of insurance, employee pension funds and saving plans. This is a strength that is gaining importance with the emerging second pillar.”
Pictures of Elisabeth Stadler, CEO of ERGO Austria International AG and Dr. Torsten Oletzky, CEO of ERGO Versicherungsgruppe AG (printable free of charge) can be found at: http://www.basismodul.at/ergo.zip
About ERGO Austria
ERGO Austria International AG includes the operating insurance companies BANK AUSTRIA Versicherung and VICTORIA-VOLKSBANKEN Versicherung, as well as ERGO Insurance Service GmbH, in which back office activities such as assessment, accounting, controlling, human resources and IT have been brought together. ERGO Austria currently has operations in Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Slovenia, Romania and San Marino. As part of strategic alliances with their partners UniCredit / Bank Austria and the credit unions, BANK AUSTRIA Versicherung and VICTORIA-VOLKSBANKEN Versicherung offer a differentiated range of products that meets its customers’ requirements for all areas of private provision and long-term investment in Austria and in anumber of other countries in Central and Eastern Europe. ERGO Austria International AG in Vienna is a subsidiary of ERGO Versicherungsgruppe AG, based in Düsseldorf.
More information is available at www.ergo-austria.com