VIENNA INSURANCE GROUP has operated in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) for more than 25 years and is one of the leading listed insurance Groups in the region. VIG generated more than EUR 9 billion in premiums in 2015, making it number 1 in its core markets again. With close to 23,000 employees and around 50 Group companies in 25 countries, the Group offers an extensive customer-oriented portfolio of products and services across all lines of business (property and casualty, life and health insurance).
Expansion into Central and Eastern Europe
VIG’s roots in Austria reach back to 1824. Since that time, the Company has developed from a locally based insurer to a leading international insurance Group. Wiener Städtische set the course for the international expansion. In 1990, it became one of the first Western European insurance companies to recognise the growth potential of Central and Eastern Europe and to take a chance on entering the market in the former Czechoslovakia. The past 25 years saw a series of further expansions, including Hungary (1996), Poland (1998), Croatia (1999) and Romania (2001). After entering the market in Moldova in 2014, VIG now operates in a total of 25 countries.
Number 1 in its core markets
VIG’s core markets are Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia and Ukraine. A market share of more than 18 % makes VIG the clear number 1 insurer in this group of countries.
The strategic decision that was made in 1990 to expand into Central and Eastern Europe has proven to be very successful. In 2015, more than half of VIG’s total premiums of more than EUR 9 billion were generated in CEE markets. VIG is convinced that the economic growth of the region as well as the demand for insurance there will continue to rise.
The CEE region’s importance as a growth market for VIG is also shown by the decision to locate the registered office of its reinsurance company VIG Re (established in 2008) in the Czech Republic.
Customer proximity is VIG’s trump card in 25 markets
VIG’s success is primarily based on local entrepreneurship and customer proximity. This is reflected in the regional ties, multi-brand strategy and wide variety of distribution channels used. The Group made a conscious decision to rely on regionally established brands united under the Vienna Insurance Group umbrella. VIG’s success as a corporate Group is also due to the individual strengths of these brands and local expertise of around 50 Group companies.
Its core business is the key of VIG’s success
VIG’s activities are clearly focused on its core business, the insurance business. It operates as a progressive and highly risk-conscious insurer. Reliability, trustworthiness and solidarity are qualities that benefit the Group not only in its relationships with customers, but also with business partners, employees and shareholders. Values such as honesty, integrity, diversity, equal opportunity and customer-orientation form the basis for business decisions at VIG.
The effects of this fundamental approach are shown in its strategy of continuous sustainable growth, as well as its excellent creditworthiness. VIG’s development is confirmed by the international rating agency Standard & Poor’s which has awarded the Group a rating of A+ with a stable outlook for years. As a result, VIG has the best rating of all companies in the ATX, the leading index of the Vienna Stock Exchange.
VIG and Erste Group: a strong team
Erste Group has strong ties to Austria and is one of the leading banking Groups in Central and Eastern Europe. VIG and Erste Group entered into a strategic partnership in 2008 that benefits both of them in the region: Erste Group branches distribute VIG insurance products, and in return VIG Group companies offer Erste Group bank products.
Stable dividend policy of the Group
VIG has been listed since October 1994 and is now one of the top companies in the “Prime Market” segment of the Vienna Stock Exchange. The company has an attractive dividend policy that offers shareholders a dividend of at least 30 % of Group profit (after taxes and non-controlling interests).
Its listing on the Prague Stock Exchange in February 2008 also emphasises the great importance of the Central and Eastern European economic area for VIG. As in Vienna, VIG is also one of the top companies in the Prague stock market.
Around 70 % of VIG’s shares are held by its principal shareholder Wiener Städtische Versicherungsverein. The remaining shares are in free float.
An attractive employer in Austria and Central and Eastern Europe
In addition to being number 1 for insurance products, VIG also wants to be the number 1 choice as an employer and attract the most talented and the smartest employees. Identifying and developing individual employee skills are a central priority in the Company’s modern human resources management. Diversity is seen as an opportunity and is part of the day-to-day life at VIG. The Group also places great importance on creating an environment that promotes the development of its employees. This is because Vienna Insurance Group is aware that its success is based on the dedication of it’s around 23,000 employees.