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HDI reports growth in industrial insurance


HANOVER, Germany— HDI Versicherungen, the Hanover, Germany-based insurance group has reported strong growth in its industrial insurance business despite rising competition and falling prices, said the group as it reported 2006 numbers.

The group, which last year completed the acquisition of the ongoing business of the Cologne-based Gerling-Konzern A.G., reported a 10.9% increase in industrial premiums to €1.6 billion up from €1.5 billion in 2005. It said that growth was spread across the various industrial lines.

Gross claims in the industrial business rose against 2005 because of more major losses in the fire and transport lines. But, because of the impact of reinsurance, the group showed a slight improvement in the combined ratio from 86.7% in 2005 to 85.2% last year.

The technical profit reported by this part of the business rose to €95.1 million last year from €77.2 million in 2005. The operating profit rose to €141 million from €125 million.

HDI-Gerling International Holding A.G. reported a premium volume of €1.8 billion against €1.6 billion in 2006, of which 20% was industrial business. This business produced an operating profit of €96 million last year against €83 million in 2005.

"The numbers just shown by the industrial insurance business show that we are on the right track," said head of the board for HDI Versicherungen and of Gerling-Konzern Allgemeine Versicherungs-A.G. Christian Hinsch at a press conference.

Mr. Hinsch said that the integration of the Gerling business into HGI had proceeded well. He said that that the main Gerling nonlife operating unit Gerling-Konzern Allgemeine Versicherungs-A.G. (GKA), had grown above market average.

Booked gross premiums were up 1.6% to €2.54 billion against €2.5 billion in 2005. "It pleases me that the GKA business comes to the Talanx Group (HDI's parent) as a healthy business," said Mr. Hinsch.

Following the legal integration of the main Gerling business into HDI the group will next move to integrate the industrial lines businesses.

Mr. Hinsch said that the industrial insurance market remains "intensively competitive". But he said that the combined expertise and experience of HDI and Gerling in this market would enable it to continue to compete successfully.