Glossary

Amortised cost
The amortised cost value of an investment is the amount at which the asset is first valued, less any impairments and plus or minus the difference between the original cost price and the redemption amount on maturity (premium / discount), with the difference being amortised over the term.

Asset liability concept
A means of balancing assets and liabilities on our customers’ behalf in such a way as to ensure that all the Group’s insurance commitments can be met with maximum ­security at any time.

Business volume
Sum of the gross premiums written and deposits from investment contracts in the reporting year.

Cash generating unit
The smallest identifiable group of a company’s assets that generates cash inflows that are largely independent of cash flows from other assets.

Claims ratio
The ratio of claims incurred to net premiums earned.

Collateral
Assets (generally securities) which are deposited or pledged as a financial surety.

Combined ratio
The sum of the net expense ratio and the claims ratio is used to evaluate the profitability of non-life insurance business before underwriting interest income is taken into consideration.

Contingent liabilities
Liabilities with little probability of occurring or low probability of causing an outflow of funds. They are not included in the balance sheet, but are mentioned in the notes to the consolidated financial statements.

Cost ratio
Technical costs on own account in proportion to the net premiums earned on own account.

Deferred acquisition costs
Costs which arise in connection with the conclusion of new or the extension of existing insurance contracts. They are taken into account in the balance sheet as assets, distributed across the contract period and recorded in the income statement as expenditure.

Deferred taxes
Deferred taxes arise due to temporary taxable ­differences between the local tax balance and the IFRS balance. ­
They are established for each balance sheet item and are, when considered from the reporting date, either future tax liabilities or tax credits.

Deposits
(See “Deposits from investment contracts”).

Deposits from investment contracts
The amounts paid in during the reporting year from contracts without a significant insurance risk.

Direct business
All insurance policies concluded by Helvetia with customers who are not insurers themselves.

Effective interest method
Allocates the difference between the cost price and redemption amount (premium discount) over the expected life of the corresponding asset using the present value method, thus achieving a consistent interest rate.

Embedded value
Embedded value measures the shareholder value of the life insurance portfolio and is made up of
– the adjusted equity
– plus the value of the insurance portfolio
– less the solvency costs.

Equity valuation
Balance sheet practice for measurement of holdings in associated companies. The valuation of the holding in the balance sheet corresponds to the shareholders’ equity in this company held by the Group. In the context of ongoing evaluation, this valuation is projected forward to take account of changes in proportional shareholders’ equity, while allocating the proportional annual earnings to the Group results.

Fair value asset valuation
Valuation of assets at fair market value. This is the value at which an asset may be exchanged between two specialist and independent business partners who are willing to enter into a contract. As a rule, this is the price that can be achieved on an active market.

Finance lease
Leasing contracts under which all the risks and opportunities associated with the property are essentially transferred to the leasing customer.

Fixed-income investments
Securities (such as bonds, medium-term notes) on which a fixed and constant interest is paid for their entire term.

FTE
“Full-Time Equivalent” is the common unit of measurement for the number of full-time employees when converting all the part-time positions into full-time positions. FTE therefore expresses the fair value of a full-time employee within a comparable period of time.

GRI (Global Reporting Initiative)
The Global Reporting Initiative is a not-for-profit organisation. It was founded in 1997 in connection with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The GRI’s mandate is to develop globally applicable guidelines for sustainability reports.

Gross premiums
The premiums written in the financial year before deduction of premiums ceded to reinsurers.

Group insurance
Insurance contracts concluded for a company’s employees.

Hedge accounting
A special IFRS balance sheet practice for hedging transactions which aims to present hedging instruments and underlying transactions using the same valuation methods in order to reduce the potential volatility of results.

Impairment
Impairment is deemed to be the amount by which the net carrying value of an asset permanently exceeds its recoverable amount (the higher of its net selling price and the net present value of cash flows which are expected to be generated from the use of the asset).

Index-linked products
Endowment life insurance policies which are linked to stock market indices (e.g. the Swiss Market Index) or to a securities portfolio. The insurance benefits are increased by a bonus, the amount of which is dependent on the performance of the index.

Indirect business
Companies involved in direct business – primary insurers – often do not bear the entire risk alone but pass some of it on to a reinsurer. Like many companies active in direct insurance business, Helvetia also acts as a reinsurer and assumes part of the risk of other primary insurers. These reinsurance transactions are known as indirect business.

Individual insurance
Insurance contracts concluded for individuals.

Insurance benefits
Amounts paid by the insurer in the financial year for claims incurred in respect of insured events.

Legal quota
Legal or contractual obligation to credit the policyholder with a minimum amount of the income or profits from an insurance portfolio in the form of dividends.

Liability Adequacy Test (LAT)
Adequacy test that checks whether the carrying value of an insurance liability is sufficient to cover estimated future requirements.

Loss reserves
Since not all claims will be settled by the end of the financial year in which they arise, provisions must be made in the balance sheet for these outstanding claims or claims likely to be incurred but not yet notified. Such provisions are known as loss reserves or reserves for claims outstanding. Changes to the loss reserves are shown in the income statement.

Net insurance benefits and claims
Total of all benefits paid in the financial year and all changes to technical reserves, less benefits covered by reinsurers.

Net premiums earned on own account
They correspond to the premiums written in the reporting year for the entire business on own account, whilst taking into consideration the changes to the unearned premium reserves.

Net premiums written
If a risk is reinsured, the reinsurer will receive a part of the gross premium in proportion to the risk assumed. The other part is used to finance the risk that remains for the primary insurer. Net premiums thus correspond to gross premiums from total business less the premiums ceded proportionally to reinsurers.

Operating lease
Lease agreements under which the risks and opportunities associated with the property remain with the lessor.

Plan assets
Assets that serve to cover employee benefits by means of a long-term fund.

Policyholders’ dividend
The positive difference between actual and guaranteed interest income, and between a policy’s calculated and actual benefits or costs, is credited to the policyholder as a dividend (particularly applies to life insurance business).

Preferred stock
Corporate bonds that are, in the case of liquidation, subordinate to first-ranking bonds and superordinate to the shareholders and explicitly subordinate bonds.

Premium
Amount to be paid by the policyholder to the insurer for the provision of insurance cover.

Premium reimbursements
Some insurance policies provide that part of the premium may be repaid to the client as a policyholder’s dividend at times when few claims have been incurred.

Provisions
Amounts set aside in the balance sheet to meet likely future commitments.

Regular premiums
Amount paid for the provision of insurance cover, in the form of recurring payments.

Reinsurer
Insurance company that assumes part of the risks entered into by a primary insurer.

Reinsurance premiums
Amount paid by the insurer to the reinsurer in exchange for the latter’s assumption of risks.

Return on equity (ROE)
Ratio of result to equity: based on the earnings per share (including interest on preferred securities through profit and loss) divided by the average shareholder capital ­(equity before preferred securities).

Run-off portfolio
An insurance portfolio that is being wound up, i.e. no new contracts are concluded for this portfolio and no existing contracts from this portfolio are extended.

Single premium
Amount paid for the provision of insurance cover, in the form of a one-time payment on commencement of the insurance.

Solvenz, Solvenz I, Swiss Solvency Test
The term “solvency” refers to the minimum supervisory capital adequacy requirements that must be met by an insurance company. To calculate this, the available capital is compared to the required capital, with the available capital being the equity that is available to cover the required capital.

The required capital is the minimum amount of capital funds which an insurance company needs to ensure that it can always meet its liabilities from insurance policies. Currently, insurance groups domiciled in Switzerland are subject to two different solvency systems. While the “Solvency I” system, which has been in force for many years, requires sufficient volume-based capital to cover the insurance obligations, the required capital is calculated on a risk basis for the “Swiss Solvency Test” (SST) which entered into force on 1 January 2011.

Technical reserves
Total amount of reserves for unearned premiums, reserves for claims outstanding, actuarial reserves, reserves for future policyholder dividends and other technical reserves that appear under liabilities on the balance sheet.

Total benefits
Sum of all the benefits insured (particularly applies to life insurance business).

Total business
Direct and indirect business combined.

Unearned premium reserve
In many cases, the insurance period for which a premium is paid in advance and during which the insurance company bears the risk does not correspond with the financial year. The part of the premium relating to the insurance period falling in the next financial year has not been earned by the end of the current year, and must be transferred to reserves at the end of the financial year. This is the unearned premium reserve which appears in the balance sheet under technical reserves. Changes to the unearned premium reserve are shown in the income statement.

Unit-linked policies
Policies in which the insurer invests the policyholder’s savings capital for the account of and at the risk of the latter.

Volume of new business
The volume of new business is the new business written in the reporting year. Helvetia calculates this based on the present value of new business premiums (PVNBP).

Zillmering
Balancing of an account with part of the unamortised ­acquisition costs taken into consideration.