The vision of our founder, Max von Engel – to improve the lives of travellers – still inspires and motivates our company today, and is what made 2018 successful for us. Once again we enjoyed one of the best years in the history of Europäische Reiseversicherung – which now goes back over 112 years.
Following on from the success of the previous year, 2018 saw very pleasing results again for the tourist industry, with almost all major holiday destinations reporting an increase in the number of travellers from Austria, and even the regions which were affected by various crises in previous years proved able to attract Austrian holidaymakers once again.
The upward trend in outgoing tourism in 2018 was only slightly affected by some disruptions to European air travel, an extended heatwave that lasted several weeks, and capacity shortfalls for last-minute bookings during the summer. Incoming tourism was similarly positive, with an increase in arrivals and overnight stays.
Improved market conditions in the major sector, outgoing tourism, combined with strong incoming tourism and a large number of new partner hotels, enabled Europäische Reiseversicherung to achieve a significant increase in premiums. Other strategically important sectors of the business also recorded positive development, with annual contracts enjoying particularly striking growth in popularity among our customers.
Our business operations in South Tyrol and Slovenia also continued successfully in 2018, achieving above-average growth in both regions. We maintained a strong presence in Czechia and Hungary, through our investments in the leading travel insurance companies in each of these countries, which both showed significant growth.
Customer satisfaction surveys produced first-class results once again both from end customers and from sales partners. Customers’ satisfaction with our settlement of their claims again showed significant improvement. This confirms the effectiveness of our particular focus on the needs of our customers and agents. Top quality service and empathy from our employees, combined with efficient administration, form the core of our activities, and we work constantly to respond to the priorities of our customers. The MEINE URLAUBERIA app offers added value for travellers, and service which goes far beyond the normal expectations of a travel insurance provider, helping them to stay healthy and safe while travelling, with a function which helps to locate travellers in an emergency. Alongside numerous other useful features, the app also makes it easy to submit claims to Europäische Reiseversicherung. Our subsidiaries TTC Training Center and Care Consult provide further valuable services to complete the packages we offer to customers and sales partners.
The finance industry journal “Börsianer” awarded first place to Europäische Reiseversicherung amongst all specialist insurers in Austria, and a very pleasing third place in the “Best insurer” category.
Continuity in the market and a strong focus on employee training and expertise enabled us to maintain our position as the leading Austrian travel insurance provider. Our customers enjoy optimum protection when travelling and in this way we are making a valuable contribution to the general well-being of our society.
We are very grateful for the outstanding collaboration of our sales and service partners, which made it possible for us to provide increased security for travellers. Particular thanks are due to our sister company Europ Assistance, whose extensive network and excellent team provide rapid and efficient emergency support for our customers all over the world.
A very special thank you also goes to our wonderful employees for their exceptional work in the service of our customers and sales partners. With this team we are confident of continuing success for our company and constant improvements in the lives of travellers.
Vienna, 20 February 2019
Following two years of encouraging and positive development in demand for travel, the company expects this trend to continue in 2019, with further steady increases. The good macroeconomic development, relatively high wage agreements and further planned tax relief should also support the demand for holidays. The increased risk awareness on the part of travellers will likely be reflected in more insurance bookings.
In 2019 the needs of our customers and sales partners will continue to be our top priority and the focus of our activities. The emphasis will be the further development of our products and services, further optimisation of our partnerships and even more efficient dealings with our customers. Even with increasing digitalisation, personal contact with customers and partners remains an essential cornerstone of our self-image. Our aim is to be seen as market leaders, whenever customers look for and book their holidays.
In 2019, dealing with last year's new regulatory requirements will pose a certain challenge. We will meet these new demands promptly in the best interests of our customers and partners. We will also continue to refine our internal work processes and optimise our operational procedures. Fundamental to all of this is the exceptional commitment of our employees and the long-standing and excellent relationships we enjoy with our business partners and service providers.
We are generally optimistic about the year 2019 and confident that we will once again be able to strengthen our position as the leading Austrian quality travel insurance provider, be a reliable companion to our customers and partners, and generate a sustainably solid result. We expect a slight increase in our technical results compared to 2018, with a combined ratio once again well under 95%. Overall we anticipate ongoing sound results once again in 2019.
Vienna, 20 February 2019
The Management Board
Wolfgang Lackner, Chairman, m.p.
Andreas Sturmlechner, m.p.
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