The gross premium in our total business increased slightly by 2.9% as at 31 December 2014 to EUR 14.4 billion (EUR 14.0 billion). At constant exchange rates the increase would have been 2.8%. We thus achieved our guidance, which had anticipated stable to slightly higher gross premium volume in the original currencies. The level of retained premium retreated slightly to 87.6% (89.0%), while net premium earned rose by 1.6% to EUR 12.4 billion (EUR 12.2 billion). At unchanged exchange rates growth would have come in at 1.5%.
We are absolutely satisfied with the development of our results for the 2014 financial year. The operating profit (EBIT) improved by a further substantial 19.3% on the very good previous year to reach EUR 1,466.4 million (EUR 1,229.1 million). Despite the broadly challenging environment, both in reinsurance business and on capital markets, we generated the highest Group net income in our company’s history at EUR 985.6 million (EUR 895.5 million). Along with the healthy investment income, this was driven by a very good result in property and casualty reinsurance and the considerably improved performance of life and health reinsurance. Earnings per share for the Hannover Re Group amounted to EUR 8.17 (EUR 7.43).
The equity attributable to shareholders of Hannover Re also developed favourably in the year under review: in view of the increase in retained earnings, sharply higher valuation reserves and positive movements in exchange rates, shareholders’ equity grew by a substantial 28.2% relative to the position at year-end 2013 to reach EUR 7.6 billion (EUR 5.9 billion). Despite this vigorous increase, we generated another very good return on equity of 14.7% (15.0%). This figure is clearly in excess of our minimum target of 9.2%. The book value per share also rose substantially: it reached EUR 62.61 for 2014 compared to EUR 48.83 at the end of the previous year; this is the highest book value per share in the company’s history.
The total policyholders’ surplus, consisting of shareholders’ equity, non-controlling interests and hybrid capital, amounted to EUR 10.2 billion (EUR 8.8 billion) as at 31 December 2014.
|Business development in the year under review|
|Forecast 2014||Target attainment 2014|
|Gross premium growth (Group)||stable to slightly higher gross premium volume1||+2.8% at constant exchange rates|
+2.9% not adjusted for currency effects
|Gross premium growth for Property & Casualty reinsurance||stable1||+1.2% at constant exchange rates|
+1.1%not adjusted for currency effects
|Gross premium growth for Life & Health reinsurance||growth in the low to mid-single-digit percentage range 1, 2||+4.9% at constant exchange rates|
+5.1% not adjusted for currency effects
|Return on investment 3||≈ 3.2%||3.3%|
|Group net income||≈ EUR 850 million4||EUR 985.6 million|
|1 At constant exchange rates|
2 Organic growth only
3 Excluding inflation swaps and ModCo derivatives
4 Assuming stable capital markets and / or major loss expenditure in 2014 that does not exceed EUR 670 million