The Core Business of Allianz Insurance
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Allianz is ranked among the top 100 most valuable brands worldwide and is a leading insurance and financial services company. Allianz's core business is Life and Health insurance and property - casualty. Allianz is also one of the four active asset managers in the world. The total asset management operations as of 2009 were â‚¬ 1,202 billion. The company 's business activities in this segment consist of asset management products and services both for third-party investors and for the Allianz Group's insurance operations (Allianz Annual Report, 2009, p.48). Allianz banking operations now comprise of operations in Germany, Italy, France and New Europe. The bank offers a wide range of products for corporate and retail clients. Due to their limited size, banking operations are reported as part of the corporate and other segment.
According to a press release on 24 February, 2011; Allianz announced preliminary results for the fiscal year 2010 of total revenues reaching a new high of 106.5 billion euros. Based on this release, Life and Health insurance generates the most revenue reaching a record level of 57.1 billion euros. Growth amounted to 12.5 percent compared to 50.8 billion euros in 2009, and was driven by strong demand for both investment-oriented and traditional life insurance products. Life and Health insurance also generates the most profit with operating profits growing 7.4 percent to 2.9 billion euros, compared to 2.7 billion euros in 2009. This was largely driven by a better expense result, as well as an increase in operating investment income which benefited from significantly lower impairments compared to 2009 (Press release preliminary results 2010, p.1).
Life and Health insurance and property - casualty will drive growth in the next decade as they have always counted for the main revenue of the Group. Allianz has been performing well and sustainable. Since 2007 it reached â‚¬ 97,689 million revenue and in 2008 the global economy was in crisis but the revenue was just went down slightly with â‚¬ 92,568 million. In 2009, the economic crisis reached its peak in the first half of 2009 however its revenue still increased up to 5.2% with â‚¬ 97,385 million. A newly announced figure for its 2010 revenue has been impressive, with total revenue reaching â‚¬ 106.5 billion. These figures have proven that the company has been doing well for the last four years and there is no doubt that the company will be successful in coming years (2009 Allianz Annual Report, p.48).
Allianz responded to the increasing demands of society for greater Corporate Responsibility by adopting a new CSR strategy in 2009. This strategy assures that environmental and social issues are managed, deliver value for the company and that there is a continued benefit for society. The strategy focuses on three themes; managing the company's environmental impact, addressing the risks and opportunities associated with climate change and supporting the communities in which Allianz is operating (Corporate Social Responsibility 2009, p.3).
As an international financial services provider, Allianz sees sustainable development as fundamental to its business. Allianz is focusing on finding innovative solutions that address local and global challenges. Allianz also established a strong structure for handling CSR activities. Delivery of the CSR strategy is the responsibility of the Human Resources Director, who is a member of the Allianz Insurance Management Board. CSR issues are included at the monthly Management Board meetings, as well as featuring at the company's annual Director and Management Conferences. The CSR Manager is responsible for setting the overall strategy, implementing initiatives and reporting performance to the HR Director and the Management Board.
In addition, a CSR Steering Committee comprising of 11 senior managers from each of the major divisions has been established to ensure the CSR strategy is embedded in the business. The committee meets 2-3 times a year to review progress against the strategy and to identify future risks and opportunities. The Committee is chaired by the HR Director (Corporate Social Responsibility 2009, p.4).
Allianz sees itself and the insurance industry at the forefront of the fight against climate change. The industry must play a central role in both climate change mitigation and adaptation. Based on this initiative, Allianz has done a wide range of activities in response to Climate Change. Allianz Insurance is a founding member of ClimateWise which was founded by leading insurers in 2006 " to respond to the myriad risks and opportunities of climate change, aiming to reduce the overall risks faced by economies and societies" (Climatewise.org.uk). As a member of ClimateWise, Allianz must report annually on its performance against the principles and sub-principles.
Allianz also supports national and global CO2 emission reduction targets and government action, including regulation that will enhance the resilience and reduce the environmental impact of infrastructure and communities. In 2002 Allianz joined the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), an independent organization now representing 534 institutional investors worldwide with more than US $64 trillion in funds. CDP collects, evaluates, and publishes data on the CO2 emissions from more than 3,000 companies around the world. RCM, a globally active investment company belonging to the Allianz Group, uses the CDP database to compile risk profile lesson companies climate performance (Corporate Social Responsibility 2009, p.9)
Furthermore, Allianz remained committed to its carbon reduction plans even when the Copenhagen Summit ended having set no binding global emissions targets and no indication of when emissions should peak. Carbon management has a strong business case - it is primarily about reducing energy consumption and costs.
In order to understand stakeholders' expectations, Allianz is working closely with a range of national and international organizations and doing surveys to discover which topics are most relevant to their stakeholder groups. Every two years Allianz asks its main societal stakeholders which key issues Allianz should deal with and how they should address them. For example, in the 2009 Stakeholder Survey, 131 completed questionnaires were received from stakeholders from the following sectors or groups: Politics, Media, Non-governmental organizations, Science, Companies and Allianz management (Allianz Sustainable Development Report 2010, p.12).
Regarding customers, Allianz is committed to making it easier for its customers to deal confidently with financial topics by maintaining a section on its Group web portal that explains how the financial and economic crisis develop and what its possible consequences for consumers are.
Regarding Suppliers, Allianz carries out supplier surveys to learn more about their suppliers' businesses and their efforts in the area of sustainable development.
Regarding Community, Allianz takes today's challenges as opportunities for action through its local activities, global projects, and the work of Corporate Foundations. A good example is the Foundation for Sustainability and the Allianz Cultural Foundation.
Regarding Government Relations, Allianz maintains various partnerships with renowned and trustworthy organizations such as World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) or the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEPFI) (Allianz Sustainable Development Report 2010, p.12).
Allianz and other financial institutions had to face the global financial and economic crisis which started in mid 2007 with the collapse of the housing market in the United States. The crisis that was initially observed within the banking sector accelerated in 2008 and spilled-over to various other sectors of the financial industry. Serious disruptions in the global financial system led to deteriorating economic conditions and investors became much more risk averse. In September 2008, the global financial system almost collapsed: large financial institutions faltered, leading to changes in business models, failures, mergers and nationalizations. Some economies were even on the verge of national bankruptcy. In consequence, the weak situation in the financial markets that was observable from falling stock markets and volatile credit spreads became even more intense in the fourth quarter of year 2008.
The global economic downturn caused a series of collapses or near collapses of giant financial institutions such as Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Washington Mutual, Wachovia, AIG and Citigroup. However, Allianz has managed successfully in its business operations, particularly its risk management as demonstrated by its impressed revenue: 97,989 billion euros in 2007, 92,567 billion euros in 2008, 97,385 billion euros in 2009 and 106.5 billion euros in 2010.
Allianz emerged from the market turbulence as one of the strongest insurance groups in the industry by solvency and ratings, as evidenced by external rating agencies. The financial strength of Allianz SE was rated by Standard & Poor's as "AA" (stable outlook), by A. M. Best as "A+" (stable outlook), and by Moody's as "Aa3" (stable outlook). As of December 31, 2009, Allianz SE had the best Standard & Poor's rating among the internationally active primary insurance groups in Europe. Even during the 2008 and 2009 financial crisis, these ratings were confirmed and remained stable (Annual report 2008, p. 41; Annual report 2009, p. 187).
Allianz has executed and managed its risk management consistently and focused on three main objectives to secure itself from market turbulence:
Protect the Allianz Group's capital and solvency position as well as position its investment portfolio for continued market turbulence
Protect the value of their Property-Casualty business
Focus on sustainable profitability in the Life/Health business
Allianz considers risk management to be one of its core competencies. It is an integrated part of its business processes. Based on the risk management framework, these key elements have been focused on: Promotion of a strong risk management culture supported by a robust risk governance structure. Consistent application of an integrated risk capital framework across the Group to protect its capital base and to support effective capital management. Integrate the risk considerations and capital needs into management and decision-making processes through the attribution of risk and allocation of capital to the various segments. This comprehensive framework ensures that risks are properly identified, analyzed and evaluated. Allianz Group's risk appetite is defined by a clear risk strategy and limit structure. Close risk monitoring and reporting allows Allianz to detect deviations from risk tolerance at an early stage (Annual report 2009, p. 179).
Allianz has been doing successfully for many years, even through years of financial market turmoil and global economic contraction by executing its strategy consistently. According to Allianz's announcement in the 2009Annual Report, the Group focuses its strategy in five management priorities:
Become the partner of choice for all stakeholders: Allianz believes that the Group can only continue to thrive if Allianz manages to balance the interests of all of their key stakeholders: customers, employees, investors and the public.
Drive profitable growth: In property-casualty Allianz will only grow where target margins can be achieved. In life/health insurance Allianz can build on a strong capital position, growing asset base and attractive new business margins. The strategy has served the Group well in asset management where Allianz is diversifying revenues and risks into different asset classes with an overweight in fixed income investments and regions.
Strengthen competitiveness: Allianz has been continuing to adapt its business models, products and customer interactions accordingly. Hence Allianz has been focusing on efforts to drive efficiencies, reduce complexity and leverage new web-based technology along the entire value chain in order to achieve productivity benchmarks.
Increase market and customer focus: The Group has created the foundations for Allianz to become a customer-centric organization through its customer focus and innovation programs. Going forward they are further strengthening their customer segmentation and the delivery of segment-specific offerings.
Maintain capital management discipline: Allianz has strengthened risk management function and de-risked its investment portfolio to appropriately adjust to the rising uncertainty in the real economy (Annual Report 2009, p.63).
Allianz's core strength is risk management which has helped the Group protect its net asset value and carefully balance cash generation and investment opportunities. In the 2009Annual Report they state that "we are managing the transition to the new Solvency II framework. And we are leveraging this process to place state-of-the-art risk management technology into the hands of our business leaders for even better day-to-day decision making". Based on this, Allianz has performed successfully as the Group usually gets "AA" rating and the Group has successfully steered through one of the most severe financial crises ever. Allianz's solvency is strong and its capital base grew almost 20 % to more than â‚¬ 40 billion (Annual Report 2009, p. 179).
Allianz is definitely an innovative company as it has a wide range of changes, improvements and strengthening in management, products and customers services. Regarding customer services, the Group always put innovation as its priority. The 2009 Annual Report remarks "At all important points of contact, we are measuring the propensity of our customers and distribution partners to recommend our products and services to others. And we have been tying our frontline managers' incentives to systematically improving the service experiences of our clients. Furthermore, we are creating a channel architecture which allows customers and distribution partners to experience more targeted value propositions, service offerings and price positions which are easy to understand and consistently delivered." (p.66). Werner Zedelius, Member of the Board of Management of Allianz SE, also confirmed that "at Allianz, innovation is a part of an even bigger goal" Allianz wants to become a trusted innovator" engagement (Allianz Group Portal, press, n.d).
Mission and Goals:
Mission: At Allianz, we strive for exceptional financial performance and growth based on our commitment to the pursuit of a sustainable world through combining long-term economic value, environmental stewardship and social responsibility.
Performance: Maintain sustainable development leadership in the financial services sector
Sustainable Development Reporting: Active stakeholder engagement in our materiality assessment
Climate Change: Global awareness on CO2 emission reduction concept for 80% of employees
Environmental Management System: Accomplish an 80% employee coverage
Sustainable Investment: Invest an additional â‚¬150 million in renewable energy projects
Micro insurance: Creation of a global Allianz micro insurance strategy to be implemented by a task force
Engagement with Society: Launch global employee engagement program
Employees: Develop KPIs for employee engagement, trust, feedback, motivation, development and diversity from the strategic HR scorecard.
Customer Responsibility: Further strive for our 2010 goal of Loyalty Leadership. Net Promoter Score above market average.
How does Allianz motivate employees: Allianz believes that employees are motivated if their work is well recognized and well paid. Therefore the Group created a pay structure that includes a mix of basic pay, performance-related pay and additional benefits to motivate it employees, "Incentivizing staff is an important way of encouraging entrepreneurship. We have now adopted evaluation procedures that help assess more clearly how an individual or team has performed, and reward that performance accordingly" (Allianz Group Portal, Employee, n.d). Allianz also motivates its employees with the "Employee Stock Purchase Plan" as approximately 939,000 shares were bought through the scheme. This has not only proved a sound financial strategy but it has also allowed the Group to strengthen employee engagement (Allianz Group Portal, Employee, n.d). In addition, The Group creates a good working environment where employees can maximize their ideas through innovative programs, healthcare program, talent development etc.
Desirability as an employer
Allianz is a good company to work for. Firstly, good performance will receive high payment and the incentives and bonuses of the company are attractive. Secondly, Allianz has a good working environment as a result of their policy to put employees first. Many Allianz companies offer wellness and sickness prevention training and health testing on a voluntary basis; as well as health programs for members of staff and customers. Allianz has a diversified working environment and promotes a diversity theme called 'Power of All Worlds'. This aims to promote diversity and inclusion to reach their business goals, and continues to support Gender, Disability, Generation Mix and international cultures. Thirdly, Allianz is an innovative working place which allows employees to develop and maximise all new ideas. This culture of innovation was turned into reality by the Ideas to Success (i2s) framework launched in April 2006, and has been rolled out to 58 Allianz companies worldwide. It has actively encouraged over 172,000 employees to develop ideas which could improve the way in which Allianz operates on a day to day basis. And so far more than 60,000 ideas have been generated (Allianz Group Portal, Employee, n.d).
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