- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
SAMPO PLC INTERIM STATEMENT 5 May 2021 at 9:30 am
Sampo Group’s results for January – March 2021
Sampo Group had a strong start to the year in all business areas. Profit before taxes for January – March 2021 rose to EUR 632 million (162) and earnings per share increased to EUR 0.82 (0.26). Mark-to-market earnings per share saw a positive year-on-year increase of more than three euros per share to EUR 1.39 (-1.71).
Sampo Group’s core business, P&C insurance, reported the strongest underwriting results in its history. Group underwriting profits grew by 37 per cent year-on-year to EUR 317 million driven by a 4.5 percentage point improvement in the combined ratio to 81.2 per cent (85.7). The result represents a strong first step towards Sampo’s annual financial targets of mid-single digit growth in underwriting profits and a combined ratio below 86 per cent. COVID-19 effects supported underwriting margins but underlying development was nonetheless strong.
The Group’s largest business unit, If P&C, reported underwriting profit of EUR 213 million with growth of 18 per cent year-on-year and a combined ratio of 81.5 per cent, both of which are the best-ever recorded in a first quarter. Following the strong performance in the quarter, If’s 2021 combined ratio outlook has been improved to 82 - 84 per cent, well in line with the target of below 85 per cent. Favourable investment markets further supported earnings, leading profit before taxes to almost double to EUR 257 million (129).
Topdanmark’s profit before taxes for January-March 2021 amounted to EUR 137 million (-13) in Sampo Group’s consolidated accounts. The combined ratio improved to 84.7 per cent (88.7).
Hastings achieved strong underwriting margins in the first quarter of 2021, supported by lower claims frequencies as a result of COVID-19 restrictions and the ongoing progress on strategic and operational initiatives. Hastings’ operating ratio for the first quarter was 75.1 per cent and the profit before taxes was EUR 46 million. Pressure on UK motor pricing led Hastings to take a disciplined underwriting approach, as a result of which the number of live customer policies remained stable over the quarter at 3.1 million (7 per cent growth year-on-year).
The profit before taxes for Mandatum in January – March 2021 amounted to EUR 76 million (-16). Benign investment markets drove a strong mark-to-market investment return of 3.5 per cent and a rise in the Solvency II ratio to 200 per cent (188). Unit linked assets under management increased to EUR 9.2 billion. A reduction in the discount rate for with-profit liabilities had a negative impact of EUR 31 million in the quarter, while with-profit reserves relating to the higher guarantees (4.5 and 3.5 per cent) decreased to EUR 1.8 billion (1.9).
Sampo’s share of Nordea’s net profit for the first quarter of 2021 was EUR 121 million (84).
The Group Solvency II ratio of 189 per cent stood within the target range of 170 – 190 per cent, while Group financial leverage ratio of 28 per cent met the target of below 30 per cent.
Return on equity for the Group amounted to 26.0 per cent (-33.2) for the first quarter of 2021. Net asset value per share on 31 March 2021 was EUR 23.28 (19.82).
Sampo plc’s Annual General Meeting will be held on 19 May 2021. The Board has proposed on 11 February 2021 to the Annual General Meeting a dividend of EUR 1.70 per share (1.50). The proposed dividend payment amounts in total to EUR 944 million (833).
Profit before taxes
Holding (excl. Associates)
Profit for the period
Earnings per share, EUR
EPS (based on OCI) EUR
NAV per share, EUR *)
Average number of staff (FTE)
Group solvency ratio, % *)
*) comparison figures of 31 December 2020
The figures in this report have not been audited.
Sampo follows the disclosure procedure enabled by the Finnish Financial Supervisory Authority and hereby publishes its Interim Statement attached as a PDF file to this stock exchange release. The Interim Statement is also available at www.sampo.com/result.
GROUP CEO’S COMMENT
Sampo delivered strong operational and financial performance in the first quarter of 2021, particularly in our strategic focus area of P&C insurance. The Group outperformed its primary financial targets, reporting underwriting profit growth of 37 per cent and a combined ratio of 81.2 per cent (85.7).
Our largest business unit, If P&C, delivered an excellent result despite some wintry Nordic weather. Underwriting profit grew by 18 per cent to EUR 213 million on the back of a 2.2 percentage points year-on-year improvement in the combined ratio to 81.5 per cent (83.7). This is If P&C’s best-ever first quarter combined ratio and well within our annual target for 2021-2023 of below 85 per cent. Consequently, we have improved our outlook for 2021 to 82 – 84 per cent. Adjusting for COVID-19 effects and harsher winter weather, underwriting profit growth clearly supported the mid-single digit target for 2021-2023.
Operationally, If P&C continued to benefit from the investments made in IT development, which enable excellent customer service, risk selection and cost efficiency. Customer satisfaction in If Private increased over the quarter and retention remained high. If P&C also benefitted from its strong Nordic partnership network, taking a leading share in a new car market that grew by 11 per cent year-on-year.
Our digital UK P&C insurance business, Hastings, also outperformed its targets on loss ratio and operating ratio in the first quarter of 2021. The result was partly attributable to the UK lockdown, which led to low motor claims frequencies, but at the same time pricing trends have become more challenging. Hastings is taking a disciplined approach in the current market, keeping motor insurance customer count broadly stable over the quarter (7 per cent growth year-on-year). The strength of Hastings’ business model, combined with ongoing operational improvements, gives me confidence in its ability to deliver growth at attractive margins over the medium term.
The integration of Hastings into Sampo has proceeded according to plan in the first quarter. A number of specific areas have been identified for knowledge transfer that are expected to bring concrete operational benefits to both If and Hastings. The group will continuously update the market on progress.
Sampo was well placed to profit from the buoyant capital markets environment in the first quarter of 2021. Our 15.9 per cent investment in Nordea benefitted from higher interest rates and improved sentiment toward banks; combined with robust operational performance, this drove a share price increase of 26 per cent over the quarter. The environment also favoured Mandatum Life, which saw a rise in its Solvency II ratio to 200 per cent and strong growth in unit-linked assets under management.
Turning to ESG, I am pleased to report that Sampo has taken another step in the right direction with an upgrade from Sustainalytics to Low Risk. Sampo is now in the top five of the 71 insurers rated by Sustainalytics and the highest rated insurer with a market cap of EUR 20 – 40 billion. Nonetheless, I see room to further improve our ESG performance and feel it is important to continue to develop opportunities in this area.
At our February Capital Markets Day, my colleagues and I laid out Sampo’s new, P&C-focussed strategy and financial targets, placing underwriting profitability at the core of our ambitions. The first quarter has represented a solid first step in executing against these objectives. Given our strong positioning and business plan, I feel confident about the Group’s trajectory in 2021 and beyond.
Group CEO and President
Outlook for 2021
Sampo Group’s insurance businesses are expected to report good insurance technical results for 2021, although the mark-to-market component of investment returns will be significantly influenced by capital markets’ developments, particularly in life insurance.
If P&C is expected to reach a combined ratio of 82 - 84 per cent in 2021.
With regard to Topdanmark, reference is made to the profit forecast model that the company publishes on a quarterly basis.
Hastings is on track to deliver against its financial targets but uncertainties relating to COVID-19 development, regulatory reform and Brexit remain.
Nordea continues to focus on creating great customer experiences, growing income and improving operational efficiency. The results are progressing well towards 2022 targets.
The major risks and uncertainties for the Group in the near-term
In its current day-to-day business activities Sampo Group is exposed to various risks and uncertainties, mainly through its separately managed major business units.
Major risks affecting the Group companies’ profitability and its variation are market, credit, insurance and operational risks that are quantified independently by the major business units. At the group level, sources of risks are the same, although they are not directly additive due to the effects of diversification.
Uncertainties in the form of major unforeseen events may have an immediate impact on the Group’s profitability. The identification of unforeseen events is easier than the estimation of their probabilities, timing, and potential outcomes. Currently, the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures taken to contain the virus are causing significant uncertainties on economic and capital market development. There are also a number of widely identified macroeconomic, political and other sources of uncertainty which can, in various ways, affect the financial services industry in a negative manner.
Other sources of uncertainty are unforeseen structural changes in the business environment and already identified trends and potential wide-impact events. These external drivers may have a long-term impact on how Sampo Group’s business will be conducted. Examples of identified trends are demographic changes, sustainability issues, and technological developments in areas such as artificial intelligence and digitalization including threats posed by cybercrime.
THE BOARD’S DIVIDEND PROPOSAL
The Board proposes to the Annual General Meeting a dividend of EUR 1.70 per share to the company’s 555,351,850 shares. The dividends to be paid are EUR 944,098,145.00 in total. The remainder of the funds are left in the equity.
The dividend will be paid to the shareholders registered in the Register of Shareholders held by Euroclear Finland Ltd as the record date of 21 May 2021. The Board proposes that the dividend be paid on 28 May 2021.
EFFECTS OF COVID-19 ON SAMPO GROUP
The COVID-19 pandemic continued to affect societies, businesses and individual people during the first quarter of 2021. However, as a technologically advanced insurance group, Sampo has been able to meet the challenges created by COVID-19 and to accelerate support and services, both for its customers and for its employees.
There have been no COVID-19 related lay-offs among Sampo Group personnel and none of the Group companies has required any government funding support during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If’s claims cost for the first quarter was positively impacted by low claims frequency, especially in motor and travel insurance, following from continued lockdown measures implemented by governments to contain the spread of the pandemic and a low level of activity in society. The effect of COVID-19 on If’s risk ratio is approximately 3 percentage points positive in the first quarter. Claims frequency levels are expected to increase towards more normal levels following the improved situation and as a consequence of lockdown measures.
Hastings’ motor claims frequencies have reduced, reflecting reduced motor vehicle usage as a result of the national and local restrictions resulting from COVID-19 which continued throughout most of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021. Claim severities increased due to interruptions in the repair networks and supply of parts caused by COVID-19 and increased car rental costs, with repairs typically taking longer than anticipated.
Topdanmark has reported on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in its interim report for January–March 2021 published on 26 April 2021. The report is available at www.topdanmark.com.
The underwriting result for the If segment of EUR 213 million was the best-ever recorded in a first quarter, as was the combined ratio of 81.5 per cent. Weather losses were slightly above the normal and large losses were broadly at normal levels while COVID-19 loss frequency effects benefitted the combined ratio by approximately 3 percentage points. Prior year development had a 4 percentage points positive impact on the combined ratio, which is within the range of outcomes observed over recent years. Following the strong performance in the quarter, If’s 2021 combined ratio outlook has been improved to 82 – 84 per cent, well in line with the target of below 85 per cent.
The underwriting result of EUR 213 million (180) represented 18 per cent growth over the previous year. Adjusting for COVID-19 effects and harsher winter weather, underwriting profit growth clearly supported the mid-single digit target for 2021-2023.
The first quarter combined ratio of 81.5 per cent was 2.2 percentage points better than the year before (83.7) mainly as a result of an improvement in the risk ratio to 61.0 per cent (63.4). The combined ratio benefitted from rating actions, particularly in BA Industrial and BA Commercial, as well as ongoing operational work on risk selection and cost efficiency.
Large claims declined year-on-year, supporting risk ratio development by approximately 1.8 percentage points. Weather conditions were roughly 2 percentage points harsher than in the previous year with cold temperatures and snowfall leading to freeze claims. COVID-effects supported year-on-year development in the risk ratio by approximately 3 percentage points.
In the first quarter of 2021 EUR 47 million (62) was released from the technical reserves relating to prior year claims. The reserve releases had a positive impact of 4 percentage points on the combined ratio, which was 1.6 percentage points less than a year ago.
The cost ratio was stable relative to the previous year at 20.5 per cent (20.4).
Gross written premiums amounted to EUR 1,801 million (1,733) in January – March 2021. Excluding the currency effects, premiums grew 2.6 per cent (7.0), driven by stable and high retention levels and strong business momentum. The renewals of corporate lines on 1 January 2021 were characterised by stable retention and selective rate actions.
If’s most profitable business, BA Private, was the main driver of growth but premiums grew in all business areas. Geographically, Sweden and Norway saw growth; in Sweden, new car sales had a notable positive impact on premium growth. COVID-19 has a negative impact on premium volumes in the Finnish workers compensation and the travel insurance portfolio across all markets. The growth in the Baltics was significantly stronger than the market average.
If reported a strong investment result of EUR 52 million driven by highly supportive equity and credit markets. Mark-to-market return on investments increased to 1.5 per cent (-5.6). Asset allocation remained stable. Fixed income comprises 88 per cent (88) and equity 12 per cent (12) of the total assets of EUR 11.6 billion (11.0).
As a result of the strong underwriting result and investment income achieved in the first quarter, profit before taxes almost doubled to EUR 257 (129) million relative to the difficult first quarter of 2020. Total comprehensive income for the period after tax was EUR 292 million (-518).
If’s solvency position is described in the section Solvency.
At the end of March 2021 Sampo plc held 41,997,070 Topdanmark shares, corresponding to 46.7 per cent of all shares and 47,9 per cent of related voting rights in the company. The market value of the holding was EUR 1,639 million on 31 March 2021.
Topdanmark’s profit before taxes for January-March 2021 amounted in Sampo Group’s profit and loss account to EUR 137 million (-13). The combined ratio improved to 84.7 per cent (88.7). The expense ratio was 16.8 per cent (17.2).
Further information on Topdanmark A/S and its January-March 2021 result is available at www.topdanmark.com.
Hastings achieved strong underwriting margins in the first quarter of 2021, supported by lower claims frequencies as a result of COVID-19 restrictions and the ongoing progress on strategic and operational initiatives.
Gross written premiums amounted to EUR 238 million, with lower average premiums than previously recorded, primarily reflecting lower claims frequencies, a competitive pricing environment and a change in mix of customers to lower risk segments, as well as the ongoing support given to Hastings’ customers.
Rate reduction has been observed across the UK motor market during the first quarter of 2021. Hastings has remained disciplined in its pricing approach, resulting in live customer policies being broadly stable compared to the year end at 3.1 million, and up 7 per cent year-on-year. Customer retention rates continue to be high and above market averages.
Motor claims frequencies have remained low, reflecting reduced motor vehicle usage as a result of COVID-19 restrictions that continued throughout most of the first quarter of 2021. Uncertainty over ultimate costs has been recognized in a continued cautious approach to reserving.
Hastings operating ratio for the first quarter was 75.1 per cent. The ratio includes a 3.4 percentage points benefit from acquisition accounting across revenue and operating expenses for deferred acquisition costs and other fair value adjustments that will continue until the end of 2021.
Hastings segment’s profit before taxes for January – March 2021 amounted to 46 million. This includes a EUR 10 million charge for amortization of non-operational intangibles, which will continue for the next seven years.
Hastings continues to make good progress on its strategic initiatives, including digital capabilities. More customers are choosing to make contact through the mobile app and customer engagement and feedback on the app remains positive. Claims transformation initiatives, spanning accidental damage, third party property damage and bodily injury, also continue to make good progress. Home insurance customer policies were up 28 per cent year-on-year.
Colleague engagement remains very positive. Investment continues to be made in home and flexible working, which Hastings intends to continue beyond COVID-19, to ensure the training and development and wellbeing of Colleagues, as well as on the diversity and inclusion agenda, including a focus on the progression of women into senior roles.
Whiplash reforms, designed to reduce the cost of small bodily injury claims, will come into effect across the UK market at the end of May. In addition, the final report of the FCA’s general insurance pricing practices market study is also expected in May, with full implementation required by the end of December 2021. Hastings remains supportive of both reforms and its agile pricing, superior risk selection and business model means that it is well positioned to adapt and become a net beneficiary versus competitors over time.
The profit before taxes for Mandatum Group in January – March 2021 amounted to EUR 76 million (-16). The result benefitted from favorable investment markets, which supported net investment income of EUR 105 million (-23), excluding income on unit-linked contracts. The net income from unit-linked contracts was EUR 375 million (-884). The total comprehensive income for the period after tax reflecting the changes in market value of assets, was EUR 108 million (-323).
Mandatum Life’s total technical reserves increased to EUR 12.7 billion (12.3). The increase was driven by unit-linked reserves, which grew to EUR 9.2 billion (8.8) at the end of March on the back of good momentum in the capital markets. Mandatum’s expense result was EUR 8 million (6) and the risk result stood at EUR 6 million (5).
The with-profit reserves related to the higher guarantees of 4.5 and 3.5 per cent decreased by EUR 50 million to EUR 1.8 billion (1.9) at the end of March 2021. In total, with-profit reserves equaled EUR 3.4 billion (3.5).
Mandatum Life’s discount rate for 2024 was lowered to 1.5 per cent, which had a negative impact of EUR 31 million on the result. Mandatum Life has overall supplemented its technical reserves with a total of EUR 232 million (218). The figure does not take into account the reserves relating to the segregated fund. The discount rate is 0.25 per cent for 2021 - 2023 and 1.5 per cent for 2024. The discount rate of segregated liabilities is 0.0 per cent and the discount rate reserve of the segregated liabilities amounted to EUR 221 million (232).
Mandatum Life’s premium income amounted to EUR 269 million (287), of which unit-linked premiums were EUR 201 million (224).
Mandatum’s solvency position is described in the section Solvency.
Holding segment’s profit before taxes for January - March 2021 rose to EUR 115 million (62).
On 31 March 2021 Sampo plc held 642,924,782 Nordea shares corresponding to a holding of 15.87 per cent. The average purchase price per share amounted to EUR 6.46. Nordea is valued in the consolidated balance sheet at EUR 4.9 billion, i.e. EUR 7.68 per share on 31 March 2021. On the same date the market value of the holding was EUR 5.4 billion, i.e. EUR 8.41 per share.
Sampo’s share of profits of associated companies Nordea and Nordax Holding for January – March 2021 amounted to EUR 126 million (86), of which Nordea’s share was EUR 121 million (84) and Nordax’s share was EUR 5 million (2).
Changes in Group Structure
Mandatum Group announced on 12 February 2021 that it will establish Mandatum Asset Management. In connection with this, Sampo Group’s asset management operations will be merged and changes to Mandatum Group’s corporate structure have been made. In the new structure Mandatum Life and Mandatum Asset Management Ltd (“MAM”, previously Mandatum Life Investment Services Ltd) will operate as affiliates under a new parent company Mandatum Holding Ltd, that is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sampo.
A total of EUR 19 million (5), including social costs, was paid as short-term incentives during the first quarter of 2021, of which the major part was paid out in Hastings. In the same period, a total of EUR 1 million (0) was paid as long-term incentives, of which all was paid out in Topdanmark. The long-term incentive schemes in force in Sampo Group produced a negative result impact of EUR -6 million (6).
During the first quarter of 2021 Sampo plc received altogether 14 notifications of change in holding pursuant to Chapter 9, Section 5 of the Securities Markets Act, according to which the total number of Sampo A shares or related voting rights owned by BlackRock, Inc. (tax ID 32-0174421) and its funds directly or through financial instruments had decreased below 5 per cent or increased above 5 per cent.
After the end of the reporting period Sampo plc had received 10 notifications of change in holding pursuant to Chapter 9, Section 5 of the Securities Markets Act, from BlackRock, Inc.
The details of the notifications are available at www.sampo.com/flaggings.
Relevant ratings for Sampo Group companies on 31 March 2021 are presented in the table below.
Standard & Poor’s
If P&C Insurance Ltd – Insurance Financial Strength Rating
If P&C Insurance Holding Ltd (publ)
Mandatum Life Insurance Company Ltd – Issuer Credit Rating
In addition, Hastings Group (Finance) Plc has an outstanding senior bond of GBP 250 million maturing in 2025 for which Fitch has an Issuer Default Rating (IDR) of A- with a positive outlook.
Sampo Group calculates its group solvency under the Solvency II rules. In this calculation Nordea is treated as an equity investment.
On 24 February 2021 Sampo published a target for its Group solvency ratio. Sampo targets a solvency ratio between 170 and 190 per cent according to the Solvency II rules. On 31 March 2021 Sampo Group’s solvency ratio was at the upper end of the target range and amounted to 189 per cent (176).
Solvency position in the subsidiaries
The insurance subsidiaries apply Solvency II rules in their regulatory solvency calculations. If Group companies use either partial internal models or standard model for calculation of their solo solvency position. Mandatum Life reports in accordance with standard formula for Solvency II. Topdanmark uses a partial internal model to report its stand-alone solvency position.
Hastings is fully consolidated into the Sampo Group’s Own funds and SCR. As a stand-alone entity AICL, Hastings underwriting company, calculates its solo solvency position according to Solvency II rules.
If Group has an A+ rating from S&P which will continue to require significantly more capital than the standard formula and therefore the use of standard formula has no practical implications on If Group’s capital position. On 31 March 2021 If Group’s Solvency II capital requirement under standard formula amounted to EUR 2,020 million (1,916) and own funds to EUR 4,289 million (3,623). The solvency ratio amounted to 212 per cent (189).
The S&P A+ rating capital requirement for If Group amounted to EUR 3,081 million (3,083) on 31 March 2021 and the capital base was EUR 3,732 million (3,234).
Topdanmark calculates most of its non-life and health risks and their respective solvency capital requirement by applying a partial internal model approved by the DFSA. Other risks are calculated by the Solvency II SCR standard formula. During the first quarter of 2021, Topdanmark has updated its model apparatus for calculating the Solvency Capital Requirement (SCR) and the own funds in life insurance. Topdanmark’s solvency ratio under the partial internal model rose to 243 per cent (170) at the end of March 2021.
Mandatum Group’s solvency ratio amounted to 204 per cent on 31 March 2021. The life company in the Group, Mandatum Life, had a solvency ratio of 200 per cent (188). Its Own funds were EUR 2,491 million (2,308) and the Solvency Capital Requirement (SCR) was EUR 1,243 million (1,230). Without transitional measures the solvency ratio was 173 per cent (159).
On 24 February 2021 Sampo published a target of below 30 per cent for its Group leverage ratio calculated as Group’s financial debt divided by the sum of IFRS equity and financial debt. Leverage ratio was 28 per cent on 31 March 2021. Group’s financial debt amounted EUR 5,060 million and the IFRS equity was EUR 12,979 million.
Sampo plc’s debt financing on 31 March 2021 amounted to EUR 3,932 million (3,934) and interest-bearing assets to EUR 1,839 million (1,529). Financial liabilities consisted of issued senior bonds and notes of EUR 2,446 million (2,448) and of subordinated notes of EUR 1,486 million (1,486). No CPs were outstanding (0). The average interest, net of interest rate swaps, on Sampo plc’s debt as of 31 March 2021 was 1.7 per cent (1.6). At the end of March 2021, the interest-bearing net debt of Sampo plc amounted to EUR 2,093 million (2,405).
More information on Sampo Group’s outstanding debt issues is available at www.sampo.com/debtfinancing.
Board of Directors
For more information, please contact:
Knut Arne Alsaker, Group CFO, tel. +358 10 516 0010
Jarmo Salonen, Head of Investor Relations and Group Communications, tel. +358 10 516 0030
Maria Silander, Communications Manager, Media Relations, tel. +358 10 516 0031
An English-language conference call for investors and analysts will be arranged at 4 pm Finnish time (2 pm UK time). Please call tel. +1 631 913 1422, +44 33 3300 0804, +46 8 5664 2651, or +358 9 8171 0310. The conference code is 84759037#.
The conference call can also be followed live at www.sampo.com/result. A recorded version will later be available at the same address.
In addition, the Supplementary Financial Information Package is available at www.sampo.com/result.
Sampo will publish the Half-Year Financial Report for January - June 2021 on 4 August 2021.
Exchange rates used in reporting
Income statement (average)
Balance sheet (at end of period)
Income statement (average)
Balance sheet (at end of period)
Income statement (average)
Balance sheet (at end of period)
Income statement (average)
Balance sheet (at end of period)
Income statement (average)
Balance sheet (at end of period)
London Stock Exchange
The principal media
Financial Supervisory Authority