Helsana recorded a strong annual result of CHF 231 million for the financial year 2021. Premium volumes increased to CHF 7.4 billion, with further improvement to profitability in the supplementary insurance business and a reduction in operating expenses. In the first year under the leadership of new CEO Roman Sonderegger, Helsana continued its growth trajectory and consolidated its position as a leading Swiss health insurer. Further milestones in the reporting year included the integration of “Progrès”, the successful launch of a new supplementary insurance product and the ongoing organisational development of Helsana.
A year characterised by customers and strategy
After our premium income broke through the seven billion Swiss franc mark to CHF 7.1 billion in 2020, sales rose further in 2021 to CHF 7.4 billion. Together with an extremely solid annual result of CHF 231 million this was a very good year in the company’s history. As of January 1, 2022, almost 2.2 million customers place their trust in Helsana.
The customer growth we have experienced in mandatory health insurance (OKP) in recent years continued. We have 54,000 more customers compared to the prior year. Over the past five years, net new customers in OKP grew by more than around 360,000 people. We will therefore remain one of the leading Swiss health insurers.
Net customer growth per 2022
Consistent strategy implementation and customer centricity under the new CEO
The Board of Directors appointed Roman Sonderegger as the new CEO of the Helsana Group at the end of January 2021. He is driving forward the implementation of the corporate strategy 2020+ and aligning the Helsana Group even more closely with our customers’ needs and expectations, which continue to change and increase the demands on us.
This is why we developed our organization further in 2021 and placed even greater focus on our customers. We will optimise our processes in a second phase in 2022. We will become more streamlined, more efficient and, above all, more effective. By doing so, we want to continue to drive our already high levels of customer satisfaction even higher in future.
It has been a very challenging but also extremely exciting first year as CEO of this great company. We have achieved a great deal in the second year of COVID-19, and have not deviated from our path. I was particularly pleased with the tremendous commitment by our employees in implementing our strategy. It is essential that everyone at Helsana is aware of their role in the business so that they make their personal contribution to our joint success.
Implementation of a single-brand strategy
A further milestone saw us fully integrate our Progrès subsidiary into the Helsana brand as of January 1, 2022. The integration supports our efforts to offer stable, sustainable premiums and is the final step in the implementation of a single-brand strategy.
The two basic insurers of the Helsana Group, Progrès Insurance Company Ltd and Helsana Insurance Company Ltd, merged as of 1 January 2022. This consistent one-brand strategy increases transparency and comprehensibility for our customers.Read more
Active health promotion with COMPLETA EXTRA
At a product level, we successfully launched COMPLETA EXTRA in 2021. This new supplementary insurance product meets the needs of our health-conscious customers and strengthens our role as a health partner. It covers additional services to actively promote health, complementary medicine and prevention, as well as eyeglasses, contact lenses, and laser vision correction, among other features.
Clients who already have COMPLETA can extend their insurance cover with COMPLETA EXTRA at a great price. They get extra cost contributions for health promotion, complementary medicine, spectacles, prevention and more.Read more
Digital interaction and telephone advice remained in high demand and continued to be appreciated by customers. Our digital services already cover a significant proportion of customers’ needs, and our high quality "myHelsana" digital customer platform makes the handling of health insurance matters and administration extremely convenient. The "myHelsana" portal had over 630,000 registered users in 2021, and this number continues to rise. Our "Helsana+", "Helsana Coach" and "Helsana Trails" mobile apps are also widely used, attracting more than 75,000 additional users between them in 2021 and helping to establish our leading position as a health advisor.
Excellent asset management and outstanding capital investment strategy
In 2021, we were again able to achieve an exceptionally strong return on capital in the financial markets. The capital markets were much more stable last year after a very volatile 2020, leading to an excellent performance of +5.24 percent (2020: +2.19 percent). As in previous years, this figure is above the benchmark and reflects a long-term investment strategy and excellent implementation by our asset managers.
Healthy equity base
The Helsana Group clearly exceeds the legal solvency requirements at all our companies. Equity rose by CHF 289 million compared with the previous year, totaling CHF 3.2 billion at the end of 2021 (2020: CHF 3 billion). We are strengthening our financial foundation and will remain a solid and reliable partner for policyholders in the future.
Reserve reductions lead yield an even more attractive premium structure
We want to offer our policyholders moderate premium development in basic insurance wherever possible over the coming years. A decision by the Federal Council to simplify health insurers’ voluntary reserve reductions means we can pass corresponding funds on to our customers in the form of lower premiums. This amounts to CHF 5.00 for adults, CHF 3.50 for young people up to 25 years and CHF 1.50 for children up to 18 years. The reserve reduction for 2022 amounts to approximately CHF 76 million. It is important to us, however, that this measure does not reduce premiums only as a one-off event – rather that any potential growth in premiums is kept low for a number of years.
Helsana is voluntarily reducing its reserves by CHF 76 million. This means those insured with Helsana will benefit from monthly deductions on the new basic insurance premium.Read more
As the new CEO, Roman Sonderegger has provided a fresh tailwind for the implementation of our corporate strategy. Immediately after his appointment, he optimized Helsana’s structures in record time and laid the foundations for our continued success. In our core business, we launched a new supplementary insurance product and successfully completed the integration of ‘Progrès’. We topped our already very attractive premium position with a substantial contribution from our reserves. Even in an increasingly competitive market, we remain a solid and reliable healthcare partner with outstanding services and products.
Solid performance in the supplementary insurance business
In its underwriting result, the Helsana Group posted a loss for 2021 of CHF -120 million (2020: CHF +44 million), which represents a combined ratio of 101.6% (2020: 99.4%).
In comparison with the previous year, there was a marked increase in the combined ratio in the area of basic insurance (KVG) – 103.7% (2020: 99.8%). The associated underwriting loss was driven by an increase in benefit costs that exceeded expectations, a delayed effect from the coronavirus pandemic.
In the supplementary insurance business, there was further significant improvement to profit-ability in the reporting year, with the combined ratio now reduced to 96.0% (2020: 98.4%). The accident insurance business (UVG) also recorded a solid profit with a moderate increase in premium volumes. The combined ratio fell by a further 0.2 percentage points to 96.2% (2020: 96.4%).
As Switzerland loosens measures against the Corona virus, we take a look back: what was medical care provision like in the first year of the pandemic?Read more
Setting the political course in the healthcare system
The health policy business picked up again immediately following the COVID-19 lockdown. We were able to conclude important business such as the licensing bill, the VVG revision and the new data protection act.
The industry agreement on intermediaries (BVV) came into force on January 1, 2021, enhancing the quality of intermediary activities. Together with the other signing health insurers, we undertake to work only with external intermediaries who refrain from cold calling and who comply with specified standards. In addition, commissions paid by intermediaries for concluding mandatory health care insurance and supplementary health insurance contracts have been limited to an appropriate level. As a co-signatory, we welcome the new regulation as it clearly specifies and addresses rights and obligations.
Investing in the future
Innovation and digitalization are rapidly transforming healthcare and how involved partners interact. As well as our own digital applications, we are committed to cross-company and sectoral initiatives such as the Digital Health Center (DHC) in Bülach in the canton of Zurich. This association is building the Center for Digital Innovation in Healthcare, which will commence operations in Bülach in April 2022.
Through our Helsana HealthInvest AG subsidiary, Helsana is also investing in promising and innovative start-ups whose products and services can be integrated into our insurance products or healthcare services. In this way, we aim to create added value for our customers beyond our core business. For example, Helsana HealthInvest AG has been investing in Humanoo’s digital health solutions with other investors since last year. This innovative German-based company offers an automated digital wellness solution for companies and insurance companies worldwide.