Interim Statement, 10 May 2023
Outlook for 2023
Sampo Group’s P&C insurance operations are expected to achieve underwriting margins that meet the annual targets set for 2021–2023. At Group level, Sampo targets a combined ratio of below 86 per cent, while the target for its largest subsidiary, If P&C, is below 85 per cent. Hastings targets an operating ratio of below 88 per cent. Following strong performance in the first quarter, the outlook for If P&C’s 2023 combined ratio has been improved to 82-84 per cent.
The combined and operating ratios of Sampo Group’s P&C insurance operations are subject to volatility driven by, among other factors, seasonal weather patterns, large claims and prior year development. These effects are particularly relevant for individual segments and business areas, such as the Danish and UK operations.
The net financial result will be significantly influenced by capital markets’ developments. With regard to Topdanmark, reference is made to the profit forecast model that the company publishes on a quarterly basis.
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 major business units. Major risks affecting the Group companies’ profitability and its variation are market, credit, insurance and operational risks. 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. Macroeconomic and financial market developments affect Sampo Group primarily through the market risk exposures it carries via its insurance company investment portfolios and liabilities and through strategic investments. Over time, adverse macroeconomic effects could also have an impact on Sampo’s operational business, for example by reducing economic growth or increasing claims costs.
Curbing inflation may force central banks into further rate hikes and to keep interest rates elevated longer than expected. This may lead to both a significant slowdown in economic growth and a deterioration in the debt service capacity of businesses, households and governments. Furthermore, the re-alignment of energy supplies in Europe will take time, raising the prospect of a potential energy crisis, and the war in Ukraine continues to represent a major economic risk. These developments are currently causing significant uncertainties in economic and capital market development. At the same time rapidly evolving hybrid threats create new challenges for states and businesses. 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.
Sampo Group’s insurance exposures in Russia or Ukraine are limited to certain Nordic industrial line clients, with coverage subject to war exclusions. On the asset side, Sampo has no material direct investments in Russia or Ukraine. Given the limited direct exposure, the biggest risk from the war in Ukraine to Sampo relates to the second order capital markets and macroeconomic effects outlined above. There were no material COVID-19 effects in the Group’s insurance operations during the first quarter. Given the limited impact of COVID-19 and the increasing difficulty in reliably estimating associated effects, Sampo has not disclosed quantitative COVID-19 effects in its financial reporting after February 2022.
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 digitalisation including threats posed by cybercrime.