W&W continues to grow

Bonus with home Loan and Savings in a downward market – more digital offers

The Wüstenrot & Württembergische W&W Group has achieved further growth in new business in the first nine months of 2016. Home loan and savings even grew against the trend. The earnings forecast of more than 220 million euros for the whole year is being reaffirmed by the Stuttgart-based financial services group – provided that extraordinary claims resulting from extreme damages or extreme events on capital markets continue to be absent. The consolidated net profit at the end of the third quarter was in line with expectations at around 180 million euros, which was below the previous year's figure of around 202 million euros, which was also shaped by one-off effects. The digital offer for customers was accelerated.

The following new business developments were achieved in the individual W&W Group divisions up to 30/09/2016: Wüstenrot Bausparkasse achieved a gross new business volume of 10.4 billion euros (previous year: 10.3 billion euros), which represents an increase of 1.2 per cent on the previous year. The net new business grew even more strongly by almost 8 per cent to 8.8 billion euros (previous year: 8.2 billion euros). Deviating from the deteriorating results in the industry, Wüstenrot was thus able to achieve significant growth and capture additional market share. The construction financing business fell slightly as a result of strict profit orientation and the effects of the German Directive on Residential Property Loans (Wohnimmobilienkreditrichtlinie) to 4 billion euros, after almost 4.3 billion euros the previous year.

As far as the insurance business of the W&W Group is concerned, the life and health insurance achieved almost 1.7 billion euros of gross premiums written (previous year: 1.63 billion euros), which compared to the previous year represents a growth of 4.4 per cent. In property and casualty insurance the gross premiums written increased by 2.5 per cent to 1.41 billion euros (previous year: 1.38 billion euros).

Numerous loss events caused, amongst others, by the spring storms led to an increase in losses due to acts of nature (gross) by more than 14 million euros to just under 74 million euros. Nevertheless, insurance payouts overall fell in property/casualty insurance. This is due, not least, to a risk-aware subscription policy over recent years. With the combined ratio (gross), an even more improved value of 91.3 per cent could be achieved (previous year: 93.1 per cent).

The successes in the new business are supported by a higher level of cost awareness at W&W. The general administrative expenses reduced in the reporting period by 8.6 million euros to 786.5 million euros (previous year: 795.1 million). The personnel expenses in particular were driven down again despite bargained salary increases.

Dr. Alexander Erdland, CEO at W&W AG: "The positive course of the year illustrates once again our sound position on the market. Our focus on customers and our financial solidity enables us to score on the market while also expanding our scope to act on innovation. An example of this is our digitisation offensive which is making increasing strides."

Step-by-step expansion of our online product range

W&W has achieved further progress with the adjustment to changed customer habits and the increased trend towards electronic contact and conclusion options introduced as part of the "W&W@2020" growth programme. Since the Spring, Wüstenrot 'Wohnsparen' can now be concluded online and, in the third quarter, other W&W core products were able to celebrate their online launch. As far as the insurance business is concerned, this includes an attractive accident insurance and term life insurance.

In banking, the Wüstenrot Bank AG Pfandbriefbank WBP is progressing steadily with its conversion to a digital bank oriented towards the retail business. As an important milestone in this regard, the Wüstenrot securities portfolio was transferred to the partner ebase at the end of October. In addition to considerable efficiency gains and significantly reduced costs, the partnership is at the same time strengthening the sales-related opportunities of W&W in the investment division. Numerous analysis tools, fund or portfolio information as well as consultancy approaches consolidate the competence of the advising mobile sales force. At the same time, direct customers receive a real-time, innovative tool for individual custodial account management.

Furthermore, the bank is establishing itself with the recently launched "Wüstenrot ETF Managed Depot" as one of the pioneers of the "robo-advisors". Here the know-how of an experienced portfolio manager will be combined with a simple-to-operate online application. In just 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the investor's experience, it provides a broad spread of investment possibilities based on exchange traded funds. After fact checking the investment horizon and goals, for example for risk appetite, the customer can select the portfolio that is right for him from the calculated recommendations.

The new Member of the Executive Board at W&W AG Jürgen A. Junker is optimistic for the remainder of 2016: "Online or offline – more and more sales are coming together. In particular we are promoting mutual cooperation of Wüstenrot and Württembergische on site at the customer interface. The linchpin is our prestigious advising mobile sales force, expanded by successful cooperation partners who make the attractive product range resonate with our customers."